Friday, 27 February 2009



Danny Boyle is all over the news right now. He recently made a fairly low-budget film about the Indian version of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?' set around shanty towns and gangsters. It was called 'Slumdog Millionaire', and just a few days ago, did very well.

Boyle is also well-known for directing 'Trainspotting', but a film that seems to have been roundly forgotten about, despite receiving very good ratings, was 'Sunshine'.

Set 50 years in the future, the Sun is dying, and a group of astronauts and scientists are taking a specially designed bomb to reignite it, after the first team failed in mysterious circumstances, 7 years previously. All is going well until a slight miscalculation puts the whole mission in jeopardy, and some very important decisions have to be made...

The film is good in that it shows a realistic view of a crew in trouble. There are a few heroics, but a lot of crew members just lose it, go insane, become suicidal, and want to protect their own hides instead of focusing on the greater good.

Unfortunatly, in my eyes at least, the good is far outweighed by the bad, strange, and the downright confusing. Shots are over-edited, and cut together like a music video from the late 80s, switching to a diagonal shot, an epiliptic fit-inducing jumble of frames referring to flashbacks, flashforwards, and apparantly images that didn't appear in the film at all.

I am not a genius, but I like to think I am fairly intelligent, and have a good attention to detail, but I could not follow this film. I wish I could tell you more about the later part of the film, but I can't! I watched it twice and still know nothing of what happened past an hour in!


Thursday, 26 February 2009

Futurama - Into The Wild Green Yonder

In 1999, Matt Groening, creator of 'The Simpsons', had a new show start on the Fox network in America, that series was 'Futurama'. It ran for 72 episodes, and despite receiving huge critical success and a huge fanbase, it was cancelled in August 2003.
In 2007, after four years of fans begging for a reunion, the team got back together in for a straight-to-dvd feature film, 'Bender's Big Score. This was followed by three more, 'The Beast With A Billion Backs', 'Bender's Game', and the film I am reviewing today, 'Into The Wild Green Yonder'

As much as I love the original series, I have to admit, the films have been a let-down. The writers seem to have struggled dragging a 25 minute episode out to an hour and a half film. The viewer can also tell that as it is a film, Groening's team have thought that the stories must be more epic than the episodes where nothing exciting had to happen to be entertaining. Luckily, for this film, they seem to have resolved that.

The script obviously had a lot more work done on it than the three before combined, as this film really does have an epic story, in which the entire universe must be saved by Fry (Billy West), and finally wins the heart of Leela (Katey Segal), with plenty of subplots and genuinely funny jokes for a change.

Don't get me wrong, in my eyes, nothing is going to surpass the original television series, but this final film definitely comes close, and before anyone asks, yes, it does leave the story open for a new season!


Wednesday, 25 February 2009



While reviewing 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' yesterday, I was trying to think of today's equivelant of the aforementioned 'intelligently stupid comedy' of the 1980s.
I suppose the closest thing we have now are the Judd Apatow comedy films. These include 'Knocked Up', 'Superbad', '40 Year Old Virgin' and, of course 'Anchorman'.

The story is almost unimportant, but here is a brief outline. Set in the 70s, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is the anchorman of an all-male news team in San Diego, and how they deal with the introduction of a female co-anchor.

The important part of the film is the comedy. There are a lot of in-jokes that often pop up in other Apatow films, references to obscure songs, childish comments made during arguments, and many closely choreographed moments injected in amongst what would seem to be normal reality.

I like to think I am fairly intelligent, and enjoy mental stimulation from films, but I love a stupid film too, as long as it is well thought out. A lot of planning, and scripting, went into making this film seem silly and improvised. I also think what really comes through is how much fun the entire cast and crew had working together to bring this film to life.


Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Ferris Bueller's Day Off


I have reviewed some terrible films, some intelligent films, and some very heavy-going films. Now I have a chance to review a type of film that was very popular in the 1980s - the intelligently stupid comedy. Possibly the greatest of which is 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'.

The film inspired so many teenagers, perhaps not in a very productive way, but it spoke to people.

In the film, we see Matt Broderick playing Ferris, a typical school-hating teenager with ideas somewhat above his station. He decides that on as beautiful a day as the one in the film, school is the last place one should be. Convincing his best friend to help him, and getting his girlfriend out of school by telling the principal that his girlfriend's grandmother has died, they go on an long as they are home by 6pm.

The genius of this film is that it doesn't try to be genius. It doesn't try to have some deep meaning like every films seems to have to have, it just shows us exactly what we have always wanted.

As a species, we hate work, and love reasons not to go, and Ferris takes it further than we ever have done. He has the most amazing day one could imagine.
In a day, Ferris -

+ Goes for a very expensive meal, and manages to get it for free.

+ Goes to a baseball game and catches the winning ball.

+ Sings and dances on a parade float, causing the entire city to break into dance.

+ Drives a very rare Ferrari around all day, but unfortunately launches it out of a window, falling around 100ft to the ground.

He is allowed to live a life that others can only dream about, and because it is impossible to hate him, the audience immediately connects with him. We see ourselves having the nerves to do what he does, and it makes us happy.

Ferris is inside all of us, and we need to let him out.


Monday, 23 February 2009

Oscars R Us

Well, the Oscars have just finished, and what can I say? I am ecstatic. Slumdog Millionaire won 8 awards, and deserved every single one.

I have to admit, and hope I do not get in trouble for this, I watched a live stream of it on the internet, due to not having a tv, and what really upset me was that during the night, messages of racial hatred appeared all over the message board, culminating in someone referring to it as 'Scumdog Millionpaki' (very witty, you idiots), causing the entire messageboard to be closed.

The same thing happened when Sean Penn won best actor for playing gay politician Harvey Milk. The words 'homo' and 'faggot' were being thrown around as if they were completely acceptable.

It upsets me that these films are made, costing millions of pounds, to show people that we are all equal, and some people just will never get the message.
I will not condone it, but I can partially understand if it came from an older person, as in their youth, being gay was seen as an illness, and people of different ethnicities all had nicknames, but it's the 21st Century now, surely our generation should not have these problems any more.

Right now, I am being physically threatened by a classmate because I pointed out his flaws in the argument that a woman's role in a relationship is to keep the man happy. Are these ridiculous views so deeply ingrained in people's minds that they are willing to physically attack me in an attempt to prove it? I don't suppose he would ever see the irony in that him thinking that about women has led to most of the girls in my university disliking him, while I get on with women very well, and am approaching my second anniversary with my girlfriend.

I would love to know if an opinion has ever been beaten into anyone, but I doubt it. Isn't it a huge coincidence that people with more liberal, balanced opinions tend not to be violent closed-minded idiots?