Monday, 25 April 2011


Another comic-to-film adaptation that lends some integrity due to Kenneth Branagh as director. But does it drum up thunder or is it merely a firecracker in the grander scheme of things?

Look at the poster. I can't help but think The Social Network's advertising campaign of writing words over people's faces has gone too far with every movie these days copying it (keep an eye open) so is the film as unoriginal as it's advertising campaign? Well, not really. Instead, I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

The main reason why is because it cuts out the fat. The scenes are short, sharp and well written. The pace is relentless but never do you feel they have sacrificed anything for the sake of keeping everything tight - instead the whole thing feels well constructed and satisfying.

There are two parallel storylines going on throughout the film. The one is in Asgard where Thor is banished for being a petulant child and his brother Loki looks set to take over. Once Thor is on Earth, he soon realises he is not as special as he thinks he is while his mates in Asgard are trying to stop a war Thor has started with some cool looking ice people - or has he?

Branagh deals with the story in a mature way by concentrating on the family issues. In fact, he is an apt choice as the content itself is Shakespearean in nature: tragedy, betrayal, royalty, family focused politics that deal with fathers, sons and the issue of power. It's familiar territory for Branagh and one that disguises itself in a superhero blockbuster movie, a clever move for all involved. People forget that comics, like all myths (this one obviously being a real myth, if there is such a thing) deal with issues that form the basis of all great stories and Thor involves them all.

The acting was also top notch with Portman being more than just a silly little girl, Chris Hemsworth putting in a  surprisingly effective effort as Thor, newcomer Tom Hiddleston giving it all as Loki, Stellan Skarsgard (one of my favourite actors) putting in some minimal effort that is good enough to do the business, Idris Elba looking as menacing as Stringer Bell ever did and really it is Anthony Hopkins going through the motions that really comes across as a bit lazy. Out of everyone, I never would have thought him the weakest link.

What also surprised me was that I found myself laughing out loud on occasion and watching Thor mature into a self-sacrificing Christ-like figure might be quick, but it's not ridiculous. After all, he is portrayed as someone that is good at heart but just a bit quick tempered so his turn isn't as far fetched as it might seem. The only real problem I had is that it's different from the comics. If I remember rightly, some weedy blonde kid picks up the hammer and becomes Thor and the series is a bit like a personal internal struggle with himself and Thor - basically a bit like Hulk. Instead, Thor is a completely separate person and, as with other works of fiction, I'm sure fanboys won't mind the change if done right, and Thor does it justice. Perhaps the turning of weedy kid to mighty hero is too familiar with audiences and they would rather something different, so it's a good call.

Overall, I thought this was great and a decent lead-up to The Avengers. It's nothing that will make you want to see it again and again but was definitely worth the watch and is one of the better superhero films. I enjoyed this much more than the Iron Man series for instance. The marketing campaign makes it look like teen fodder but don't let this fool you - it's a film that all audiences will enjoy and like lead actor Hemsworth - it looks pretty but for once, carries some depth.

Rating: 8/10

REVIEW: Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues

The much anticipated second record from Seattle's finest folk band Fleet Foxes might just be the soundtrack of the Summer.

There's no denying that when Fleet Foxes burst onto the scene a little while ago with a magnificent EP then shortly followed by an even more impressive album, that folk was about to hit the mainstream like it hadn't done for quite a while. The soft, warm vocals with melodies and harmonies that could make you cry over such gentle guitar work was enough to make any cold heart flutter and melt. With such high hopes to live up to, it's great to see them keep up the good form on a very impressive second record.

First track Montezuma is a great doorway into the world you're about to enter. What you might notice from the off is that even though the reverb is still washing the entire sound, it has become a lot clearer and in a way, simpler. It feels less cluttered, more focused and wonderfully orchestrated. The sound carries onto Bedouin Trust which, through the violin, makes you feel like you could be in a barn on a warm summer night drinking the night away. Once again the lyrics are earnest, heart-felt and sung in such an emotional, beautiful manner that even if the guy was lying, you'd believe him anyway.

Sim Sala Bim is again proof of the amazing songwriting that this band effortlessly delivers. It was evident enough when I saw them on Jools Holland this week where they absolutely blew everyone else out of the water including Hugh Laurie's lame attempt at blues, KD Lang's terrible Nineties sound and some more awful 'out-of-the-box' sounds. Okay, so you won't be hard pushed to beat them perhaps, but I think it's common knowledge that no-one can really stand against Fleet Foxes in talent, ability and sheer genius. I might be over-gushing, but Sim Sala Bim shows how important they are as a unit and that, as a band, they cannot be outdone.

Battery Kinzie returns to the epic sound of the first album that people might be more familiar with. It shows a difference, though minute, between the two sounds of the albums. Helplessness Blues is a more relaxed, laid back affair and this might come through on the title. It's a more passive take, the music almost rolling off them in long, lush waves rather than the powerful punch of the first album. Singer Robin Pecknold suggested there were problems with this record and that it had become a life-changing experience. I can understand that. The Plains / Bitter Dancer is a dark, telling piece on relationships (much like Fleet Foxes' content - in fact much like all music's content) and the idea of problems, regret etc. told in an almost conversational manner. Either way, you can tell the album was a hard graft that had them spending hours tracing and retracing what they wished to achieve.

The songs feel rich and deep enough to roll around in and last single Helplessness Blues is a great example of the band still being able to provide those uplifting moments they are so amazingly good at. It's clear that the success they have enjoyed has only served to pressurise them to create something better, something every artist should think and Fleet Foxes' personal struggle with this comes across in the music in such a unique way that it feels so personal to the listener that you might be forgiven for forgetting that this hasn't been created just for you to listen to.

The Cascades is a beautiful instrumental that leads onto Lorelai, a softer, Summery track that might be more immediately accessible than the other tracks. However, it's ending leaves something more wanting and it's at this point in the album where you might start taking a step back from what you've heard and being caught up in the moment to wonder if it really is going to be perhaps the album of the year. Someone You'd Admire is again another work of beauty but feels more like an afterthought rather than a track in its own right.

The Shrine/An Argument is perhaps one of my favourite tracks on the album - it feels a lot more stronger and almost magical. It's the most progressive track on the album and delivers a sound that I feel would have been more suited to maintain throughout the album - an acknowledgement of their past success but something a bit darker and unique. It contains everything I love about Fleet Foxes and more and I think this track will be what people remember the most, not only due to it's 8 minute length (though by no means feels so long) and the variety of sounds - but because it's Fleet Foxes at their best and most mature. It even includes a strange saxophone/trumpet/something interlude that feels like elephants dying. Weird and slightly wanky.

Blue Spotted Tail is a simple vocals and guitar track from Robin Pecknold that sounds like it could come from a Kings of Convenience album without anyone noticing. Grown Ocean delivers that grand sound to leave the listener feeling as if he's wandering amongst the mountains through the huge forests that the music transports you to but always with a hook that keeps you coming back for a warm familiarity that Fleet Foxes do so well.

Rating: 9/10


Imagine Kick-Ass was less about a nerdy kid and more about a middle aged man. Imagine that there were no special training involved, no huge amounts of money to be squandered on fast cars and no neon effects but rather a tale of personal vengeance with murder, rape and prostitution high on the agenda. Then make it stupidly funny and call it a superhero film and you have "Super".

Super has to be the one of the most 'out-there' superhero films in that it's not 'out-there' at all. Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) plays the Crimson Bolt who believes he is chosen by God to strike vengeance against those who do wrong. This epiphany comes after his wife, Liv Tyler, is stolen away by Kevin Bacon's slimy drug dealer and to which Ellen Page playing a comic store worker helps give him ideas.

For anyone who loves Dwight in The Office, Wilson gives a more in-depth but similar character to the much-loved character within this film. However, what he is lacking is Dwight's self-belief - something the Crimson Bolt can help with. Effectively, his superhero guise is a mask for his insecurity and complete emasculation at the hands of his wife and of Bacon. He is but a mere burger flipper working alongside Bubbles from The Wire and is a very simple, sweet natured man. So what makes this so strange is that he's a borderline psychotic.

Wilson's character Frank is practically brain-raped by God and under-used Nathon Fillion as a Jesus loving superhero seems to be his inspiration. This all seems well and good and could fit into any superhero origins story, however Frank is clearly deluded. Not only about God, but about his wife who does not care for him and, as we later find out, basically uses him as an excuse to go straight after a drug and booze fuelled past. Frank has clearly not lived a happy life, or one with much excitement, yet his moral compass is set to good - to the point where a lot of people get hurt along the way. It could be said that Frank is almost a metaphor for America in general - a superpower that believes it is banishing evil in God's name when in fact it's selfish, violent and horrendous behaviour arguably does more harm than good. However, my main issue is that there is no real redemption - Frank does not see the real folly in his ways and near the end the media almost glorify him. Great for the story, but not for the morally conscientious.

Frank literally knocks people's teeth out and goes to town on the most petty of crimes while Bacon's henchmen try and track him down by bumbling about and faffing around. Soon, once Ellen Page comes onboard, he starts to realise the psychotic behaviour of what they are doing and the grim reality behind what it must be like to fight crime. People get hurt and die. But this swinging from humour to tragedy is almost too regular and often leaves me confused - should I be laughing at the guy bleeding on the floor or at the man on fire while getting stabbed? One seems more funny than the other and although I did laugh, it was such dark humour that it was slightly uncomfortable. However, it's this point exactly that I love it.

Throughout the film, there's a lot of gruesome violence but all done with a tinge of comedy. It's lucky that they have clearly let Wilson go free on a lot of the scenes and the director (ex-husband of Pam from The Office) has a good eye and ear for what works. It's a stark, dark, twisted contrast to the ultra-glossy Kick Ass which it will undoubtedly be compared to and, although it's not as well-formed as Kick-Ass, I would probably watch Super more times than the latter. It's simply funnier and doesn't hold back. It brings it all back to a more personal, dramatic ending as, after quite a horrific Tyler rape scene, Frank looks back on his exploits and the reason behind all this and although he's no superhero, he's a hero in a lot of other ways. The epilogue sequence is a sad paradox to the superhero film because even though it works out, it doesn't work out at all. Frank is a sweet, simple man and for all his faults, he only tried to do the right thing. His memories and the life that he has been left with might be something others would sniff at but, for him, he's happy.

I enjoyed the film thoroughly and is a lot better than Defendor (a similar film in a lot of ways) but still lacks the oomph that could have made it spectacular. The humour was spot-on but the pace was somewhat lagging and I felt like there could have been more. It's clearly a well-loved piece of work and I would recommend it to the quirkier film-lovers out there who enjoy watching something a bit different. It simply won't work in front of a mainstream audience, but then, it was never meant to.

Rating: 7/10

Sunday, 24 April 2011

REVIEW: Scream 4

Scream is back. After 15 years since the first one, Ghost Face is back and trying to kill Sidney Prescott all over again.

Wes Craven's original rehash of the 70s slasher film is very strange. Scream itself was a post-modern take on the genre that Craven helped invent and now, with Scream 4, it's coming after a huge horror remake episode that has taken over cinema since, something they discuss during the film. So then is Scream 4 a post-post-modern take on the horror film? The opening sequence would suggest so but people are really just going to go for the fun, and so they should.

The Scream series, similar to some other slasher films, is a more horrific 'whodunnit' that could fit into any pulp crime novel. The only difference here is that it's taken different conventions that make horror interesting, but essentially it's keeping you guessing throughout the whole film and that's what makes it so damn watchable.

The story is about how Sidney is returning to her hometown to promote her new successful self-help book and the killings start again. I always had a problem with how it's always about Sidney as she is the most boring character of the whole ensemble. She portrays the strong, feminine victim that becomes the Final Girl that is often discussed in horror analysis, but she lacks the key element needed for me to will her to survive like other horrors. Maybe it's just her smarmy face? Well, it hasn't got any better with age. In fact, no-one has, apart from maybe Dewey. Courtney Cox looks dreadful to the point where it's actually offputting as she has had a lot of work done and seeing as this is her most popular role apart from in Friends (maybe Cougar Town), she might as well enjoy what's left of her awful cinema career by having a more plastic face than the killer. Anyway, Sidney is staying with her extended family and we follow her daughter and her hot friends as they seem to become the focus of the killings.

The idea behind this film is that there are no longer any rules as it's a 'new decade' - that you shouldn't expect anything anymore. But really, it makes no difference. There are some good shocks, some great bloody bits and I enjoyed it more than I thought I did. I even thought the ending was okay, which is an issue I've had with previous Screams and it's purposefully mirroring the original but I left satisfied. There were some bits I had issues with, mainly the inclusion of Anthony Anderson who is in all the Scary Movies - a homage to a homage perhaps - but really, it's a stupid piece of fun that Craven is comfortable with doing. It hasn't fared as well at the box office as previous Screams but there is a lot of worse fodder out there and you'll be walking in knowing exactly what you're going to get - and by hell are you going to get it. It's nothing new, it's nothing amazing, it's nothing even that scary - it's just some good ol' fashioned slashing.

Rating: 6/10

REVIEW: I'm Still Here

Phoenix and Affleck team up for one of the most strangest, gossip-fulled documentaries on celebrity lifestyle that has ever appeared. In fact, it might probably be the only one ...

If you didn't hear about the whole Joaquin Phoenix meltdown then you must have been as isolated as Phoenix appears to be. Firstly, this has to be one of the strangest, yet perhaps most daring films I've seen to date. Mainly because it's presented as a factual documentary and, in terms of the public eye, it was - however, people were always questioning whether it was a hoax and this is brought up during the course of the film and dealt with at different intervals. It's a story of a man following his dream but with every obstacle in the way, including his own celebrity.

To summarise the 'plot', Phoenix has decided to retire from acting and pursue his musical ambition of being a hip hop artist, along the way he slowly self-destructs and Affleck is following him the whole time. His two 'mates' hang onto him as he delves into drugs, prostitutes and seemingly a fair bit of food as it becomes apparent his hip hop dream isn't going to happen and he returns to his father.

There's a few certain aspects here I enjoyed, the personal home video footage including the climb to the top of a tiny cliff and jumping into the pool, and water in general, is a motif that appears again and again. This idea of the infinite, of letting go, losing control and sheer bravery is something they are clearly trying to subconsciously connect you with Phoenix, that he's a tortured genius of sorts. However, it's a strange parody that actually portrays the man as a bit of a dick, but then why would he do that? It is, after all a fake. There are many signs that point to this but really it's the acting, especially of Diddy, that really makes it apparent - it's an actor's exercise and one that Phoenix took to the extreme where it filtered into real life. There's just so many questions - why hip hop? Why all the cameras (that never seem to be in shot of each other)? Why present yourself in such a way as a 'fact'? Why do it all? If we are amazed at watching a celebrity go from the high point of their career to the lowest in a short space of time, then why make it but for those people who enjoy watching just that?

The film is rather a lot longer than it needs to be, the final shot as we follow him walking into the river, or towards oblivion, is excruciatingly long for instance and is an example of the kind of melodrama that tends to pop up. He's meant to be intense but the whole thing feels unnecessarily intense, to the point where it's uncomfortable. Sure the raps, the jokes, the lifestyle makes you laugh and amazed at the same time, but really it's very much up it's own arse. If treated as an experiment on celebrity culture, on the idea of the artist and all that, I'd say it makes for an interesting case but it's not enough to keep me for the whole film and it just left me rather confused. Even the appearance of Edward James Olmos in a very Bill Adama role was enough to make me cringe, and I love that guy.

If you want to see some strange footage, if you were in any way interested in the whole drama and if you'd just like to hear Phoenix rap, then it's probably worth watching - but for anything else, or for a work of entertainment it's best to stay clear. There's only one word that can really sum up this film - weird.

Rating: 5/10

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

REVIEW: Crysis 2

Being one of the most exciting games with a brand spanking new engine to boast about has been causing quite the stir. But is it all that it's meant to be?

The new CryEngine has blown away it's competitors, but now with Unreal having announced their follow-up engine (perhaps the most used engine on the market), where does this leave Crytek? It's staple example of the engine being Crysis 2. Well, undoubtedly, this is a very pretty game. What you will notice the most is not necessarily the characters, but the fluidity of natural elements such as fire, light, water, smoke, explosions etc., it's these that are remarkably impressive. But does the game work?

As an engine, it works very well. However, as a game it's a different story. I came onto this right off the back of Homefront and it was a complete change of pace, but looking back on it now, Crysis 2 is only marginally better. Sure the graphics are superb, perhaps the best I've seen on a next-gen console, but it lacks something.

I feel the main reason is that it still feels like a PC FPS, and to a lesser extent, a poor man's Halo. The aliens are colourful, pretty, but to be honest they are quite similar and range from soldier ones, hard soldier ones, massive ones, and a big War of the World type one - which there are about 4 or 5 in the game. You are fighting humans as well who want your suit, but in theory it's the aliens that are the real threat. This also brings up the issue that I haven't played Crysis, so I've no idea where these aliens have come from, who The Prophet really is, why it's set in New York and if any of these 'flashbacks' are relevant. It's a simple story of reaching A to B with people trying to kill you and nab your suit or some such thing - really, it's all a lot of nonsense. You're a super soldier who has to save the world (basically Master Chief).

The controls are typical FPS except you have to double click your 'change weapon' button for a grenade (ridiculous), you hold LB for armour and RB for cloak. You can upgrade your alien-like powers (which I saved up for no reason really) and of which it's never fully explained why you should care that the suit is part alien or something now. You can also customise your weapon mid-game, it's a nice touch. However, what you find is that cloaking is a complete ball-ache and you're much better off going in guns-a-blazing, which almost defeats the point of it. I would usually try going in using the cloak first and if I didn't get far or got found out, then when I respawned, I'd just shoot everyone and complete it in a quarter of the time. The AI isn't too bad, but sometimes they do just stand there while you shoot them in the face. You don't have health really, but rather an energy meter where basically anything you do apart from walking uses up the energy meter so the nice bit is you've got your eye on it the whole time, always reaching out a bit further from when you can recharge your cloak to move to the next spot. All very nice touches and a storyline that isn't too crap. But why am I not feeling it?

It could be that for something so uniquely epic in a devastated New York, it actually feels rather small. You just continue moving, shooting, moving and really, it feels like it should be bigger than it is. The visuals were great, but I feel they were wasted with some perhaps quite poor game directing - it was rather short, easy and constantly anti-climatic. Your suit kept 're-booting' and there were some lame 'Press A For Defribulator' moments that felt pushed in and really the whole thing annoyed me slightly. The constant 'visor' to check out who was lurking about was like a chore that I soon ditched when I realised I didn't need it. The game just felt like it had such a powerful machine behind it, but was let down by some quite boring, unoriginal and uninspiring gameplay.

I'm not saying this was crap. Far from it. It's a smooth, sleek, well-furnished FPS that is worth it's money. It has a pretty good multiplayer section and is generally good fun, but it didn't have that epic story, that real emotional pull that other FPS games might have. Instead it was a cock-out action piece that had some stealth elements thrown in that slowed down the game, rather than adding a new dimension to it. The story was rather bland and about a quarter of the way through I just wanted to complete the thing - I didn't care anymore.

I had really high hopes for this game. The end 'crawling' bit reminded me of MGS4, which is a few years old now and that did it a whole lot better, remember all those amazing multiple screens? It heightened the drama whereas Crysis 2 makes you feel like a lame duck. Your suit keeps buggering up, but it doesn't matter because it reboots and works fine in a matter of moments anyway. Your looking around going 'that looks cool' when really it's taking away from the fact that it's a completely average shooter.

As far as FPS's go, it's a definite contender. It's a gorgeous game that will have you playing it for a good couple of days or perhaps weeks if you're more casual, but it's nothing that made me feel like it was the future of gaming. Instead, when I wanted to come away with a Wow, I came away with a small sigh and a little smile. It's worth shelling out for just to be pretty, and if you have a 3DTV and all that, but this is not an urgent game, you can definitely wait for it to come down in price, rent it, or just complete the game that you're doing now and save Crysis 2 for a later time because, unfortunately, it's not going anywhere. It does get an extra mark for being so bloody beautiful, the cheeky minx.

Rating: 7/10

REVIEW: Source Code

Duncan Jones, David Bowie's kid and the guy who did 'Moon' makes his proper Hollywood debut with thriller 'Source Code' with a tanned Jake Gyllenhaal and a pretty Michelle Monaghan.

Have you ever seen that Tony Scott film with Denzel Washington called 'Deja Vu'? Well if you have, get ready for some ... Deja Vu - because it's a similar premise. The whole point of Source Code is to not give too much away so let me tell you the bits that don't give anything away to begin with. Basically, Jake is a soldier sent into someone else's body in a train that's about to blow up, however he only has 8 minutes to find the bomber. That's pretty much it.

The thing is, this is sold subconsciously as the next 'Inception' - if you look at the movie poster it's him running while stuff seems to blow up and away in the background, like that bit in Inception. It's also got a British director at the helm and even the font is essentially the same. The colour palette for the entire film could also be considered similar to Inception, it's blue greyish visuals reminiscent of Nolan's masterpiece. However, it doesn't even begin to get as close to it.

The thing is, Source Code doesn't really make sense, and then it goes off on one anyway. The initial Groundhog Day-like humour feels slightly jarring - should I actually be finding this funny? I guess so. Also when he looks into the mirror to see someone else stare back, I was expecting him to say 'oh boy' (Quantum Leap reference there for non Sci-Fi fans). The problem is, it's tough without giving too much away. The constant repetition feels like an actor's studio, after studying Drama myself for a while, there was always the classic exercise of acting out a scene again and again, remembering gestures etc. and it feels like that, in fact I think Gyllenhaal overplays his hand many times and I would argue is actually mis-cast. Monaghan is a good counterpoint to try and keep the idea somewhat grounded in reality whereas it's really Vera Farmiga and the hugely underrated Jeffrey Wright that feel like the true actors. They are the shady military bodies sending poor Gyllanhaal's Stevens back into time. But then is it time he's being sent into?

Apparently, the science is that after death the brain has an 8 minute window of memory and somehow they are able to tap into the memory of this guy 'Sean' who was on the train that Stevens is sent back into. I'm still unclear walking out of the movie whether it was tapping into the brain, or tapping into time. The idea is that he can't change time, because it's already happened and so there would be a parallel universe in accordance with whether he stopped it or not. I thought it was just a computer program as at one key point, the 'code' starts to falter and he starts to lose a grip. The ending, which I'll come to later in case you haven't seen it (I'll put up an alert), makes no sense whatsoever and what makes this different from Inception is that, in some weird way, I can work out the science in Inception but in this I can't, and it frustrates me as it loses it's appeal by just trying to be a bit different. It has in fact, 'pulled a lost'.

The acting is so-so, the directing was OK but then it wasn't anything crazy - some helicopter shots, stuff in a train car, stuff in a military room, stuff in a weird shell. If anything it's the editing which is commendable by letting it flow seamlessly together without causing too much of an obstruction. However, I didn't think this was particularly well crafted. In fact, for a thriller I didn't get much thrills and the idea of resetting the clock takes away from the danger element. The first hour or so of the film is spent trying to figure out who the bomber is, and that's interesting - the audience play along with Stevens as to who the culprit may be. However, once you've figured it out, it's an anti-climax that then afterwards tries to take a more personal route as Stevens carries on on his own mission. It doesn't even matter if he stops the bomb, he just has to find the bomber who, in this present day reality, is threatening to unleash a bigger bomb. Everyone's already dead and they can't be saved we are told again and again.

There's not that much action, there's a couple of twists that were okay and an ending left up for interpretation (which I will come to) and it's better than Scott's 'Deja Vu', but not by much. Gyllenhaals' persistent, frustrating questions deny the audience of the speed needed and there's a tiny sequence where it's suggested he has been back multiple times and the idea of 'dying' again and again has taken it's toll leaving him clearly exhausted, but it's a lazy piece of exposition. This is nothing like Inception, there were bits that made me laugh out loud a lot that eased the tension, but there wasn't that much tension really anyway. I was dissatisfied but my girlfriend suggested that it was good to see something original on the screen, which is true but I felt it was a mixed bag. It should have either kept to the modern-day action flick, the Eighties Sci-Fi-er or the Hitchcockian thriller but instead it felt like a garbled take on a single idea of going back in time for 8 minutes - which in theory is a good one. Perhaps they tried to do too much? Or maybe they did too little? I just don't think I'd ever watch it again and didn't come out thinking it was that great. There will be people who like the concept, who respect the director and the actors, that it's a bold attempt at something, but really this will one of those films people will forget by this time next year. Maybe I'm missing something, or maybe it's because the ending really made me angry ... I'll give the rating now but scroll underneath for the reason why, but it will include Spoilers.

Rating: 6/10


Okay, so I guess the key thing is establishing whether he's actually going 'back in time' or whether it's some weird computer 'code'. Let's say for arguments sake that he is actually going back in time and each time he's offsetting a parallel universe. In that case, where the hell is the original Sean? Once Stevens 'dies' he's left in Sean's body? What's that about? What will happen when he has to meet his parents again? How will he teach History? He's been meeting this girl for a little bit and now steals her away from the guy she's obviously crazy over? It doesn't work. Also some have argued that he's dead and this is his heaven. It's a stupid theory because if it was his afterlife, we wouldn't be cutting away to the Source Code division, neither would he have Sean's face, nor would there have been flashes of this parallel universe during the film. It would also mean that there would be two Stevens' in one dimension which, if Back To The Future taught me anything, could create a paradox that would spell the end of the Universe! Or whatever. It was annoying and logically didn't work. People say 'oh, it's just a bit of fun' but for me to clarify it as fun in it's own world, it should always make sense in the context it has set up. Inception might be full of stuff that doesn't really add up but it makes sense in it's own weird way, the best films always do. It's one of my main arguments against Lost is that for it to work and sufficiently entertain, it cannot cheat the audience, which it did. I always remember when Hitchcock made Stage Fright, he always said his greatest mistake was duping the audience into thinking a flashback was real. The audience have to trust the filmmaker, and to exploit it is the same as exploiting the trust you give to anyone. You are passively subject to the director's wishes and he knows that he's already got you, so he can do what he likes. Source Code unfortunately is the same as this, and even though it made for an entertaining film, I really thought it would be more than it was. Instead it's a mediocre sci-fi/action film that's been done before and ends up just getting on my nerves.

Monday, 11 April 2011

NEWS: Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 Coming Soon

Thanks to my fellow Curb buddy Ben, he made me aware of this nice little preview of Season 8 of Curb. Perhaps the best comedy series on TV - with Gervais and more importantly Michael J Fox taking the piss out of his condition! And why the hell shouldn't he? Have a look and tell us what you think.

Thursday, 7 April 2011


After the excitement of hearing that Daft Punk were going to release a remix album of their Tron: Legacy soundtrack, I was very excited - but after a few listens, should I be?

I quite like the idea of a remixed version of any album, it might put a new twist on a song or draw focus to something you might not have really noticed before: a bass hook, a lyric or a kick beat that suddenly drives the whole thing into a completely new direction. So when I heard that Daft Punk's album was going to be taken away from the 'film soundtrack' aspect and in a setting they are more familiar with I was jumping up and down like a pubescent boy being taken to a brothel. But it's also like getting there and seeing a 40 year old, gaunt, smoking, big boobed wonder. There's some bits that are good, a lot of people might even enjoy it, you would give it a try, but is it really what you thought it would be?

That might be a bit too harsh of an analysis but in principle it works. For the most part, the best bits of the tracks are the ones taken directly from Daft Punk's original tunes - either it's reinstating their genius or it's because the remix artists didn't really know what to do with what they had - it's not as if it's an album meant for teenyboppers. In some way, it takes the grandeur away and sounds like it should just be a club tune with a few epic sounds thrown in for good measure (isn't that like every commercial dance track?) - but let's break it down tune by tune.

"Derezzed" by The Glitch Mob slows down the main riff and plasters some heavy bass behind it and it's a good opener. It does something a bit different and the silence/release of the main thumping backbeat can be described as somewhat orgasmic at some points. However, it doesn't beat the original but is definitely a worthy mix of a great tune.

M83 and Big Black Delta's "Fall" mix was one of the ones I was looking forward to most. A big fan of M83, I enjoyed the sound but seriously that 'Na-na-na" high pitched thing was driving me MAD! I have to turn it down if I'm near people because it's an embarrassing sound. The rest of it is okay, but I feel like M83 did their bit and these Big Black Delta guys might have ruined it, the big build-up is pretty good but that initial noise makes me want to skip the track. If you can get through that, you'll probably enjoy the rest of the song.

The Crystal Method bring it back on track with what really was a very simple song on the original, "The Grid". At least they've tried to do something different, however I can't help but feel The Crystal Method are dated and some of this sounds like it should be in The Bourne Identity, the staggered violins with some old electronic noises that aren't exactly rocking anyone's world. However, when 3:10 hits in and the Tron:Legacy theme kicks in, it makes it worth while - it's almost as if the beginning of the song was just a complete pre-amble to reach this point. It doesn't have the dramatic effect of the original but it's a nice touch. Shame, I can't help but think if it wasn't again for Daft Punk's talent, this would be just a throwaway dance track. It truly is something a 40 year old DJ would play thinking he's still cool - it kinda works, but it mostly doesn't.

"Adagio For Tron" by Teddybears goes a bit more techno, or 'grindcore' as they are known for. They've taken a rather slow song and basically play around with the volume a bit, the left to right nob, and not much else. I feel like it's sending me to sleep by the time I've finished the song, it's so repetitive and the alien gun blasts going on in the background just sound stupid.

Ki:Theory turn "The Son Of Flynn" into some weird guitar-sounding noise-fest that is basically throughout the whole thing and feels slightly naff. It's a shame since the rest of the sounds going on aren't so bad. The guitar synth sound always jars with me because it's so fake and really can sound shit - like it does here.

I didn't know what to expect of Oakenfold's "C.L.U" seeing as he's one of the better know artists. It's definitely a nightclub tune that actually works quite well. It still feels slightly dated but there's a dark menace to it that keeps to the original's flavour. The 2:22 mark kicks it off into something you'd hear in Ibiza or you know, one of those Spanish islands I never go to. It's one of the stronger tracks on the album and actually turns the song into a stonker of a dance track.

Moby's "The Son of Flynn" is perhaps too close to the previous remix, but his slower - almost heartbeat like rhythm that slowly builds up, is something that he has obviously meticulously looked after. It's very simple and feels quite close to the original song, but it's almost too slow - it's a sound that builds in on itself and almost gets carried away as it's all caught up in the simplicity of it all. It's more like a feeling than an actual song and probably made more for chilling out background music than anything else.

"End Of Line" is one of the more interesting tracks from the original soundtrack and Boys Noize do a good job of making it sound like it was always meant for the dancefloor.

Kaskade's "Rinzler" feels like a Europop wonder that I just can't shake. It's such a piece of filler that could easily sound like any of the other lesser tracks on this album - it doesn't have much to separate it. A regularly occurring theme.

Com Truise chose the 'special edition' "Encom Part 2" and I quite like it. It's simple enough but again no real hook, it's just a bunch of sounds that make a kinda cool noise strung together. However, I'm not going to go out of my way to listen to it.

Photek's "End of Line" is a bit closer to Daft Punk's except they've made it sound like it's being played on a church organ. They clearly know the main riff is astounding and it drives the whole piece. They haven't done much with it, but then don't need to. It's a decent enough remix - for a B-Side.

The Japanese Popstars decided to use "Arena" and turn it into quite a bland, empty piece until about 3 minutes in, but by that point I've lost interest and the siren doesn't make it more exciting - it's just another layer of sound. The 4:36 mark where that real Arena kick comes in isn't enough to save it. It's a cool song to perhaps run through London high-rises to, but it's not a remix I'd be proud of.

"Derezzed" makes another appearance by Avicii and to be honest, I like what they've done. The main reason is they've done something different and it definitely has a Daft Punk feel to it. It also feels a bit 8-Bit and more uplifting, giving it a different tone completely. It's quite a difference and worth some respect for changing something that was amazing into something that might not necessarily be as good, but at least it's different.

"Solar Sailor" by Pretty Lights, is quite a cool foray into a more modern sound like a lesser Crystal Castles and would be cool for a Nissan advert perhaps. Again, it's enjoyable but the whole time I was thinking "I'd rather just listen to the original".

Is there a last hope in "Tron Legacy (End Titles)" remixed by Sandy Kleinenberg. Yes there is actually. I really enjoyed this version of the track and it's lucky the album has this as quite a strong ending.

Overall, I like the overall tone of the album but it in no way can it touch Daft Punk's original. I understand it's a remix album, but I thought with the wealth of material that was offered, it's a somewhat disappointing result. It's not all bad and if you loved the original, it's definitely worth getting but if it's a toss-up between the two, then unless you're a big dance fan and you like thumping beats and the idea you're almost listening to the same song again and again, then you might think this is better. It might be worth getting it for the small handful of tracks that are on offer but really, it doesn't touch the OST at all. Good effort, some a lot better than others, but don't go thinking this is Daft Punk taking the riffs out of the original album and turning them into some amazing dance tunes via other artists, because it's not. In fact, Daft Punk aren't involved with it at all and don't care - it's in fact Disney bringing this out. The goods are good, not amazing, but it's let down massively by some feeble attempts.

Rating: 5/10

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

NEWS: Tron 3 - More Details Released!

Good news for those who loved Tron:Legacy (like myself) - Kosinki will be back to direct the third movie with original screenwriters Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.

Apparantly Kosinki is the highest grossing first time director of a live-action film EVER, so that's quite impressive. It took a phenomenal $399 million and JJ Abrams' MI:3 took $397.5 - a small, yet huge, margin. There might have been a huge amount of money thrown at it to be fair, but still, it's quite impressive. There's also going to be a theme ride at Disney called ElecTRONica - and let's be honest, it might be my wet dream. If Olivia Wilde was sitting next to me, it would be perfect. Can someone ask her? I'd appreciate it. Apparently she's dating Justin Timberlake so that could be a problem ...

There was also a teaser trailer (perhaps fan-made?) of young Dillinger (Cillian Murphy in the film) who, for anyone who paid attention to the original Tron, will know is the son of the main evil guy in the original movie. The robot voice also signals the original computerised enemy (South Park's 'Moses' for anyone who might not have seen Tron) which could make things interesting ...

NEWS: Idiot Abroad 2 Trailer Released

For all those who enjoyed watching Karl Pilkington first time round, here he is again in The Bucket List.

I swear at one point in the first series, which was quite mediocre really, that he wouldn't do another series but obviously it did quite well, in fact Sky 1 HD's highest rated show apparantly and this little trailer listening to him whine about whale watching sounds like more whining from the man himself. It's great, but I have my doubts that I can watch the bald man moan and groan his way around the world again. What do you think?

NEWS: Will Smith & M Night Shyamalan In New Film

Just when you thought it was over, Shyamalan is back with another film. Though strangely nothing to do with this 'trilogy' that his film Devil promised ...

Will Smith and his son Jaden will be starring in One Thousand A.E (like Titan AE?) where they crash land in the future on some shitty planet. Perhaps Lost mixed with The Road? Do you think it's gonna be any good?

REVIEW: Burke & Hare

Why does John Landis do this to himself? He hasn't done a film since 1998's Susan's Plan and ... Blues Brothers 2000 - so where did it all go wrong? And why does it keep going wrong?

You would think with such a line-up as Tom Wilkinson, Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fischer, Tim Curry, Bill Bailey, Christopher Lee, Ronnie Corbett and more that it would have to go fairly wrong to be awful and it's the cast that really keep this atrocity afloat.

The story goes that Pegg and Serkis as Burke and Hare go around snatching bodies to sell them for science. But to raise income they start killing people to get their numbers up and Wilkinson's Dr. Knox is happy to receive them. At the same time, Pegg is falling for Fischer as she commits to her dream of putting on Macbeth at a local theatre. Soon enough the authorities, played wonderfully by Corbett, catch up to them.

The story is simple and the script very, very unfunny. That's not really much of a surprise since it comes from the guys who wrote St. Trinians and to be honest, it isn't much different in tone. The macabre arc completely jars with everything, they try so hard for the characters to be likeable yet slightly evil and selfish. It's a horrible mixture and a strange final redemption is too little too late and really brings you out of the film. There's also not much screen time or banter between Burke and Hare, especially as soon as Fischer gets involved and Burke's wife is played by Jessica Hynes who you can't help but feel sorry for as she keeps getting Pegg's handouts.

Pegg is the more innocent, starry eyed dreamer of the two which makes him the least interesting character of the whole piece. Serkis hardly gets a look in and it's a shame as he seems much more up for killing and is a lot more complex in a way that anything could be complex in this film. The whole thing about the play, which takes up a lot of screen-time, is that it keeps shifting the focus away and no matter how many cameos you throw in  (including the old guys from Trading Places), it's just getting in more buckets to stop a sinking ship of a movie. However, Wilkinson and Curry amongst others did lift the piece from the gutter on more than one occasion but I couldn't help but think my eyes were being dug out in a vain attempt to get access to my brain and make me become dumber until I started thinking that Paul Whitehouse falling down some stairs is really, really funny.

This was supposed to be Landis' big comeback but it felt like an annoying, humourless, stupid attempt to do something quite dark (they are serial killers after all) and put a fluffy edge to it. I found it to be a complete waste of time and because of the people involved and the money thrown at it - it makes me think that this should have been so much more. I wasn't that bored throughout the piece so I guess that's something, but this is lazy writing and acting and feels like someone has filmed a themed murder mystery and made a 90 minute feature about it.

Rating: 3/10

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

REVIEW: The Illusionist

Sylvain Chomet's Oscar nominated animation is apparently taken from a script written by Jacques Tati in 1956 as a letter to his daughter. If anyone else fondly remembers 2003 Belleville Rendez-Vous then they would have waited a long time for this to finally be released - and it's well worth the wait.

The Illusionist is about a French magician who does some work in London and then gets invited to Scotland. Once there, a young girl is soon mesmerised by his tricks and he soon takes her under his wing. However, her demands get more and more expensive and soon our Illusionist has to start keeping afloat by doing more than tricks.

Firstly, before we delve further into the plot, it has to be said that this film is visually stunning. It feels like this animation style is what Disney should have been doing, it's a beautiful, nostalgic work of art and every scene flows with such grace that Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks or whoever should be ashamed of what they've done because this is true animation, and it shows. You can tell that every scene, every frame in fact, has been lovingly tended to and in 90 minutes that's a hell of a lot of frames. Every single one is like a picture and because of its setting in 1956, its quaint, whimsical nature really touched me, the colours, settings and slightly anti-modern feel of the piece is a magical, old-school visual pleasure that is tough to pinpoint. This is from the very first frame, so you can imagine what I was like by the end. The film took a huge time longer than was budgeted but it has been well worth the wait and I couldn't help but feel it might be the finest animation I've ever seen.

What you will also notice is there is almost no dialogue. Instead, there's sounds and the odd word here and there but you could watch it with the sound off and, even though you'd miss out on the rich score, you would know exactly what was going on. The only problem I had was the story ...

The magician is from the old music hall type of entertainment. He's a proud man whose magic is quite astounding but clearly doesn't let people's disinterest dishearten him, instead he professionally turns up and does his bit, even if it's quite depressing. Going on after a rock'n'roll band for instance, shows the clear contrast between two generations and how he is holding on to a dying trade - he is in fact disillusioned. The whole time his eyes are somewhat closed and he goes through the motions without paying attention to the fact that people don't care. There's also the matter of his frame, he is fairly old, very tall, and very awkward looking gentleman. He is also clearly lonely with nothing but his angry rabbit to keep him company and it looks like everything he owns can fit in a tiny case. It's sad yet somewhat admirable that he stays true to his magic which he knows should be deemed impressive and to us as the audience, it is. The rest of this will have some spoilers but there's no twists or anything but you might want to skip ahead.

His gorgeous travels to Scotland land him a short gig in a pub where the suburban people are amazed by his talents and soon a young girl starts believing his magic is real. This man can make shoes appear, he can even make it snow! Unfortunately, the man doesn't want to reveal it's all a trick and would rather keep up the charade than admit it's all a joke, he wants to keep her as disillusioned as himself. When she rides with him to Edinburgh, we start to see the greed of materialism and city life worm its way into her head. She begins to want more and more and they move into a small hotel with other circus-like acts - a depressed clown, a disturbing ventriloquist and three happy Yankee acrobats. Our girl is soon asking for handouts and the magician starts working nights and soon sells himself out by working for a promotions company and wearing all pink.

However, the girl soon starts seeing a young gentleman and the magician notices. Sadly, he leaves her with some money and a note declaring magic isn't real. As he sits on a train, a young girl looking very much like the girl from before has lost her short pencil looking very similar to the magicians longer one. As he makes it 'appear' he hands her back the smaller one. It's a significant gesture about life, he has had to deal with the real world, is sick of giving and not receiving and as he looks at a photo of his daughter, it's clear that he has come to terms with whatever guilt he has felt towards an obviously painful past. He has helped the girl move on to womanhood and cared for her as best he could. In those simple few last seconds, it's subtle imagery brings a depth to the film that you weren't even aware of, especially since it was a rather deep, moving film to begin with.

The initial set-up for the relationship looked like it could be a romantic, perhaps even sexual one, but it's clear that neither of them are interested. Like perhaps 'Leon', it is merely two people finding themselves in a certain reality. It's only when he sees a moving picture of someone similar backing away, 'leaving' a girl's voice saying 'papa' that he realises he has been a father to the girl, that it is now time to leave her. It's something so small yet so telling.

The girl herself is awkwardly pretty, her age unclear and her innocent yet selfish motives are rather child-like, just like a baby wants a toy it doesn't think about cost, merely the want. In fact it's telling of the economy, the constant borrowing without paying back, consumerism, materialism, the jobs of the little people drying up, the gap between rich and poor, old and young. It's messages are simple and yet multi-layered, all just through the most subtle of movements and gestures made from hand-drawn animations.

It might border on patronising for something that people might consider slow and boring, but this really should have won the Oscar over Toy Story 3. It is a real work of art and I cannot emphasise what a warm, yet emotional feeling it left me with. Every character, no matter how small, is a complex individual and you really feel they have their own world separate to this. It's incredible in fact that in this huge, bustling, beautiful, hand-drawn world they've created, the story decides to focus on two small characters in a strange Fifties 'Lost In Translation'.

My only criticism is that the girl really did annoy me and it was hard to sympathise with her. She came across as just too simple at times and the poor magician was trying so hard for her that as you saw her eloping with another gentleman it made you feel slightly angry. It was a weird mix of emotions that I didn't feel sat right, which isn't to say it's a bad thing just I was confused as to what they wanted to convey. It became clear that the story was just as much a coming-of-age film for the young girl than anything else, his message of magic not being real is a very bold way of telling her it's time to grow up. He has helped how he could and it's now time to move on.

The magical world they both live in, and the final photo reveal, shows that hiding in magic is often easier than the truth and, as beautiful as it might seem, it's in fact a lie. The illusion is that it's a film and of course not real but the bigger illusion beneath this is the fact that it's all just hand-drawn frames moving together. The film itself is magic and perhaps Chomet is The Illusionist but the magical world he has set for us is one I'd love to be inside time and again in the future.

Rating: 9/10

Monday, 4 April 2011

REVIEW: Game Of Thrones 14 Minute Teaser

Don't you love Sean Bean? Didn't you think he was awesome as Boromir? Imagine if there was a bit more, perhaps a TV series, where he was playing someone like Boromir? Let's call it "Game of Thrones" and let's release the first 14 minutes. Oh, go on then.

The HBO series based upon the George R. R. Martin novels and is a battle of power for who should take over the kingdom. A medieval Sopranos apparently. The series even has it's own language developed for some of the characters and is rumoured to be the next big HBO series that will blow everything else out of the water.

I'm not too hot about the writers/producers Benioff and Weiss since Benioff wrote the screenplay for Troy and X-Men Origins: Wolverine but also adapted The Kite Runner quite successfully. However, it depends how closely they stick to the hugely popular fantasy series which I really know very little about. So coming in at this without much knowledge I watched the opening 14 minutes of Game Of Thrones and thought I'd tell you what I think. I would say Spoilers but you're going to find this out as soon as you watch it, so it doesn't exactly ruin anything.

It looks brilliant. The opening scene in the snow is paced smoothly and the occult/horror side of it I really didn't expect. The tense action at the beginning reveals very little but you can tell it's going to be a dark affair. The last seven minutes is on Sean Bean and his family, which seem to be very close (perhaps too close?) as he sets an example for his son. The poor ten year old boy watching a violent spectacle needs to know this because 'the winter is coming'. It offers up very little, but teases well, who are these strange mythical creatures everyone is suddenly scared of? What happens in Winter? The set and look of the piece still has to step away from Black Adder / poor man's Lord of the Rings but I'm sure it will. It all looks good so I'm hoping that once this airs on Sky Atlantic we'll be watching some great British talent doing some cool fantasy stuff until The Hobbit comes out.

Rating: 9/10

Sunday, 3 April 2011

REVIEW: Homefront

I would hazard a guess and say that this has had a lot of money thrown into it's marketing because I swear I can't get away from a poster or advert somewhere for this recently. But is it time for it to go home?

The main focus of this game was that it's post-apocalyptic future is based on a history that's happening right now and isn't outside the realms of possibility, it's in fact a real threat. America's economy is collapsing and North Korea are starting to get more and more ballsy with their weapons. It's revolutionary storyline even mimics what is going on in Libya and the Ivory Coast but when it comes down to it, can it incite enough emotion to engage the audience? By bringing the war to people's front yard, writer John Milius who co-wrote Apocalypse Now and Red Dawn, clearly hopes to do something different with a bloated FPS genre. However, didn't we see war-torn America in Modern Warfare? So if you're going to copy something, why you would think you can do it better than the most popular franchise on Earth is beyond me. But it's worth a try I guess ...

The game opens out in familiar territory - you're pummelled into a bus and you watch the horrors of war going on outside the window. Much like that intro bit on Modern Warfare remember? Okay, I'll stop comparing - but it's hard to do. Soon you're part of the resistance trying to win back America from the hands of the Koreans one step at a time. Plot wise, I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was quite engaging but I felt like each plot point was stretched out to involve the gameplay and really, it felt like an entertaining short story rather than a fleshed out game. 'Short' being the key word here as I must have completed the game in about 4 hours, maybe even quicker. What I played was good, but it felt like old hat. The AI was actually quite impressive, no longer waiting for people to pop up, they seemed to move around and try and second guess you a bit. The gameplay was quite smooth, almost too smooth that it felt unrealistic, throwing grenades for example held no weight and if someone was far from the explosion they would be thrown off their feet the same as if it went off right by them. Controls are the same as any FPS and there's a bit of helicopter action, a bit of gunner action and all that thrown in for good measure. It ticks every box needed for an FPS - so what's the issue?

The main issue is that it feels dated. Had this game been released a couple of years ago, and made a bit longer, I would have enjoyed it but the graphics felt a little old, the gameplay was just going through the motions and it seemed heavy on plot but light on character. This would have been mainly because you're running from one mission to another and there's not much reflection being had - everyone seems so bloody caught up in everything they don't have time to just let out their feelings. It's a shame since a lot of emotional scenes occur within the film, parents being shot in front of their children, Americans fighting each other and torturing Koreans, mass graves, self-sacrifice and all sorts but yet it doesn't seem to have the gloss to keep up. Video games are unfortunately one of the few mediums where money, in theory, is very important to what makes a game good. You will literally see every dollar spent on the screen - it's not to say you can't make a simple, inexpensive game and it not be a success but these days the bar is so high that unless you've got a major studio behind you, you run the risk of being left behind.

Homefront is a game that has it all in the right places but can't deliver like Call of Duty can. It feels like it's little brother that has made a good effort but can't reach the heady heights. But then it's not that I have anything really bad to say about it, just there's nothing that stands out as being very good. Sure, fighting on normal American soil is cool, sure the action can be pretty good and the story quite engrossing but it's instantly forgettable. The multiplayer was surprisingly fun with large maps and large teams with standard necessary game modes but you couldn't help but think you'd rather be playing something else.

It was the moment I completed the game, opened my disk tray and inserted Crysis 2 when I realised how far behind the times Homefront is. Great effort guys and worth a weekend's playing, but nothing to write home about.

Rating: 6/10

Friday, 1 April 2011

NEWS: Total Recall Remake With Bryan Cranston

I finished the first season of Breaking Bad a little while ago and didn't have time to review it unfortunately, but I can safely say I thought it was an inspirational piece of TV and I'm happy to say that it looks like Bryan Cranston will be the villain in Total Recall remake.

You will probably better know Cranston as the Dad in Malcolm In The Middle, but if this dissuaded you against Breaking Bad then you missed out.

For those with the initial shock of 'Total Recall remake!' - it's been on the cards for a while unfortunately with Colin Farrell taking over as "Quuuaaaaiiidddd" (cue foetus voice).

Neal Moritz is set to produce who has produced some absolute shit in his time - "Urban Legend" "Cruel Intentions" "The Fast & The Furious" "xXx" "Torque" "SWAT" "Evan Almighty" "I Am Legend" and "Battle: Los Angeles" so basically expect it to be crap. Kurt Wimmer will write who has worked on some good and some bad including "Salt" "The Recruit" "Street Kings" "Equilibrium" "Sphere" - so not exactly an amazing writer but teaming these two up is asking for trouble. Do you think they can pull it off? Should Total Recall just be left alone?

NEWS: The Hangover 2 Trailer

Have a look at this and tell me what you think?

Maybe it's just me but I watched this and thought it looks really, really shit. Firstly, it looks exactly the same as the first one in that it's about a marriage again (it didn't have to be another marriage guys) and some shots are even exactly the same (the drinking for example). Why bring back the Chinese guy from the first one? They've even taken an element they bring to kid sequels et al where when they get bored, they get a monkey in. How annoying that is going to be I can't even begin to tell you.

Zach with a bald head and Ed Helms with a tattoo? Not original but ok. Even Stu, the guy they had to find in the first one, clearly takes a back seat probably because he's the most wooden thing about it. The first Hangover was walking the line between gross-out R rated actually funny comedy and kiddie-like stunts that deserve to be on a Nickelodeon film - however it pulled it off successfully. This one seems to be tipping towards the kid element again and I can't help but think it's going to be an absolute pile of shit. Sorry!

There's nothing in the entire trailer that gives me hope, so let's see once the initial hysteria dies down what people will really think. How about you guys? Am I wrong?

NEWS: Iron Man 3 - New Writer

With the news Shane Black will direct Iron Man 3 - which I'm not raising the roof about in the first place - it's been reported that Marvel have hired Drew Pearce - who has basically just done No Heroics. Not sure how I feel about that ...

By bringing in someone with a loose connection to superheroes and looking for their big break, it's been suggested that this could be Marvel's way of keeping tabs on what's going on and not to let Black take total control. This one could go either way, what do you guys think?