Sequels, Remakes and Sandler; A Limey Re-View of Cinema in 2011

30 12 2011

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2011 was the year of the Rabbit although the general theme of the year was anything but fluffy.

2011 was the year when protests swept the globe, from the long-expected uprisings during the Arab Spring to the wholesale occupation of public spaces by a motley assortment of people who were fed up of being the 99 percent.

This post is not going to focus on those grievances. Mainly because I have already commented on them but the real reason is that they don’t fit in with my Rabbit motif that I want to apply to the wonderful world of cinema.

We all know that the humble rabbit has a fondness for continual and indiscriminate mating. Bunnies like to… bunnies, they are at it all year and produce offspring on a regular basis. Not all of these will be well received, some will last for a very short time but there will be enough of them that the species will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.

Movies are like that. It doesn’t matter what is going on in the world or whether anyone is watching, but films are churned out on a regular basis and some of them even make it into movie theaters. Read the rest of this entry »


Will This Be The Year of Colin? Only Oscar Knows.

27 02 2011

Nominated For Nothing. More than it Deserved.

A year goes by surprisingly fast. Especially a year in cinema.

It only seems like last week that I was pontificating about the whole Avatar vs Hurt Locker contest, that 3D was a new and exciting kid on the block and that I was still looking forward to the remake of Clash of the Titans. But here we are, at the end of February already and the 2011 Oscar winners are about to be announced.

I can hardly wait, my palms are sweaty with feverish excitement and I shall be glued to another televised evening of polite applause as yet another group of nominees go home with nothing but a branded goody bag.

Upon reflection, 2010 wasn’t a bad year for movies.

Oscar nominations notwithstanding, there were some distinct highlights presented on celluloid or on DVD (due to failure to watch a movie at the cinema in the 3.5 weeks that it seemed to be showing). Read the rest of this entry »

Blink and You Missed It : Farewell to the Year of Bieber

1 01 2011

Don't look now but Snooki is approaching!

On the television, the clock is counting down to 2011. The end of another year and the end of another decade.

Dick Clark, a man who has lived through many of these events, is precisely one second behind the countdown that is on the screen behind him whilst Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy are barely able to contain their excitement.

Times Square gets ready to party; I get ready to go to bed.

But as 2011 arrives in a televisual display of Nivea-sponsored hats and fleeting glimpses of New Year tongue action, one thought is prevalent in my head.

Where did 2010 go? I still haven’t uploaded my pictures from last year into Facebook! Read the rest of this entry »

Nine years on……the memory remains.

11 09 2010

What I remember most is the realization that there wasn’t a plane in the sky, the tell-tale trails that showed the path of an aircraft were conspicuous by their absence.

Above London, all you could see were clouds. Little fluffy clouds.

The Camden pub that I was in on that day was crowded but silent, all eyes trained on the television set in the corner. On the screen an image of a burning building, smoke pouring from its upper floors and colouring the morning sky with a dark, noxious cloud. We had been watching this screen for some time, we gasped as we saw people falling from the windows, we gazed in shock as a plane banked into the building and rammed it at speed.

We stood helplessly waiting for the next act.

It comes suddenly, the top of the tower moves and then folds in on itself, it collapses in a straight line and sends those at the bottom running for cover. The smoke doesn’t clear immediately but when it does there is very little left, just a gap in the urban sprawl that is New York City. Of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre, there is nothing save twisted metal.

Silence in the room is replaced by shocked awe, it was an amazing special effect, and one that if was played out in a Bruce Willis film would draw applause (possibly). This was no CGI creation, this was the aftermath of a terrorist attack on the United States, 3000 people have died and it was beamed live around the world.

September 11th, 2001, was a pivotal moment in history. Read the rest of this entry »

Note to Hollywood : Please Stop.

7 06 2010

To say that “blockbuster season” has been slightly disappointing is an understatement.

Even IronMan 2 has failed to get me excited, despite having a kick-ass soundtrack. And I haven’t got around to actually watching that piece of celluloid joy.

So when I decided to write a post for on movie adaptations of video-games, the realization that I would have to watch Prince of Persia hit me like a badly aimed roundhouse kick. Finding a space in my day, I headed for the Loews Cinema on Boston Common and armed with a huge portion of Nachos and requisite soft drink, I settled into my seat.

As the previews of future attractions came to an end, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. With the exception of Tron: Legacy (being released in December 2010), the cinematic future looked bleak. As the half-empty darkened cinema rustled snacks in anticipation, the latest video-game adaptation began to play.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a multi-million dollar movie directed by Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and backed by Jerry Bruckheimer, the man who adapted a cheesy ride at Disneyworld into a cinematic franchise that has grossed $2.7 billion worldwide. It has a good cast, exciting stunts, a requisite amount of CGI and is expected to be the first in a series of action adventures starring the bloke from Brokeback Mountain.

Spoiler Alert: the best thing about this movie is the dodgy Persian entrepreneur running illegal ostrich races.

As a movie, it is an adequate way to spend 2 hours if you have nothing more pressing in your life. As an adaptation of a successful video-game, Prince of Persia is another wasted opportunity to successfully merge the genres. It is not overly bad; it’s just not very good.

As a gamer and a film fan, it seems that Hollywood is determined to ensure that my trips to the cinema are destined to be bitter disappointments. It is no coincidence that many of the worst movies of all time are video-game adaptations. Read the rest of this entry »

Spoiler Alert : Best Picture Oscar is a Two-Horse Race

7 03 2010

Tonight the Awards Season continues with the 82nd Academy Awards being beamed live from the City of Angels.

LA will be filled with the great, good and talented of the film industry. Parties will be thrown all over town, sparking a desperate scramble for the paparazzi to find out who will be where and in what sort of state. The successful parties will be exclusive affairs for those who have achieved something in their business, others may see a steady stream of wannabes and those whose desperation for acceptance far outshines any meaningful contribution to cinematic art.

Picture courtesy of the BBC

This post is not going to dwell on where Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton will be spending the evening.

The big talk in Lala Land is which movie is going to walk away with the Best Picture Oscar. Will it be Avatar, the biggest grossing movie of all time, effects laden and a “masterpiece” eight years in the making? Or will The Hurt Locker, a gritty portrayal of bomb disposal in Iraq be the ultimate victor?

Will it be a night to remember for James Cameron or will Kathryn Bigelow become the first woman to take home the Oscar for Best Picture and possibly Directing? Of course the fact that Jim and Kathy used to be married is a minor diversion to the sideshow that follows the circus of Oscar night. 

Both Avatar and The Hurt Locker have 9 nominations, it is not inconceivable that one could walk with the majority of peer acceptance. Read the rest of this entry »