Thursday, 2 January 2014

Gangster Squad

Gangster Squad

"Here's Santy Claus". A cheesy line used near the end by baddy Sean Penn (playing Mickey Cohen) was the only negative in this gripping, action-packed gangster movie.

A film based on a true story about a police chief setting up a gang of vigilante's to restore justice to the streets of gangster-ruled 1949 Los Angeles. The vicious Mickey Cohen (Penn) has Los Angeles in the palm of his hand and has everyone running scared of him as he causes misery to the town.

Josh Brolin leads the "Gangster squad" to fight fire with fire by taking Cohen down at his own game. Fighting, shooting, killing and just outright war. Ryan Gosling co-stars in the squad trying to take down Cohen, also bringing the romance part of the story into play by falling for Cohen-claimed beauty Emma Stone.

The film is packed with action as it literally explodes with gunfire, chases and fights as it displays a fascinating insight into the gangster problems of post-war America. There are even some humorous quips thrown in there to contribute to the cool factor of this film even more. Gosling and Stone are very good components of this riveting picture.

Brolin brings the masculine, strong hero effect which suits this film very well as the movie is filled with hardened soldier types, who make the action and conflict in this film so much more tough and entertaining. Penn is a very good baddy, his character's evil touch and conveyance of social power is very well played out.

Overall the film is trendy, cool and great if you're in the mood for some action and tough guy fights and conflict!

(Video source: YouTube, image source:

Friday, 20 September 2013

Social Network

The Social Network

This is a very unique film containing wit, intelligence and a fascinating insight into a true story. It tells the story of how Facebook came to be invented and stars Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake.

It's hard to describe the genre because it's so different to other films. The character's exchanging of dialogue is very good to watch and the story is actually inspiring. It makes you think and try to come up with your own billion pound idea, whilst making you fascinated about how this seemingly simple idea made someone a billionaire.

I found it made me think Mark Zuckerberg (played by Eisenberg) is a bit of a pratt. Not that he'll care, sitting on his huge pile of money, but it's interesting how this film portrays the "inventor" of Facebook. It shows he had had help in the idea and offers a very interesting insight into what happened behind the scenes in terms of his crumbling relationship with his best friend at Harvard, Eduardo Savarin (Garfield) and how Timberlake's character upsets their apple cart during a tug of war relating to how the rights of ownership and stakes of Facebook are split.

I've never really been interested in business or law but this film interests the hell out of me in that department. So don't be put off it if you think that aspect of it will make the film boring. It really doesn't, it is so intriguing and clever and the switches in time during the film add to the intrigue.

It's an interesting element to a film as usually you are wondering what's going to happen whereas this film actually tells you what's going to happen with certain aspects of the storyline before flashing back in time to continue the sequence of events to show HOW that is going to happen. For instance, showing Eduardo suing Zuckerberg for a scene before flashing back to continue the storyline that shows how this happens. This is whilst also showing other storylines, of which the events aren't as clear. So it's not always a question of "what" is going to happen, more "how" it is gong to happen. That's only the case with some of the plot though, not all of it so that it gives too much away.

It's additionally interesting to see why he created Facebook and what led him to doing so; a girl breaking up with him and him acting like a bitter moron about it.

It's a fascinating, cool tale. "Cool" is a very appropriate word for the film actually, it's great at showing the tale to be on the one hand, a tale of tested friendship and a business and economical fight but also somehow making it cool and, at times, glamorous.


(Image source: Accessed 20/09/13)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

I Love My Country

I Love My Country

I Love My Country is a Saturday night programme, produced to provide "Saturday night entertainment". I enjoy it to an extent (in that it's so bad, it's funny) but it's also repetitive; it's exactly the same stuff every week. The rounds resonate repetition to the point where it's starting to get boring 4 weeks in. It's additionally ridiculously cheesy, reeks of desperation and is often cringe-worthy.

Gabby Logan, a second choice to present the programme, sums up the show with her ridiculous dancing and awful, stomach-turning "jokes". Frank Skinner's decent enough, Micky Flanagan just about scrapes the barrel, but both partake in false idol chit-chat with the contestants at the start. The point of this is quite unclear. It's occasionally funny but sometimes just a waste of time when you're wanting them to get on with the show. I'm not really arsed about Gemma Atkinson's relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo, let alone the obvious diving joke after it by the very limited and unwitty Micky Flanagan.

Which brings me on to the caliber of the contestants. The likes of Helen Flanagan, Chelsee Healey and Greg Rutherford just don't belong on a "comedy" game show which tests general knowledge and wit. They're about as intelligent as Gabby Logan's jokes. There's a serious lack of genuinely funny and charismatic people on the programme full stop.

And never mind "patriotism", more like "patronizing". The overly-patriotic nature of it is repulsive. If a person from another country was watching that, they wouldn't admire our "proud to be British" attitude, they'd be mocking the sense of desperation and patronizing nature of our pride. The fact that Gabby Logan's dancing around all the time, there's cringey celebratory music played at every opportunity, the crowd jumping up and down and screaming all makes it stink of desperation and invites mockery because it's so over the top. If you were going to a barbeque you wouldn't go dressed as a comedy piece of meat with an "I love barbeques" hat on would you?

It's just way over the top and patronizing in that are we supposed to just think "this is great and really fun" just because as soon as it comes on everyone's dancing around and cheering at nothing? What is the point in that? Just get on with the programme and us viewers will make our minds up thanks.

I could go on all day about the ridiculous rounds and activities that go on the show but let's just point to one including Micky Flanagan and Frank Skinner dressing up in dresses and wigs and samba dancing and another involving everyone "gerning". An activity where everyone pulls as silly a face as they can to resemble Popeye. Not to mention that all the general knowledge questions fired at contestants shows how many thick celebrities we've got.

The BBC really have got to look at themselves for this shambolic show and have to have a bit more style about them. Because this is over the top, cringe-worthingly desperate and patronizing. Not to mention lacking in comedy and has the worst TV presenter I've ever seen in the repulsive Gabby Logan.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Premier League Years 2004/05

Premier League Years 2004/05

OK, this is not a film but I have been watching it over the last couple of days and feel compelled to review it. I've always thought Sky Sports have obsessed over Man Utd way too much in their annual Premier League Years show- a review of the Premier League season spread over 2 hours.

But they reached new heights with this one, obsessing this time over Chelsea to ridiculous heights. They show virtually every Chelsea fixture. Not only that, they often show highlights of the game, more build up and more goals than for more interesting, entertaining fixtures such as Crystal Palace 3-3 Norwich, Southampton 4-3 Norwich, Portsmouth 4-1 Southampton, Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal and Crystal Palace 2-2 Southampton.

They also pretty much ignore Everton's terrific achievement of, against the odds, finishing 4th (above Liverpool- who they show twice as much of). We all love a good underdog story and seeing different teams' achievements rather than way too much showing of the title race, which wasn't even very interesting anyway that season. There's loads of showing of Chelsea and very little of Everton, including their win against Newcastle which sealed Champions League qualification. Not only was it a dramatic race for 4th, but it was a dramatic race for 4th between two bitter rivals from the same city. It's like an ongoing derby throughout the season, Everton and Liverpool tussling it out for 4th... and Sky ignore it on PL Years.

It's good to watch if you're a Chelsea or West Brom fan but otherwise it's pretty poor. What sums it up is them showing 3 of Tottenham's goals and yet only 2 of ours from the 5-4 derby win at White Hart Lane.

Saturday, 29 June 2013



RED is a comedy thriller starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and Karl Urban. The storyline is quite unclear and whilst there is entertaining action and mildly humorous quips in the film, it is more evidence for why comedy thrillers are a dangerous genre to use.

They often work: Hot Fuzz, the Johnny English films and Killers being good examples. But it's a risky combination at times because rather than the two concepts gelling together nicely, they can also conflict. It's as if the writers don't really know whether they're focusing on making it funny or thrilling. It can additionally get a bit 'cringe worthy' because sometimes the unrealistic nature of a comedic moment in the middle of an explosive, action-packed moment can be a little off-putting and implausible.

It has it's plus points though- Bruce Willis is, as usual, a good leading character and Karl Urban plays his role very well and adds a bit of necessary seriousness and rivalry that is so desperately needed in a thriller. The characters are generally played well and it's got some good action sequences in there. However one hiccup in that department is how unrealistically casual Brucey is when he's killing bad guys- it's way too easy for him. And the baddies are often ridiculously dumb and bad at what they do. That's just not realistic. There is some light comedy in there but it's not funny enough- I never laughed out loud once during the film. There are some mildly amusing moments that make you smile but I think there just aren't enough naturally funny people in the movie.

It was quite similar to Cop Out- another comedy thriller Bruce Willis is in and it's a similar standard. OK to decent but not the sort of film I'd watch again. There's some good aspects but negative aspects as well. A bad sign was I was always thinking "I wonder how long's left".

However I did enjoy a lot of the action scenes, especially the ones involving Bruce Willis and Karl Urban- their fight scene is very good and there's generally plenty of gun fights, car action and violence in the film, which makes it more entertaining. It was reasonably enjoyable but just with a few faults.


Saturday, 1 June 2013

Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher

Don't you just love those bone chilling moments in films? Dramatic, eerie music is being played, the volume of it rising gradually for more dramatic effect and the character is revealing some great conspiratorial theory of his and flashing images are being shown of an exciting incident. It doesn't half get you hooked and intrigued. The suspense is mounting and you can't wait for the climax of it.

That's what Jack Reacher provides. It is definitely thrilling and intriguing. There's nothing I like more than a mystery, or a conspiracy. It's exciting and very suspenseful. Jack Reacher also combines this with a load of action, a bit of comedy and charismatic characters. Rosamund Pike is one of my favourite actresses, she's very good in this movie and Tom Cruise is obviously very successful for a reason- he's a great, charismatic character who plays lead action roles superbly.

The combination of action with suspense and mystery in this film is the main reason it' so good. The ending is great. That's one of the most important parts of a film- even if the rest of the film's awesome but the ending's terrible it disappoints so much, but this movie's ending doesn't disappoint at all, it's got some great action and some unorthodox stunts. Guns, a fist fight, a dramatic shooting of the bad guy, car stunts... what more do you want?

It's an 8 out of 10. If there's a weakness with it, it's that it's probably a bit too long. I don't like films to be more than an hour and 50 minutes generally. After that I'm ready to get up and do something else (even if the film's awesome). And this could be trimmed down a bit so it's less than the 2 hours that it is. But that's being a bit picky, overall it's great.

Watch it, it's a great Saturday night movie. Good old action with charisma and style.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Strike Back Series 1

Strike Back Series 1
This is a programme that has currently aired three series and is about to show a fourth. However I've just re-watched the first series so will portray my views on it in this review. I remember loving this when it was on TV back in 2010 but since watching the next two series I actually found this only half as enjoyable at times.
The second series was the best and having seen the cast and the programme overall develop and improve over the last couple of series' the first series doesn't seem as good. It's packed with action and drama but without the same effect as the next two series. Firstly, it doesn't have as many episodes (6) whereas series 2 and 3 have 10. Secondly, some of the banter in the show is a little cheesy. The banter later on when Richard Armitage (who is very good as the main character) leaves the show and is replaced by Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton, is much better.
The episodes are split into two-parters, each episode lasting 90 minutes. And in the third episode the main character besides Armitage is just awful. He's mentally unstable, which can work if it's done right but isn't done so here, annoying rather than entertaining and not heroic, likeable or relatable enough to be a good 'sidekick' in the episode. He is partially villainous but not in a good way, he hasn't got the charisma to pull off being a good villain or the necessary showing of pure evil. Overall that episode is a bit corny with a couple of real dooshbag characters in it. The other two episodes are great but overall the series isn't as good as the one which follows it.
The positives of series 1 are that it is certainly action-packed, it has a good back story which keeps the intrigue going and Richard Armitage is a very good leading character. He carries off the role as 'super-soldier' very well; big, strong, tough killing machine but with compassion and the resourcefulness that is such a key feature of the action hero. The action is explosive, constant and thrilling and the back-story is effective in keeping the story and the intrigue going, rather than it just being individual stories with little depth running through the series.
However the weaknesses are the affore-mentioned 'sidekick' in the third episode and the head of the team, 'Collison' who is an OK character, but is 'OK' good enough? He again lacks charisma and I don't think they utilize the back story around him enough. (Spoiler alert) Armitage's character takes the blame and the severe punishment for the deaths of three of their team in the first episode when in actual fact Collison killed them and has now, 8 years later, gone on to be head of the team while Armitage has been dishonourably discharged and disgraced. They could utilize this more by making him more of a bastard (to put it bluntly). He does do the odd bastardy thing but he also does the odd good thing and it's like they're undecided as to how they're portraying him. A real dick of a boss would add more emotion in the audience than a boss whose half dick, half goodie.
In conclusion, the series is a good series certainly worth watching so if you get the chance to, I'd advise you take it. The action is so constant and thrilling that it will keep you entertained, at least if you are a liker of things such as Die Hard, James Bond and 24.
I'd rate it at 7.5 out of 10.
 I'm going to watch series 2 shortly, so will review that in the coming weeks. And as a little heads up, even though Armitage is a very good main character, the main characters (Sullivan Stapleton and PhilipWinchester) are even better in series 2.