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The 5 Year Engagement

June 27th, 2012 by alandunn | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star as a couple madly in love,
but whose pending nuptials are increasingly pushed back as life and careers set
out to test their union.

The 5 Year Engagement is not your average rom com, it’s darker
and grittier in places than it should be, and though this may add depth, it
also skims off some of the charm and fun. It still has a healthy sprinkling of
gross out humour and silliness, but its troubling middle section really
challenges us in rooting for a happy outcome. I enjoyed this film in portions,
though if I had a big pair of magic scissors I would have trimmed large
sections. There’s a good 90 minute rom com with depth in there, it just gets a
little murky in the 2 hour running time.

There are moments that had me in stitches though, Emily
Blunt’s cookie monster impression being one of them. And chances are I will
watch Jason Segel in anything because I like him in How I Met Your Mother and I
find his boyish man child persona endearing. The last twenty minutes really
make this film a watcher, but be warned it does get a little f*cked up in

The Raid

June 27th, 2012 by alandunn | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

A swat team take on a tower block of criminals in this
testosterone drenched, fist blurring wiz of an action film.

The Raid doesn’t particularly need any great storyline, in
fact it’s narrative seems to be the charcoal rubbing of many an eighties action
flick; the good cop sets out unawares of the dangers that follow, leaving his
pregnant wife at home only to discover his brothers mixed up in all this crime.
Blah blah blah, just punch someone in the face already. What I mean to say is,
the plot is simplistic. Goodies trapped inside tower block, trying to kill
baddies occupying tower block. There, that’s all that needs saying.

The action and violence comes so thick and fast in The Raid
it’s like being happy slapped twenty times over whilst someone repeatedly kicks
you in the groin. It’s difficult to comprehend how epic the fight scenes
actually are. Easily a guilty pleasure of men all over the world who whilst
watching and wincing at a lot of the action, will secretly be pretending
they’re 8 years old again and capable of such manoeuvres. I saw this on a
Friday afternoon in a cinema hall packed full of men. I’m pretty sure if some
had suggested a Fight Club down in the car park even I would have been up for
it (the last fit of violence I had was at my sky plus box for missing the
beginning of Americas Next Top Model, so you can imagine the skills I’d
bringing to that smackdown).

If you like impressive martial arts and world cinema this
will be for you. A brilliant, brutal and breath taking fury of fists.

  Or alternatively if you have a penis you will
most likely enjoy this as well.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

June 27th, 2012 by alandunn | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

A title like that is begging to have the piss taken out of
it, and the manner in which sentimentality is laid on so thick it kind of
deserves it too.

The story goes as such; Tom Hanks is the best dad in the
world to suspiciously aspergersy Oskar (the condition is only touched upon briefly,
but the signs are as blatant as a fist in the face) setting his racing logical
mind farcical adventures which encourage Oskar to interact with others and face
the things he fears. However, Hanks perishes on 9/11 and a saddened Oskar finds
a mysterious key in his father’s possession which leads him on an impossible
exploration to find what it opens, and ultimately gain closure over this tragic

Based on its content it’s surprising to see that this film
got Oscar nominated, but if you delved deeper it’s easier to see why. Firstly
it’s got Tom Hanks in it and it’s entirely about a child coping with 9/11, the
most devastating event of recent times. Secondly it’s got the director of Billy
Elliot, the writer of Forrest Gump and ace producer Scott Rudin. There are
enough heavy weights there to get it considered.

Yet with all its heavy themes, this film rarely ever
connects on an emotional level. Hank’s passing isn’t particularly heart
wrenching, and considering in the first 20 minutes you’d wish he was your dad, his death should have inspired
Up level of tears. But it doesn’t because
all of this feels superficial and a little bit designed to tug the heart
strings. And in spite of Oskar’s suggested condition, it’s hard to sympathise
with his pain or plight because he’s so annoyingly abrasive. The maddening thing
is that there are the bones of a brilliant and touching story in there, but it’s
served up in such a contrite, over sentimental, Oscar baiting manner that it
feels cold and manipulative.

Moonrise Kingdom

June 27th, 2012 by alandunn | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Wes Anderson films are not really my thing; I tried watching
Rushmore but swiftly gave up. I just can’t take looking at Jason Swarchtzman
for any length of time. For me he’s the medusa of the indie cinema circuit; one
look at him and I am bored to stone. 

However after a particularly bland day at work bored the
hole off me, I decided that instead of seeing easy fare Men in Black 3 I would
go off menu and have a slice of the quirky Moonrise Kingdom. And I’m glad I did
because I ended up quite enjoying it.

The story is nothing spectacular; set in 1962, young wayward
scout Sam runs off from his battalion to meet up with the love of his life, a
quirky church girl and the pair embark on living a life of freedom in the
wilderness. However it’s not long before local sheriff Bruce Willis is on the
case, and teams up with the girl’s father (Bill Murray) and scout leader (a
brilliantly gimpy Ed Norton) to go hunting for the lovelorn pair.

It’s quirky, it’s odd, it’s darkly comic and actually quite
sweet, in an indie alternative sort of way. Not a film I would have went out my
way to see, but happened to really lift my mood on a glum day.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

June 27th, 2012 by alandunn | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Niceness stops this
alright rom com from floundering

Beyond it’s a yawn of a title, what transpires is a
perfectly pleasant romantic drama, where Ewan McGregor charms in his thick
Scottish brogue as a small time scientist recruited by Emily Blunt  whose bank represents a wealthy sheik who
wants to, well, bring salmon fishing to the dry arid desserts of the Yemen.

A film about the fineries of fishing might not be up
everyone’s stream (apologies) but the likeability of its leads stop it from
flopping like a fish(sorry). McGregor’s stiff shirted scientist initially
detests the project, but the infectious attitude of the sheik, and the
increasing appeal of spending time with the lovely Emily Blunt soon makes the
idea of fish in the dessert not seem wholly out of plaice (last one I promise).
It’s mildly feel good and gently funny.

Hardly the catch of the day, but if it’s on telly one idle
evening it’s worth tuna-ing for (even I winced at that one).

The Cabin in the Woods

June 27th, 2012 by alandunn | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

A cast of good looking teens head down to a remote wood
cabin for the weekend for what appears to be a formulaic slasher film. However,
larger factors seemed to be at pay in this fun remix of the genre.

There’s no denying that from the offset something seems very
odd about Cabin in the Woods that suggests that this is no ordinary Friday 13
or Halloween affair. Instead what transpires is a fairly clever and refreshing
sci fi/horror mash up that I really enjoyed. It’s difficult to describe what
goes on without spoiling the fun, but there are plenty of laughs and head
scratching moments in this pleasing joyride.

Avengers Assemble

June 27th, 2012 by alandunn | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

A giddy geeks wet dream as the box office favourites  Marvel heroes tag team up to lay the smack
down on an extraterrestrial invasion.

I had the slight worry of ‘too many cooks’ would make this
an overly excessive flop that would upset fanboys everywhere, but perhaps due
to the writing and directing of Buffy Vampire Slayer auteur Joss Wheddon, this
film actually fizzes with fun and thunders with action.

Ok, so Captain America and Thor perhaps don’t rise to the
forefront, but Iron Man has never been more palatable (to the point of
enjoyable) and The Hulk is hugely entertaining. Scarlet Jo does seem to have
been chucked in to make this less of a sausage fest, or ticks the box on some
equal opportunities quota. Either way she’s there and contributing as best she
can. The balance seems just right between gags and action, emotion and
melodrama, tension and resolve.

The groundwork is laid measuredly and never seems to drag or
delay the action, and the anticipation of the final battle scene only makes
this sequence all the more epic and hugely entertaining.

It’s popcorn blockbusting at its finest.


June 27th, 2012 by alandunn | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Pro – meaty -less

Scientist Noomi Rapace leads an intergalactic expedition
across the stars in what she believes is a mission to find mankind’s maker.
However her optimism and faith runs cold when they discover the merry Hell that
awaits them.

Prometheus by all accounts should have been a home run; it’s
been so hyped for weeks and the adverts showed all the signs of it being an awe
inspiring blockbuster epic with balls and brains. And yet with such promise the
end product is so utterly flawed that to describe it as disappointing scarcely
justifies how big a misfire this film is.

I am by no means a huge geeky fan of the Aliens universe. I
have only seen the original once and only saw Aliens recently on television. It
by passed me as a kid. So in some regards I came to Prometheus with fresh eyes,
I had no intentions of holding up against what’s gone before as so many a sci
fi fan may have done.

My biggest issue with the film is with the pace; it seemed relentless
to drive forward the narrative at the expense of suspense, tension or character
development. Events just seem to happen and reactions seem far too subdued,
then it’s swiftly onto the next piece of action. There is no investment in any
of the crew, so when they start dropping like flies it’s difficult to really
care. Charlize Theron could have really shined had she really been given the
screen time to be a proper villainous bitch, whereas Rapace is merely Sigourney
Weaver’s understudy in this instance. 
And certain scenes that could have made this film amazing (Rapace carrying out an alien abortion on herself) feel
rushed and inconsequential. The end product feels silly and groundless.

Credit must go to Michael Fassbender though, who plays slimy
android David, who is infinitely watchable as he carries out his wayward agenda
and quite frankly makes this film at all worthwhile.


June 27th, 2012 by alandunn | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

It’s easy to see how this particular film sort of came and
went at the start of the year, not remaining in cinemas long in January when
Oscar fare such as The Artist and The Iron Lady were clogging up the multiplexes.

It’s Ralph Fiennes directorial debut of one of Shakespeare’s
lesser known plays but staged in modern day times completely acted in the Bard’s
words and language. It’s the tale of a celebrated war hero who must join forces
with his enemy to fight political disruption. I know this not from watching the
film, but from the DVD synopsis, because in reality I got through about 20 minutes
of the film before I gave up, ejected the disc, popped back in its LoveFilm
envelope and sat down to watch The Good Wife instead.

 In hindsight I was
being a little too brave to take on the Bard on an idle Tuesday night knowing nothing
of the film or the play in which it was based. Especially when I had spent most
of the evening googling holiday clothes and half heartedly eyeing Keeping up
with the Kardashians on tv in the background. To make an analogy, attempting to
watch Coriolanus after an evening frittered with trivial trashy pursuits is
like trying to ace an algebra exam by studying the contents of a Monster Munch
packet; I was ill prepared for this task, and as such gave up readily.

So this is not so much of a review but a warning; get out
your old English textbooks before trying Coriolanus. Don’t be like me and bring
a knife to a gun fight.

I’m sure there will be many people out there who thoroughly
enjoyed this film, and by all accounts it seems to get rave reviews for
tackling Shakespeare so valiantly. But for now I am happy to parade around in a
metaphorical sandwich board that declares ‘ignorant pleb’.

21 Jump Street

April 18th, 2012 by alandunn | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

It’s been some time since I seen a comedy that really had constantly great zingers, and 21 Jump Street does not fail to disappoint. Further to that it’s been an even longer time I’ve waited to see Channing Tatum do something good, and at last huzzah he’s finally done it!

2 fresh faced cops straight out the academy and already destined to be f*ck ups are paired together to go undercover at a local high school posing as teenagers. Jonah Hill is the socially inept by the book cop who shies away from altercations, whilst Channing Tatum is the thick as mince pretty boy keen to play Lethal Weapon. However Hill finds himself ingratiated with the cool kids and gets side tracked from the mission, whilst Tatum becomes a total geek, leading to the gags coming thick and fast.

The premise is primed for plenty of gags, and Jonah Hill is a solid bet for giggles after Superbad made him king of High School comedies. However it’s surprisingly the dim witted and vain Tatum that steals the show, finally finding a role that allows him to shine by poking fun at the dumb jock stereotype.

It’s the finest comedy of the year to date.