Friday, 25 June 2010

Korean Cowboys?

I'm beginning to really love foreign language films. Here is a film that took a famous western and put it in South Korea.

The Good The Bad The Weird pays tribute to the classic, The Good The Bad And The Ugly. Plenty of little in jokes for fans of the western to pick up on as well as little character traits. (The weird/The ugly both brush their teeth with their fingers.) The plot is far simpler than the original. Set in the 1940's, two outlaws and a bounty hunter go on the search of treasure due to a map. Following them are Chinese gangs and the Japanese army. Far less side plots. Not that side plots are a bad thing... But if you have a short attention span like a lot of young people nowadays, this film is easier to watch. Unless you dislike subtitles.

"Check out this backwards shooting!"

Firstly, I noticed straight away how awesome the camera work was. I mean.. It's really incredible at some points. The chase at the end... WOW. So there's not that much of a score (Though during the chase listen for the background tribute to The Good The Bad & The Ugly's score.) but the other technical aspects make up for that. The action sequences are suburb and wonderful to watch. Not only are they full of action but they're also cool and fun. The cast are wonderful. Some may think Byung-hun Lee was the wrong choice for Park Chang-yi / The Bad, but they're wrong. His 'pretty boy' exterior may seem odd for a crazy killer type person but it just makes it all the more effective when he whips out his knife and starts madly slashing people up. Kang-ho Song (Yoon Tae-goo / The Weird) fits his role perfectly. He is weird. There is very few other ways of describing it. But he was brilliant. Woo-sung Jung (Park Do-won / The Good) is just plain cool. From the moment we first see him shooting at The Bad and The Weird plus henchmen, till the very last second. Especially his part in the chase scene.... Wow.

Guess Who is Who

Some fun facts about the film... Woo-sung Jung, The Good, broke his arm during filming... This was the most expensive South Korean Film to be made (as of 2009)... And something that made me chuckle: Director Woo-sung Jung claimed he would like this to be called a 'kimchee western' after the Korean food made with fermented cabbages. He says he thinks the plot and film are spicy and vibrant, like the Korean culture and people. Of course, The Good The Bad And The Ugly was a 'Spaghetti western' due to it being a western made by Italians. Really worth a watch if you can be bothered to read subtitles. I dislike it when films aren't given a fair chance because people won't read a little.


Best Bit? The Chase Scene. It's awesome. Armies, gangs, outlaws, weirdos, cars, horses, moterbikes... It has everything.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Meanest Yard

Two birds with one stone here. A film and it's modern remake.

The Longest Yard, (Or Mean Machine in England,) was made in 1974. 36 years on and it is still a very funny film.

Burt Reynolds/Adam Sandler is Paul Crewe, an ex American Footballer, sent to prison for violently abusing his wife, escaping the cops in an amusing fasion, ditching the car in a body of water then beating up a couple of policemen. In prison, The Warden (Eddie Albert/James Cromwell) convinces him to start a football team to face the guards semi-pro team. With help from Caretaker (James Hampton/ Chris Rock) and Nate Scarboro (Michael Conrad/Burt Reynolds) he forms a team of big bad convicts to help him beat the guards.

Burt Reynolds was secretly Iron Man under his shirt.

The warden was shocked.

The original first. I have no problems with the acting. The four main characters are all brilliant. Reynolds is sly and witty but also shows some heart at points when with (and at some points without) Caretaker. Speaking of Caretaker, James 'Jim' Hampton was also great as his part but he wasn't quite outgoing enough... Just my thought. Eddie Albert was, personally, the highlight acting wise. He started warm and friendly but became a domineering, power hungry, reputation focused man. Michael Conrand was also fantastic as Nate Scarboro.

What I do have issues with is the pace. It's a good half an hour from the cop chase to when he pieces the team together and even then it's still slow... It drags. When they start picking up crazed murderers and training it gets good. The final 47 minutes are taken up by the final game between the guards and the convicts and it's a pleasure to watch. I also disliked the editing.... How it was nominated for an Oscar I will never know. It looked like someone had done the scene transitions on Movie Maker.

"Hi Paul Crewe... I'm Paul Crewe.... From the past."

Now I'm not normally a fan of remakes but I make an exception in this case. I like most of Adam Sandler's comedy but it does grate a little I suppose. This was the beggining of his transition into more serious films. He provides very little of the humour and does more serious stuff. Chris Rock is funny and has a much stronger personality than James Hampton and I think that's better in a prison, don't you? Burt Renyolds is also a better Nate I think. He's more amusing and he looks stronger, like an ex football player. The supporting cast are equally as funny as the original though the dumb jokes fall flat more. Nelly is awesome as Megget the running back.

Oh the soundtrak is all R 'n' B, some is good.... Some is too much.

There are scenes in both that I really like that aren't in the other or that are better.

1974-The 'Why did you throw that game' scene, the police chase, the ripped shirt in the game.

2005- The try outs, the game plays, the rehearsing in the mud, the final plays (A lot less cliche!)

All in all these are both good films but the remake is certainly one to watch with your mates with some drinks and snacks whereas the original is a Sunday afternoon sort of film... Know what I mean?


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

In 2 No Arm.

The title is an anagram... Try and get it :)

This film was undoubtedly less cool than its predecessor but very cool none the less. It also wasn't as good but I think it may just be for that reason. Why wasn't it as cool? Hmmm a fair point.... I don't think it was as fun as the first film. I mean Stark (Downey Jr) was facing inner demons etc.. But then it didn't feel touching either. And the 'big' fight scene at the end is a real disappointment.

Whiplash never looks both ways before crossing the road

But that's the bad out of the way. The acting was suburb. Robert Downey Jr was still brilliantly funny and just seemed to shine with coolness. Sam Rockwell was a brilliant 'villain.' He is officially one of my favourite actors (Check out 'Moon') and he is awesome in this as Stark's business rival. Mickey Rourke is insane as Whiplash or Ivan Vanko, the homemade Iron Man person. With his home made suit that has electric whips that can cut a car in half, he portrays a troubled Russian with pure excellence. Oh bloody hell! I almost forgot Don Cheadle! He stepped into Terrence Howard's shoes like a pro. I forgot he was a different actor. Excellent. Other performances by Samuel L Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson are equally cool and not a single decline in quality.

Direction by Jon Favreau is brilliant and so is his little supporting role. It's edited really well and has an awesome AC/DC-full soundtrack. The camera work is a little generic though.

It is still a good film and super cool. A film to watch with friends and a couple of beers/ cans of coke. (I have 14 year olds read this blog you know. Drinking is bad kids.)

Best bit? The race car fight scene... Brilliant. Funny and full of action.

Monday, 14 June 2010

17 And Sexy. It's.... Matthew Perry?

Yes yes it's that teen hunk, Zac Efron, and everyone's favourite FRIENDS actor, Matthew Perry. They've teamed up to make a kind of touching comedy. And it's pretty good.

I know what a lot of you are thinking. I'm not a twelve year old girl; why would I like it? Well for Matthew Perry of course! But also everything else in the film. Seriously, I decided to watch it because of my love of Matthew Perry and found myself actually enjoying it. Once you get the topless Efron scene out the way at the begining it's clear sailing.

Perry is a middle man (Mike O'Donnall) who's wife and kids don't want anything to do with him. He's just missed out on a promotion which was given to some lady with a nice ass. His bed friend lives in a house full of geek drugs. (Lightsabers, toys etc.) He suddenly gets flung into his 17 year old body (Efron) and given a second chance to re-do life. Get the basketball scholarship instead of a pregnant teen girlfriend. That sort of stuff. You can image the silly situations he gets into. *Giggles*

There were some really dirty scenes in the film

The majority of acting is pretty good. Efron shows he isn't just a Disney produced pile of crap. *COUGH* JONAS BROTHERS *COUGH* He has talent. Check out his last big scene if you don't believe me. He caught some of Matthew Perry's mannerisms through rehearsal but he lacked something... He was too... Zac. Matthew Perry was brilliant of course. Michelle Trachtenberg also put in a good turn as Maggie O'Donnell, Mike's daughter. Also worth a mention is Thomas Lennon. Very funny man.

What brings this film down is everything else. The score/soundtrack is generic, the plot is very familiar and there is nothing special about the camera work. It seems very mediochre in the end but nevertheless enjoyable.

There are certainly films of a lot higher standard but don't just pass this one by. It is worth a watch on a lazy sunday or something.

Best bit? Hmmm... tricky.....

Mike O' Donnell: [after Alex sees his mom, Scarlett and "Mark"/ Mike dancing] She's just nervous... it's creepy, right?

Alex O'Donnell: [stares at him, still weirded out] A little bit.

Mike O' Donnell: She's so old; it's like... [stops himself and immediately walks away]

Alex O'Donnell: You dance with all your friends' moms?

Mike O' Donnell: Pretty much

Saturday, 5 June 2010

North By Northwest

Okay no creative title... Sorry.
The famous Hitchcock classic, North By Northwest. If you've seen this film or not you'll know the crop duster scene. Everyone does!

Lets start with the director, Alfred Hitchcock. One of the best directors of all time, if not the greatest. I have huge admiration for this man. His dress sense, his habits, his films, his way of getting things done and his wicked sense of humour. And these aspects are clearly visible. Note his protagonists in suits despite what their doing.

Cary Grant is incredible. A cocky advert exec mistaken for a spy who doesn't exist. Thrown into the deep end of life, he has to fight for his life against evil Vandamm's (James Mason) games. His line delivery is brilliantly funny and his slow turn from cocky exec to almost a spy is believable and precise. Eve Kendall as Eva Marie Saint is incredible. Considering actresses in the 70's were often hired by looks but Hitchcock made sure he had talent in his films. James Mason is always worth a mention. His fun loving criminal mastermind plays games with Thornhill (Grant) like trying to mow him down with a crop duster.

Carry Grant Was Feeling A Bit Run Down Today.

Brilliantly edited together with some crazy, crazy action scenes, (Climbing down Geroge Washington's face anyone?) and a brilliant plot. It's such a good film and very clever and very funny. Its humour is often overlooked but it is incredibly amusing.

Watch it. Watch it now.

Best bit?
The Cropduster scene and.....

[Thornhill climbs into hospital window]

Woman: [Shocked] STOP!

[Turns light on and puts on glasses. Looks at Thornhill]

Woman: [Seductevely] Stop....

[Thornhill Pauses]

Thornhill: [Pointing at woman] HA!


Friday, 4 June 2010

Things On My Mind Now.

No Batman 3 this time. (Though I may talk about Christopher Nolan's Superman reboot.)

Firstly, two remakes of brilliant foreign films. I'm not sure why Hollywood has to remake these remarkable films though I suspect ti has something to do with people being too lazy to read subtitles. Timecrimes (Los Cronocrimenes) is set to be remade for 2011 with Tom Cruise strongly linked to it. As you know by reading previous posts, I adore this film. Timecrimes is an amazing creation, innovative and clever. I really worry that it will loose the things that make it great with an American remake. The simplicity, the slightly porky everyman protagonist, the point.
Also another film I am in love with, Let The Right One In. I reviewed this a little while back and boy is it stunning. I certainly have more faith in this than in Timecrimes. Mainly because of the awesome casting. Kick ass' Chloe Mortez and The Road's Kodi Smit-McPhee as our protagonists; sounds good. I still can't believe it would be as magnificent as the original but I hope for a good turn out. Also it will be called Let Me In.

Also, director Christopher Nolan has bounced around my mind a lot in the last few hours. His stunning take on Batman has left millions comparing him to Kubrick or Hitchcock. Others may know him from The Prestige or Insomnia but everyone will soon know him from one of his three upcoming movies: Batman 3, Superman and Inception. He has claimed that he will focus on Superman's character to create the world around him. Thats how he created his gothic Gotham. So what is Superman's character? Strong, powerful and mighty. He's also a lovely chap... Perhaps less of the grouchy need-a-soother voice from Batman.

Inception being the most expected film of the year (coming out July 16th) I advice everyone to see it. That's all I have to say about that.

Anyway that's all from me :)

Stay tuned for reviews on North By Northwest, 17 Again, Mean Machine, A Few Dollars More, Iron Man 2, The Notebook and The Good The Bad The Wierd.

Peace out ya hear!