Posted by Ali Gray
at 22:20 on 31 Aug 2014
Have you ever had your enjoyment of a film completely derailed by a small, insignificant part of that movie? A niggle that becomes a bother than becomes all you can think about? I had that with possession thriller Deliver Us From Evil, a competent, forgettable horror flick from the guy who made Sinister. It's a fairly enjoyable movie, if a little flat and unambitious, but in terms of possession movies starring C-list actors with bad scripts, it's par for the course. Except for one thing. A single sound effect. Which ruins the entire movie.
If you are a hipster, then you are welcome here. This website is a broad church and no one is turned away. But know this: I do not understand you. Be you Williamsburg or Shoreditch, you are an alien to me, as are all your kind. Aren't your trousers uncomfortable? Aren't jam jars massively difficult to drink out of? Do you have to eat loads of jam just to get the jars? And yet you are a significant enough cultural phenomenon that you bear documentation through film and television, which is more than you can say for me.
On a rainy August night, I was subjected to an odd and unusual experiment. In the name of science, I was strapped to a heart monitor and readings were taken of my body's response to As Above, So Below to determine how many calories I would burn watching a horror film. Unaware that I'm a complete badass and scared of nothing, the foolish scientists were in for a shock – it was clear to me that I would completely skew their results with my super-human powers (I recently ran 2k on a treadmill without stopping). However when the film finished, the results disturbed us both...
The movies' use of sports as a metaphor for personal growth far outstrips the idea's efficacy in real life. Your team's against-the-odds victory in the Rumbelows Cup is unlikely to inspire a realisation that you have your priorities all wrong and lead to a marriage proposal to your long-suffering girlfriend.
But there's something in it. No, watching the snooker doesn't really mimic the ups and downs of real life, but there's a real euphoria and a despondency that sports can inspire, which can convince you momentarily that your life is amazing or terrible. Translate that to the big screen, framed around a guy who's learning to be a bit less self-centred or to pull himself out of a humdrum existence, and you've got yourself the template for a sports movie.
Unless you toss a few sharks into the mix, or have Bill Paxton chasing them down, it’s tough to get people riled up about a tornado. No, what people want these days are several of the windy buggers, scary-as-hell firenados, entire towns flattened, confused shaky cams, people scrambling for phone signal and a pair of drunken thrill-seeking hillbillies with a GoPro looking for YouTube hits.
The world of rom-coms is a fickle one; for every When Harry Met Sally there's The Other Half (starring Danny Dyer, it's on Netflix) or something-or-other starring Isla Fisher tripping over a lot. Whilst it's not going to break new romantic ground, the likeable leads and overwhelming sweetness of What If won me over. God I hate myself sometimes.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 07:00 on 20 Aug 2014
Nine years after the pages turned on Robert Rodriguez's first Sin City
movie, and with at least three major parts recast, you can't help but think this Dame To Kill For is sashaying into town long after everyone has lost interest. Showing no signs of added maturity - if anything it's even more juvenile - this slick-yet-soulless sequel features the required quota of girls, guns and garrotting, but it's unlikely to win over those who were unimpressed by the same stiff sideshow almost a decade ago.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 09:00 on 14 Aug 2014
In an increasingly formulaic industry, it's rarer now than ever to experience that most simple of pleasures: a movie you can't predict. Lucy is a bizarre mish-mash of ideas - Besson himself says the first third is Leon: The Professional, the middle section is Inception and the final act is 2001: A Space Odyssey - and it gels about as well as you'd expect. It's frustrating in its execution and bafflingly vague where it matters. But, but
: just try to second guess it. Even if it falls short in almost every department, Lucy is a fascinating anti-blockbuster that delights in its deficiencies - even the anti-climactic ending is a thrill, just because it's different.
Talk about kicking a girl whilst she's down. Just moments after staring longingly at a younger version herself on the poster for The Princess Bride in the opening minutes of The Congress, Robin Wright is scolded by her agent (Harvey Keitel) for continually making lousy choices in her career as well as life, then by a studio head for having the audacity to get old. Clearly The Congress isn't afraid to make a difficult point, but its problem is that it wants to make so many of them.
In The Expendables 3, grizzled veteran Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) faces an existential crisis after miraculously cheating death and battling the ravages of age, and is ultimately forced to put his demons to rest to defeat a former ally who has gone rogue. Oh, and literally blow the shit up out of everything he passes.