Category: Film Reviews

Frankenweenie (2012)

Disney and Tim Burton deliver the off beat, black and white, stop start animation ‘Frankenweenie‘, which takes us through the story of Victor, a young high school student who uses science to bring back his beloved dog ‘Sparky’. When the fellow students find out about his successful experiment, they steal his idea with the hope to win the state science fair, cue the mild peril.

Even though we have seen this story before (Tim Burton co wrote and directed a live action version in 1984) and plays out in a very familiar format, the animation, directing and characters have once again pushed forward the art of this film genre.

Fans of Edward Scissorhands and Mars Attacks I recommend this to you.
(Also, What is it with Tim Burton and his fetish of the 1950s housewife… )


Detention (2011)

Talking of  ‘teen horror-comedy gone very wrong but in a good way’; Detention is 100 films in 1, the kind of film that can easily give you a headache if you are in the wrong frame of mind.  It’s got timetravel, prom, a serial killer, love, explosions, body-swaps, body-horror, mutations, jocks and meta coming out of it’s wazoo and is almost too much until the last stretch brilliantly pulls together all the various strands and ‘what the hell?’ moments.  File under ‘no f**ks were given during the making of this picture’.

The Girl (2012)

Toby Jones portrays Hitchcock, in this made for TV film, focusing on his love,  then obsession with his leading lady, Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller) during the filming of The Birds and Marnie. While the acting is of brilliance in some areas, this film was let down by the awkwardness while watching it, leaving open questions and trying to shift through fact and fiction. This story is from the memories of Tippi Hedren, giving us a one sided portrayal and the unfortunate circumstance of not being able to see a balanced retrospect of the events suggested.

We are being re-introduced to Hitchock’s films with the release of the Blu Ray collection. Also another side of the great director will be portrayed as ‘Hitchcock‘  (Anthony HopkinsHelen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson) film is due for release later this month (UK) – A love story between influential filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959.

12 Angry Men (1957)

There is plenty here to suggest that the accused isn’t guilty but the Lumet’s film is a classic because there is doubt.  Technically, the film is perfect with every camera move, line and actor precisely aligned and it succeeds in it’s intention by refusing to resort to sentiment.  A lesser film would have justice being done by arriving at the correct verdict, 12 Angry Men has the conviction to arrive at the one the law demands.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

Both sequel to and spoof of the 1984 comedy horror classic, Gremlins 2 is a wildly inventive movie with a massive grin on it’s face and clawed hand behind it’s back.  Okay, so it’s not the original but it stretches the mischief so far that it even breaks the film (a situation rectified only by the intervention of the Hulkster himself)… but amidst all the fun and japes I’m sure there is an essay to be written on why 100% of Gizmo’s offspring are psychopathic.

2012 (2009)

If you are reading this then the Mayan’s had it wrong and if you’ve seen 2012 then you will know that Hollywood also screws up plenty of things.  In a nutshell foreigners are dodgy or, at best, worthy of dying to save us white folk, doctors are noble unless they are plastic surgeons and if the end of the world does come it will all be okay in a couple of days… of course one could avoid taking this nonsense so seriously but the whole enterprise is just so dull that the mind is forced to wander off.

Deep Impact (1998)

A Comet discovered by a high school astronomy club (well, Elijah Wood) is coming to earth, only to be split in two by astronauts trying to destroy it. With the now two comets heading for Earth, it is revealed that there is sanctuary, but only those that have been selected. It’s a race against time to find higher ground, to be with loved ones and for astronauts to try again to save the world. Morgan Freeman plays a great US president.

Armageddon was out in 1998 too, pretty much the same plot, but has a lot more slow motion walking towards the camera.

Tank Girl (1995)

Its the year 2033 and the planet is a post apocalyptic wasteland, where water is controlled by Water and Power, the mega corp. Enter Tank Girl, Jet Girl (Naomi Watts) and a kangeroo dog called Booger, it’s time to kick some serious wacky butt. British based cult comic of the same name, by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett (creator and designer of The Gorillaz) produce this live action film with comic strip cutaways and an ass kicking soundtrack. Would have liked an animated series! One for the Riot Grrrls.

I Am Legend (2007)

How would you even start to adapt this book for the screen?  George A Romero nailed the feeling with Night of the Living Dead but of all the straight adaptations this is by far the best.  Will Smith takes on the role of Neville with gusto, deserted Manhattan looks great and the film even gives us a satisfying mainstream version of that ending (but make sure you watch the alternate version).  Check out The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made by David Hughes for a fascinating insight into the troubled genesis of this film that ends with a rumour that Smith might be attached.

Left Behind (2001)

Parodied in The Simpsons as Left Below (‘why did I only get one of my twins baptised?!’), this is the first of a series of hugely popular yet terrible films based on the mega selling yet hateful book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins.  The premise is that the Biblical Rapture has arrived and those that are left behind must take on the forces of evil and the EU or something… IMDB shows a 2014 remake starring Nic Cage.