Category Archives: Film


Quote of the Day: A British film for British Brexiteers

Passport to Pimlico isn’t just a hilarious movie. It’s the greatest mockery of independence ever made on film. It’s the perfect allegory of how enticing and yet deceitful rushed “sovereignty” can be. The lesson learnt is that a chop-chop separation is both unfeasible and undesirable. Particularly because there was never a requirement for breakaway, and the whole process was short-sighted, driven by whimsical personal ambitions and a delusional notion of self-sufficiency. Just like Brexit.

Victor Fraga arguing that Passport to Pimlico is the ultimate anti-Brexit movie.

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Tsunambee: It has zombies

The Guardian has been to Cannes and compiled a collection of “awful-sounding movies that may not actually exist, with awful-looking posters”. I have to admit, though, that Tsunambee, the first film om the list looks like fun.

After atmospheric catastrophes send Los Angeles into chaos, three groups of survivors who escaped the city must put aside their differences to face a series of apocalyptic events. As they learn to work together they are faced with an even greater nightmare, giant gravity swells that contain thousands of giant killer bees, intent on ushering in the end of the world.

And if the trailer is to be believed, the film not only has giant killer bees, but a zombie apocalypse as well.

What more could anyone want?

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Now we have a Star Wars film that is not part of the Star Wars saga. Rogue One is a self-contained story that tells of the events leading up to the ebents of the first Star Wars film. This is the story of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) who steal the plans to the Death Star that eventually end up in the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Along for the ride are a reprogrammed Imperial droid (Alan Tudyk) with a nice line of snark (and who also gets the best line in the film) along with Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) as a Force wielding monk (not a Jedi) who proved to be a real favourite for all three of the boys. Our core crew is rounded out with Chirrut’s companion, Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) and pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed).

It’s a testament to the film that, ny it’s end, I was rooting for each and every one of these characters.

The film does sag a little bit in the middle, and suffers from a bit of a CGI induced uncanny valley moment (it’s done well, but you’ll know it when you see it) but the battle that it all builds up to more than makes up for this and provides some genuine edge of the seat moments.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is not the best science fiction film ever made, and it’s not the best of the Star Wars films. But it’s a damn good film and one that is well worth watching.

As a final note, having just rewatched the trailer, it needs to be noted that the special effects and set design are both superb. Not only do they fit, very effectively, with the aesthetic of the original film but they also work to emphasise the sheer scale of the Empire.

This may not be an epic story, but it does a great job of underlining the epic nature of the universe it inhabits.

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Jackie Chan to receive an Honorary Oscar

Jackie Chan in The Forbidden Kingdom

Jackie Chan in The Forbidden Kingdom

The BBC Reports that Jackie Chan is to be given an honorary Academy Award for his extraordinary achievements in film.

This Governors Awards step away from the endless marketing that surrounds the main Oscar ceremony and, instead, allow the board of governors to simply acknowledge the people whose contributions to the film industry deserve recognition. And Chan’s contributions have been exceptional.

No-one else comes close to his unique blend of action-comedy which blends genuinely death-defying stunts with raucously funny – all in the same scene. But rather than going full-on fanboy, I thought I’d ask the boys which is their favourite Jackie Chan film.

And the choices, in no particular order, are:

The Spy Next Door in which three kids discover that their mum’s boyfriend is a lot more exciting that any of them had imagined.

The Forbidden Kingdom in which an American teenager is thrown through time and space to find himself in Feudal China. Here, he meets both Jackie Chan and Jet Li, who help him return the staff of the Monkey King to its rightful owner while teaching him the discipline of Kung Fu along the way.

Shanghai Knights, the sequel to Shanghai Noon, in which Sheriff Chon Wang (played by Jackie Chan – and this film has a lot of fun with names) and his unreliable sidekick (Owen Wilson) travel from the Wild West to Victorian London to avenge a murder, uncover a dastardly plot and save the Queen.

Obviously, being aged between six and nine, none of the boys has seen anything near the full range of Chan’s output (yet) but the many DVDs we do have have all been watched many, many times.

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Happy 30 Year Nostalgia Day

Back to the Future 2 I couldn’t let today go past without a mention as October 21st 2015 is the date in which Marty McFly arrives in Back to the Future 2. Inevitably, there is a website and a Facebook page to celebrate this fact.

Coincidentally, we watched Back to the Future 2 on Sunday and I have to say that the main thing going for the film is nostalgia. It’s not a bad film – by any stretch of the imagination – but it really hasn’t held up as successfully as… Well, the first Back to the Future film. Back to the Future 2 does feel very much like a rerun of the first film but in the future!

It’s not a bad film but I doubt that anyone would be nerding over today’s date if it wasn’t for the fact that Back to the Future was so much better.

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Iron Sky: The Coming Race I really enjoyed Iron Sky. The film had some mixed reviews but the people behind it knew their audience and, for their audience, they delivered spectacularly. And now there’s a sequel on the way.

Iron Sky the Coming Race takes place 20 years after and takes our heroes from the first film into the Hollow Earth.

Twenty years after the events of Iron Sky, the former Nazi Moonbase has become the last refuge of mankind. Earth was devastated by a nuclear war, but buried deep under the wasteland lies a power that could save the last of humanity – or destroy it once and for all. The truth behind the creation of mankind will be revealed when an old enemy leads our heroes on an adventure into the Hollow Earth. To save humanity they must fight the Vril, an ancient shapeshifting reptilian race and their army of dinosaurs.

As with Iron Sky, The Coming Race will be inspired by pulp science fiction of the early 20th Century. They are promising crazy concepts and an incredible visual world of dinosaurs and aliens but, this time, with a focus more on adventure and discovery.

Imagine Iron Sky meeting Indiana Jones on a safari in Jurassic Park.

I’m sold. Here’s a trailer.

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Sunday morning movie: Renegade!

Renegade has lost everything… all he has left is his Renegade underwear. Embarking on a quest to claim back what is rightfully his, he battles through dangerous lands to win back his wife from the evil Dr. Monocle.

Inspired by He-man, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman, 80′s Action figures and the childish desire to run around in your underwear pretending to be a superhero…welcome to the universe of Renegade. The story of a man who loses everything – his wife… erm, his clothes! Michael Cavanaugh & Kevin Van Witt’s short blends B-movie stereotypes, American Pulp Comic imagery and a bucket load of influences into a 4-minute narrative of riotous action.

From Short of the Week via io9.

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Exploitation films: An observation

I watched Piranha again this evening. In this film is a scene in which our heroes find themselves racing to reach a waterside summer camp before the razor toothed horror arrives. It’s a very tense sequence and much of the tension derives from the fact that this is an exploitation film.

Had this been a mainstream film, I would have been watching safe in the knowledge that children and animals will never find themselves in real peril and, therefore, that the heroes would arrive in the nick of time. Piranha, however, is an exploitation film – produced by Roger Corman to cash in on the success of Jaws. And because it’s an exploitation film, all bets are off.

You don’t know whether or not the heroes are going to arrive in time. And it’s this that makes that particular sequence particularly nail-biting.

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Arachnophobia I remember seeing Arachnophobia way back in the 1990s. In the cinema. And I really enjoyed it. What’s not to enjoy when killer spiders find their way to small-town America and start doing exactly what you expect killer spiders to do.

The film is a lot of fun for a spider invasion flick, due in no small part to the presence of John Goodman as the friendly neighbourhood pest exterminator.

I am grateful, therefore, to Alex Wild of Myrmecos for noting that the entire film can now be found on YouTube.

Here’s the trailer

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