Monday, 29 June 2009

Film Review: Dr SEUSS’: HORTON HEARS A WHO! (2008)

Directors: Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino
Running time: 86 mins (approx)

Watched on Sky+ Monday 29th June 2009.

I am quit a fan of animated films, I have been almost as long as I can remember, we can probably blame Disney for that. So, whenever one is on I’ll either watch it or record for later enjoyment. Now, although I like animated films, I’m not particularly a fan of Dr Seuss, just something I never got into in my early years. Where’s this all leading I hear you ask, well, this film really surprised me, it was a lot better than I was expecting!

Horton, an elephant, hears a voice coming from a tiny speck as it floats past him. Intrigued, he chases the speck and finally catches it on a clover flower. He eventually discovers that on the speck is a tiny world called Whoville whose mayor finds a way to talk to Horton. Of course there’s a baddy, and in this case it’s a busy-body in Horton’s world, a lady kangaroo. Horton promises the mayor he will find a safe place for Whoville, but the kangaroo has other plans…

The voice talents of Jim Carrey as Horton and Steve Carell as the mayor of Whoville are used to good effect, although I thought Horton could have done with being a little less ‘zany’ at times. Honourable mentions go to Carol Burnett as the Kangaroo and Will Arnett as Vlad, a vulture employed by the Kangaroo to get the clover.

Over all, a quite enjoyable film, I found it easy to engage with the characters and the story was easy to follow. Well produced and animated, and I did like the version of REO Speedwagon’s, ‘I Can’t Fight This Feeling’ near the end. It’s a great one for the younger viewer, but there’s one of two bits for the adults as well.

My score: 7/10

Sunday, 28 June 2009


Director: Andrew Adamson
Running time: 146 mins (approx)

Watched on DVD Sunday 28th June 2009.

Although I have not read the Narnia books, apart from ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’ (misplaced childhood I suppose), I really enjoyed this film. A great adventure with superb special effects, locations, costumes and musical score.

The Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy return to Narnia when called by Prince Caspian. Many hundreds of years have passed since they left. The Prince has escaped after his uncle tried to kill him and claim his throne. The ancient Kings and Queens are needed to rally all the creatures of Narnia against Miraz, Caspian’s evil uncle and the Telmarine, Prince Caspian’s people. They also seek the help of Aslan who seems to have forsaken the people of Narnia. It’s quite a long and complicated plot, but a very well made film.

Some great locations were used, mainly in the Czech Republic, New Zealand and Poland and the score, I found, was just right. There was a lot of use of CGI, essential to tell this story, which was all done to a very high standard. Great performances again from Georgie Henley as Lucy, Skandar Keynes as Edmund, William Moseley as Peter and Anna Popplewell as Susan, all reprising their roles from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005). Also, Ben Barnes was excellent as Prince Caspian. Honourable mentions go to Sergio Castellitto as King Miraz, Peter Dinklage as Trumpkin and Eddie Izzard as Reepicheep (voice), the comic relief.

Over all, a tremendous fantasy adventure and great family entertainment with a really good story. Fantastic locations, a great score, a very well produced and directed film… recommended.

My score: 8/10

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Film Review: SHINE A LIGHT (2008)

Director: Martin Scorsese
Running time: 122 mins (approx)

Watched on Sky+ Thursday 25th June 2009.

A long time ago, back in 1982 I think it was, I went to a park in Leeds with by girlfriend at the time and we watched a band called The Rolling Stones. As I recall, they were not bad… Twenty Seven years later I see them on TV in a documentary type film directed by Martin Scorsese. And guess what… They’re still not bad…

Recorded over two nights at the Beacon Theatre New York during the 2006 ‘A Bigger Bang’ tour. We begin with a kind of mish-mash of clips showing either members of the band or Martin Scorsese talking about the stage, or the songs, or the filming. It’s almost like a documentary about a documentary. Eventually we begin the show with Bill Clinton introducing the band and finally they take to the stage with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. The rest of the set is listed below, but it is interspersed with archive clips of interviews with various band members over the years from the 1960’s up to date.

As a film, I quite enjoyed it, I didn’t find the archive material too intrusive, although I think you would have to be a fan of the Stones to want to see it. It was made to be shown in IMAX theatres and I think it would have been quite spectacular on a screen of that size. I watched it on by 37 inch LCD which was OK with the sound turned up pretty loud (sorry neighbours).

All in all, it’s basically the concert with a few extra bits thrown in. I can only really score it on the Stones performance because I’ve been to many a big outdoor concert where the visuals are just as good (although maybe not the same quality). So, it’s a good watch if you’re a Stones fan, if you’re not, then I wouldn’t go and see it.

Set List:

Most of the performance footage was culled from the second night of filming. All songs are written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except the ones which are noted.

"Jumpin' Jack Flash"
"She Was Hot"
"All Down the Line"
"Loving Cup" - with Jack White (The Third)
"As Tears Go By" (Jagger/Richards/Oldham)
"Some Girls"
"Just My Imagination" (Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong)
"Far Away Eyes"
"Champagne & Reefer" (Muddy Waters) - with Buddy Guy
"Tumbling Dice"
* Band introductions
"You Got the Silver" - lead vocal by Keith Richards
"Connection" (incomplete/cut with 1999 interview clips) - lead vocal by Keith Richards
"Sympathy for the Devil"
"Live with Me" - with Christina Aguilera
"Start Me Up"
"Brown Sugar"
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction”
"Shine a Light" (incomplete; audio only)

Additional acoustic instrumental numbers are also played during the closing credits:
"Wild Horses"
"Only Found Out Yesterday" (Richards)

My score: 8/10

Sunday, 21 June 2009


Director: Michael Bay
Running time: 147 mins (approx)

Watched at the Cinema Saturday 20th June 2009.


As a summer blockbuster this film ticks all the boxes. Fantastic special effects, awesome action, a smokin’ babe, some really funny bits, a giant metal hero and, oh yes, a story. If you have seen the first Transformers film, you’ll be familiar with the ongoing war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. No surprise that the battle continues here in epic fashion using the Earth as the battleground.

Optimus Prime and the Autobots, with some new members, are seeking out Decepticon agents around the Earth. They are helped by an international military force called NEST. Meanwhile Sam Witwicky is preparing to go to college, leaving his girlfriend Mikaela Barnes and Bumblebee, his Autobot guardian, behind. Having arrived at college, he finds himself blacking out and seeing mysterious symbols. A worried Mikaela flies out to join him and Bumblebee also makes his way there to protect his ward. The Decepticons know what these symbols mean and they want Sam… I think you can guess I’m not going to say any more about the plot, I’ll just say it’s epic!

Excellent performances from Shia LaBeouf as Sam and Megan Fox as Mikaela. Nice to see Josh Duhamel returning as Captain Lennox and John Turturro returning as Agent Simmons / Jetfire. Kevin Dunn and Julie White were great, yet again, as Sam’s parents Ron and Judy Witwicky. But by far, the stars of the show were the Transformers, ably voiced by Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime), Hugo Weaving (Megatron), Frank Welker (Soundwave / Devastator), Tom Kenny (Mudflap / Skids) and Tony Todd (The Fallen).

The special effects and the CGI were excellent. The battle scenes, in particular the fights between the Autobots and the Decepticons, were awe inspiring. Production wise, I could find no fault, well lit, well shot, great sound, great sets, although I suspect there’s an awful lot of green-screen being used. I guess there were only two things that slightly let this film down, I found the plot did get a little confusing at times and at a running time of 147 minutes, it was a little long (or maybe that was just the uncomfortable seats in that cinema).

Over all, a great summer blockbuster, superb action and great fun, I highly recommend it!

My score: 9/10


Director: Rob Cohen
Running time: 112 mins (approx)

Watched on DVD Friday 19th June 2009.

While watching this, I had that feeling of déjà vu. No surprise really when it’s just a re-hash of the previous two ‘Mummy’ movies with just a change of setting. I have to say I did enjoy the previous two, but I can’t help but feel they’ve gone too far this time.

As in the other two movies we start with the back-story of how, in this case, Emperor Han was entombed and why his evil must be kept dormant for all eternity. We then switch to the O’Connell’s, Rick and Evelyn in happy retirement at home. They are bored, lacking the excitement in their lives that Imhotep had given them. Their son, Alex, happens to have dropped out of college and is currently digging up Emperor Han in China. I think from here you can probably guess what happens next… assuming you’ve already seen either of the first two ‘Mummy’ films.

Performance wise, I guess everyone was OK, Brendan Fraser returning as Richard 'Rick' O'Connell seemed to be playing it for laughs. Maria Bello was OK as Evelyn O'Connell, had a good English accent, although I did miss Rachel Weisz in this role. Honourable mentions to Jet Li as Emperor Han, John Hannah as Jonathan Carnahan, Michelle Yeoh as Zi Juan and Luke Ford as Alex O'Connell.

I had a feeling that this film weighed far too much on CGI to ‘wow’ the audience, rather than having a better script and letting the actors build the tension. As I said at the beginning, this was all a bit of déjà vu, so it’s not a particularly good score from me although the CGI Yetis were pretty cool.

My score: 5/10

Friday, 19 June 2009

Film Review: QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008)

Director: Marc Forster
Running time: 106 mins (approx)

Watched on DVD Thursday 18th June 2009.
Soundtrack: DTS 5.1

I did watch Casino Royale some time ago and found it a really great way to reboot the Bond franchise. I have read, and heard, a lot about ‘The Quantum of Solace’, not all of it good, but having just watched it I found it exciting, enthralling and a damn good watch. Admittedly they say you do have to have seen ‘Casino Royale’ to understand why Bond is behaving the way he is, but I don’t think it’s essential, there are enough references for you to figure it out.

We begin with a car chase, a great way to start many an action thriller. Guns blazing, the bad guys eventually get their comeuppance; I don’t think I’m giving anything away there! Bond drives to Sienna where M is waiting to question the prisoner he has in his boot (trunk in the US). There’s a double cross and this is where the action starts… I won’t go into too much detail about the plot, partly because it’s quite complicated and partly because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. But very briefly, good guys, Bond, M…etc. against mysterious bad guys who we don’t even find out the name of until almost the end. Don’t worry, I won’t say it… Oh, and there’s a girl with revenge on her mind involved, and I reckon that’s about all I can tell you.

Great performance from Daniel Craig as Bond and Olga Kurylenko as Camille. Judi Dench was brilliant, as ever, as M and I thought Mathieu Amalric was adequate as Dominic Greene, the chief bad guy. Honourable mentions to Gemma Arterton as Strawberry Fields and Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter.

Production wise, I couldn’t fault it, shot very well both on location and at Pinewood with, as usual, an excellent soundtrack. On the down side, the fight sequences did remind me of the ‘Jason Bourne’ films a bit too much, I expected something a little more original. Over all, just what we've come to expect from a modern Bond movie, it just lacked a little humour to lighten it up a bit, apart from that, most enjoyable.

My score: 8/10

Film Review: WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS (2008)

Director: Tom Vaughan
Running time: 97 mins (approx)

Watched on Sky+ Friday 19th June 2009.

OK, so it’s a romantic comedy, I can be quite the romantic at times, after all, one of my favourite films is ‘The Princess Bride’. So, when you’ve finished laughing, I’ll tell you what I thought of this one. It tries very hard to be one of the old classic comedies like His Girl Friday or My Favorite Wife, but doesn’t quite reach the mark. It’s not a bad effort though, but more of that later…

Joy McNally is dumped by her boyfriend and her friend Tipper persuades her to go to Vegas to forget about it. At the same time, Jack Fuller is sacked from his job, by his father, and is persuaded by is friend, and lawyer, Hater to go to Vegas to forget about it all. Do you see a pattern emerging here? After a mix-up they all end up in the same room. With penthouse suits comped, they set out on the town. Bet you can’t guess what happens next…? After much alcohol, Joy and Jack end up getting married. The next morning they realise their mistake and agree to an annulment just before Jack wins 3 million dollars on a slot machine. As they are still legally married, they end up in court, where a judge sentences them to six months marriage. The money is frozen and the have to prove that they are working on their marriage by seeing a marriage counsellor. As you can guess, this is where the fun begins…

Decent performances by Cameron Diaz as Joy and Ashton Kutcher as Jack, although I don’t think either of them found the parts particularly challenging. Honourable mentions go to Rob Corddry as Hater and Lake Bell as Tipper. Also nice to see Treat Williams as Jack Fuller Sr., Dennis Farina as Joy’s boss, Banger and Queen Latifah as the marriage counsellor, Dr. Twitchell. Pretty well produced, a great soundtrack and over all not a bad effort, although not quite up there with the classics…

My score: 6/10

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Film Review: SHUTTER (2008)

Director: Masayuki Ochiai
Running time: 86 mins (approx)

Watched on Sky+ Thursday 18th June 2009.

This film is a remake of the 2004 Thai-horror, also called “Shutter”. I have not seen the original and so I’ll judge this version on its own merits. It’s a ghost story set in Japan with a bit of a twist at the end.

We begin with the marriage of Ben and Jane Shaw in New York. Ben is a photographer and has a contract in Tokyo, where he has worked before, soon after the wedding. They have a few days before Ben has to start work so they head out to a retreat near Mount Fuji. On the way they are involved in an accident. They skid off a country lane when Jane sees the figure of a young woman in the middle of the road. They later find ghostly images in the photos they had taken at Mount Fuji. I will say no more about the plot as I don’t want to put too many spoilers in here.

Very well shot, I particularly liked the use of photo-flashes in one scene and great use of incidental music to build the tension. Competent performances from the main actors, Joshua Jackson (from the TV show "Fringe") as Ben and Rachael Taylor
(from Transformers and Deception) as Jane, although I thought they were a little underused. Honourable mentions go to the supporting cast, David Denman as Bruno, John Hensley as Adam, Maya Hazen as Seiko Nakamura and James Kyson Lee (of TV’s "Heroes" fame) as Ritsuo.

The running time of 86 minutes I found about right for a film of this type, any longer and I would have been looking at my watch. Over all, a reasonable effort although, like I find with a lot of these remakes of Oriental or Far-Eastern films, it seemed to lack a certain something, it all seemed a bit bleak…

My score: 5/10

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Film Review: 21 (2008)

Director: Robert Luketic
Running time: 123 mins (approx)

Watched on Sky+ Wednesday 17th June 2009.

For those who like a gamble, they will know that 21 is the highest score in the card game Blackjack. And this film is all about Blackjack and how an MIT professor Prof. Micky Rosa, played by Kevin Spacey gets a group of students to gamble in Las Vegas, count cards and win large amounts of cash. It is based on a true story and, not having read the book, I cannot say how true it is to real events.

We begin with Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) at an interview for a scholarship to Harvard Medical School. The interviewer asks, “What makes you jump off the page Ben?” (or words to that effect). At this we go back to MIT where Ben is a young but brilliant student scrimping and saving every penny in the hope that he can save enough to get him into Harvard Medical School. Long story short, he is recruited onto the team by Prof. Rosa, which consists of; Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth), Choi (Aaron Yoo), Kianna (Liza Lapira) and Jimmy Fisher (Jacob Pitts). They all fly off to Vegas and win a lot of money at weekends and back to college during the week. Eventually they attract the attention of an old-school security man, Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne). Crosses and double-crosses ensue, which I won’t go into here (don’t want to spoil it for you) and we end on a high.

Over all, quite enjoyable, although I did find it a little long at 123 minutes. Excellent performances by Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne, as you would expect and I thought that Jim Sturgess did very well in his leading role. Honourable mentions to the team, Kate Bosworth, Aaron Yoo, Liza Lapira and Jacob Pitts who all performed admirably. I did enjoy at the very end where the Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always get What You Want” can be heard as the credits roll.

My score: 6.5/10

Gig Review: UFO at Leeds O2 Academy 16th June 2009

UFO are: Phil Mogg (Vocals) – Vinnie Moore (Guitars) – Andy Parker (Drums) – Paul Raymond (Guitar, Keyboards)

UFO kicked off the show with the opening track, ‘Saving Me’ from the new album The Visitor. A great opening number with both acoustic and lead guitar parts being played by Vinnie. The other tracks from the new album they played (that I can remember) were, ‘Hell Driver’, ‘Rock Ready’ and possibly even ‘Living Proof’. Apologies if I got that wrong, I confess to not owning “The Visitor” yet, but it’s on my ‘to purchase’ list (honestly). Anyhow, all these tracks went down very well with a very appreciative audience, although my buddy, Simon, reckoned the new stuff was, in his words, “A bit bluesy”. My opinion, I really liked it.

We then got to the ‘greatest hits’ part of the show, all the classics were here, ‘Lights Out’, ‘Love To Love’, ‘Doctor Doctor’, ‘Rock Bottom’, and of course ‘Shoot Shoot’ for an encore. I loved it… & so did Simon.

Performance wise, I can’t fault UFO, from Andy Parkers excellent drum work, Paul Raymond’s driving rhythm guitar and eloquent keyboard style through to the brilliance of Vinnie Moore on lead and Phil Mogg’s crisp clear vocals. It really makes a change to see a band where you can actually hear the words of the songs, hats of to UFO and all the crew for putting together an excellent show!

I can’t leave without a word about Vinnie Moore; he was just brilliant last night. I can’t describe the intricacies of his solos, even at one point playing with the guitar behind his head!

Thanks to all the band & crew and thanks to Simon for getting me a ticket. Just one final question… Why was Phil Mogg wearing a skirt…?

My score: 9/10

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Film Review: DEATH RACE (2008)

Writer/Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Running time: 116 mins (approx) - EXTENDED VERSION

Watched on DVD Monday 15th June 2009.

As a good old fashioned Action Thriller, this was most excellent. Lots of explosions, extreme car crashes, bad guys getting what they deserve and a half decent plot. On top of all that there was a pretty good soundtrack as well (or was that just the Dolby 5.1 sounding really cool?).

Having been framed for the murder of his wife, former racing driver Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) in incarcerated in Terminal Island, a notorious prison run by Warden Hennessey (Joan Allen). With no government funding, and life being cheap, the warden has invented the ‘Death Race’ in which inmates race against each other for the chance of freedom. No surprise that the vehicles are armed and the inmates desperate. The races are streamed over the Internet and, for a fee; subscribers can watch the action in all its gory detail. Ames discovers that the Warden Hennessey is responsible for the murder of his wife and one of the other drivers, Pachenko (Max Ryan) carried out the murder. Having been coerced into driving, Ames, his co-driver, Elizabeth Case (Natalie Martinez) and his race team, Coach (Ian McShane) and Lists (Frederick Koehler) set out for revenge.

There are some great comedy moments which are welcome in and amongst all the action. Great performances from Jason Statham, Ian McShane, Natalie Martinez, Tyrese Gibson (as Machine Gun Joe Mason) and Joan Allen. The special effects, plenty of explosions and machine gun fire, were excellent, in particular the sequence where ‘The Dreadnought’ gets its comeuppance! As may be predictable, the ending leaves most of the bad guys dead and the good guys…

As I said at the beginning, a good old fashioned Action Thriller. Not too taxing on the grey matter, but very entertaining.

My score: 7/10

Monday, 15 June 2009

Film Review: CHAOS (2005)

Writer/Director: Tony Giglio
Running time: 106 mins (approx)

Watched on Sky+ Monday 15th June 2009.

This was all I expected, some great action, a decent plot and some pretty good acting; all in all, I kind of liked it. It was certainly better than I was lead to believe, although the opening bank heist sequence was a bit reminiscent of Swordfish (2001).

Det. Quentin Conners (Jason Statham) is a disgraced cop who has been suspended after a hostage is shot during a rescue attempt. A bank raid brings about Conners reinstatement when the robbers lead by Lorenz (Wesley Snipes) will not negotiate with anyone else. He is allowed to return on the proviso that he takes on a new, rookie, partner, Det. Shane Dekker (Ryan Phillippe). An explosion brings about the end of the bank raid which enables the robbers to escape. On entering the bank Conners and his team discover that no money appears to have been stolen. An enthralling and sometimes exciting investigation ensues where one clue leads to another and with a great twist at the end the film concludes with a most satisfying conclusion (IMHO).

The film is produced and shot well with very good special effects, (explosions a plenty). Jason Statham is his usual ‘hard man’ self, a role at which he is very adept. There were excellent performances from both Ryan Phillippe and Wesley Snipes and honourable mentions should also go to Henry Czerny as Capt. Martin Jenkins, Justine Waddell as Det. Teddy Galloway, Nicholas Lea as Det. Vincent Durano and Jessica Steen as Karen Cross.

A pretty good action thriller with a good twist at the end. Not one you can watch a bunch of times, but pretty satisfying first time round.

My score: 6.5/10

Film Review: STREET KINGS (2008)

Director: David Ayer

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 14th June 2009.

Directed by the writer of Training Day I guess I expected something better. The police corruption was there along with the gangs and a very complicated plot. But for some reason this film didn’t do a lot for me I’m afraid.

It tells of how a corrupt cop Detective Tom Ludlow, played by Keanu Reeves and his equally corrupt boss, Captain Jack Wander, brilliantly portrayed by Forest Whitaker, seeks redemption after his ex-partner Detective Terrence Washington (Terry Crews) is murdered. He sets out to find the killers, assisted by Detective Paul Diskant (Chris Evans) and Scribble (Cedric the Entertainer), even though finding them may implicate Ludlow in the murder. Ludlow is also being investigated by Internal Affairs in the shape of Captain James Biggs, very adequately played by Hugh Laurie. There’s a lot of shooting, shouting and, of course, bloodshed before we reach the conclusion which kind of left me a bit flat, because I didn’t really care about any of the characters.

Great performances by Forest Whitaker and Hugh Laurie. Keanu Reeves wasn’t really stretched, but put in a reasonable performance. A very slick looking film that was, for me, lacking some substance I’m afraid.

My score: 6/10

Sunday, 14 June 2009


Director: Russell Mulcahy

Watched on Sky+ 14th June 2009

This film went straight to DVD and I can see why! Basically it’s not very good, the plot is weak and the performances not good, with one exception. But more of that later, the film is the prequel to The Scorpion King (2002) and it tells the story of the early life and adventures of Mathayus, in this case played by Michael Copon. Having witnessed his father’s murder by the evil Sargon (Randy Couture) he is trained as a Scorpion Guard for six years, a most feared warrior. He returns to find Sargon is now king and vows vengeance for his father. Being forced to leave home he sets off with his sidekicks Layla (Karen Shenaz David) and Ari (Simon Quarterman) to find the Sword of Damocles in the Underworld. A rather tortuous route, taking in the Minator, where they meet and recruit Fong (Tom Wu), brings them to Hades and Astarte (Natalie Becker) who is the guardian of the sword. After the usual battle the sword is secured and they return to avenge Mathayus’s father. I think you can guess the final outcome so I will not say too much more about the plot.

By modern standards, the special effects were not all that good, probably due to budget constraints, although the Minator did remind me slightly of the Alien in Aliens (with a Bull’s head obviously). During most of the fighting sequences the action was slowed down which I found a bit distracting.

By far and away the best performance was by Natalie Becker as Astarte, she was head and shoulders above the rest of the cast. Michael Copon, Karen Shenaz David and Simon Quarterman were adequate, but nothing special and Tom Wu added some much needed comic relief.

Over all, really not particularly good.

My score: 4/10

Film Review: AWAKE (2007)

Director: Joby Harold

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 13th June 2009.

This tense drama was a lot better than I expected it to be. It kept me gripped from start to finish, despite the best efforts of my lovely neighbour to distract me with loud music and the smells of cooking from the barbecue she was hosting! Not that I’m upset at not being invited, I think I got the better deal.

Anyway, enough of my lovely neighbour, the story centres around the wealthy Clay Beresford played by Hayden Christensen who is doted on by his overbearing mother Lilith (Lena Olin). He is secretly engaged to Sam Lockwood (the beautiful Jessica Alba) and is suffering from a heart condition for which he requires a transplant and is being treated by Dr Jack Harper (Terrence Howard). The first half of the film sets up the relationships between the characters well and culminates in a secret marriage between Clay and Sam. This is where it all goes wrong for Sam. On his wedding night he is paged with the news that a new heart has been found for him. Having met the team that will carry out the transplant he is put under anaesthetic only to find himself paralysed but still awake and able to hear the surgeons plotting to kill him…

There is a lovely twist in the tale here that I won’t go into because it will spoil it for those that have not seen the film. Excellent performances all round, in particular from Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba. Honourable mentions should also go to Terrence Howard, Lena Olin, Christopher McDonald (as Dr. Larry Lupin) and Arliss Howard (as Dr. Jonathan Neyer). Credit should also go to the writer and director Joby Harold.

Over all, a really good, well produced enthralling thriller.

My score: 7/10

Sunday, 7 June 2009


Seen at the cinema on Saturday 6th June 2009.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen the film there are spoilers in here… YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

As the first part of a trilogy, as it’s rumoured to be, I found this film pretty good. It does the job of introducing the main characters and the setting for the story to unfold. It falls down where the focus switches between the John Connor and Marcus Wright characters. If anything, more emphasis is put on Marcus Wright which, to me, was kind of disappointing. With all the hype, I thought there would be more focus on John Connor.

Anyway, I digress; the film opens in 2003 with Marcus Wright, played by Sam Worthington , on death row signing over his remains to Dr. Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter) just before his execution. We then switch to the post-apocalyptic future where a unit lead by John Connor (Christian Bale, in case you didn’t know already) is attacking a Skynet base. All of Connor’s team are killed and he escapes. This is where we see Marcus Wright emerge from the wreckage with no memory of Judgement Day, Skynet or anything since his ‘death’.

We then continue to follow Marcus as he tries to find out what has happened to the world. He meets up with a young Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin, I liked him as Chekov in Star Trek) and they attempt to get to the base where Connor is holed up. Inevitably Connor and Wright are destined to meet after Kyle Reese is taken by Skynet to their base in San Francisco. It transpires that Marcus Wright is not entirely human, more like a human-cyborg hybrid and he is being used to entice John Connor into a trap. I won’t say too much more, but needless to say, Marcus does the right thing at the end of the day…

Because much of the focus was on Marcus Wright, I found the strongest performance came from Sam Worthington. I expect that, if it does make it to a trilogy, that Christian Bale will feature more in future installments, although he was adequate in this role. I should also note that Anton Yelchin (as the young Kyle Reese) and Moon Bloodgood (as Blair Williams) both put in very good performances. There is even a very brief surprise cameo by a certain governor of California (bet you can guess who…)

As we have come to expect from modern films, the special effects and CGI were of a very high quality. They enhanced, rather than detracted from the story, which is always a sign of a good balance.

Over all, a fair to good effort, great effects which enhanced the story line, just a shame the narrative was a little weak. I await with interest parts II and III (assuming they ever get made…).

My score: 7/10

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Film Review: Star Trek (2009)

Saw this at the cinema a couple of weeks ago and I loved it. There are those out there in 'Internet land' that are not so sure, but I'm a huge fan!

The film tells the story of how many of the characters from the original series came to join the Federation and how they finally joined together aboard the Enterprise. There is a twist, however, from director J.J. Abrams, of TV's 'Lost' fame, I wouldn't expect anything less! The bad guys, Romulans in this case, have the use of time travel and use it to wreak havoc with the time line. Of course this involves all of the Star Trek characters in an exciting adventure and we reach the end with what I like to think of as a parallel, but different history to those characters. This leaves the franchise open to start again, which some people will disagree with, but I'll keep watching with an open mind.

As for the performances, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto were excellent as the young Kirk and the young Spock respectively. It was nice to see the one and only original Spock, Leonard Nimoy make an appearance. I particularly enjoyed the performance of Karl Urban as Bones. Honerable mentions go to Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Zulu and Anton Yelchin as Chekov.

As I said at the beginning, I loved it, all round good fun so it's 9/10 from me!!