Tag Archive: 2007


Clive Owen kills people with carrots! What’s not to love about that?!

Shoot ‘Em Up is one of my favourite films of all time and definitely my favourite action film. Clive Owen plays carrot toting Smith, a man with a mysterious past who just so happens to be around when a pregnant woman is followed into a warehouse by thugs with guns. Luckily, Smith arrives just in time to save the day and deliver the baby in a very unconventional method (shooting the umbilical chord) and teams up with his favourite prostitute in order to save the baby from falling into the hands of Paul Giamatti’s character ‘Hertz’ (I have seen the film countless times and I’m only just finding out the villain’s name now). It’s fast paced, adrenaline fuelled, completely ridiculous but so glorious at the same time.

On the face of it, Shoot ‘Em Up looks like a mindless action film that just involves Clive Owen shooting a lot of people all of the time. And while this is partially true, Shoot ‘Em Up is surprisingly more than that. What you get with Michael Davis’ writing and direction is somewhat of a pastiche to action films of days gone by and that’s what makes this movie so fun; it takes everything you like about action films, holds up a mirror to them and reflects them ten times better. This is included in the action where there are some completely outrageous stunts and scenes that defy all laws of logic and common sense but do we care? No. Because we’re enjoying being taken on this wonderful journey and forgetting the troubles of real life for an hour and a half. One of the most enjoyable things about Shoot ‘Em Up is Clive Owen’s deadpan delivery of witty lines; almost every second line of dialogue for Owen’s character is a joke and it is beautifully delivered with a straight face but I tell you now the lines are hilarious. It’s a perfect action comedy.

“What’s up, Doc?”

Shoot ‘Em Up tries to deliver a complex storyline which makes a change from the usual terrorist or revenge plot: the baby that Smith ends up saving has actually been born with the purpose of providing a bone marrow transplant to a corrupt senator who will die without the transplant. The confrontation with the senator leads to a complete disregard to the laws of physics and a mid-air shootout takes place after jumping from a plane! And we are also given back stories of the main characters that, while good, aren’t really needed and don’t really add anything to the enjoyment of the film.

This action spectacular provides action scenes a plenty, it’s practically non stop! We get them in mid-air (as mentioned), in warehouses, in a children’s park and even a brothel. It seems like Shoot ‘Em Up was made to purely entertain and that’s exactly what it does. With acting talent in the form of Oscar nominees Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti as well as the talented Monica Belluci you know you’re getting more than just a standard direct-to-DVD release.

Shoot ‘Em Up didn’t perform well in the cinema but has garnered quite a passionate following in the years since its release and I for one suggest that if you like action, or if you like comedy, then just turn off your common sense switch and enjoy the fun that Shoot ‘Em Up brings!

Advertisements

Doom. DOA: Dead Or Alive. Max Payne. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. What do all of these films have in common? Yes, they were all adaptations of successful video game franchises. Another thing they have in common is that they were all negatively released and much worse than their video game counterparts. So news that an Assassin’s Creed film is set to be made will be received with mixed emotions from fans.

Assassin’s Creed first hit the consoles in 2007 and has since spawned two complete sequels and a few ‘expansion packs’ if you like. It is one of the most successful and most critically acclaimed series’ in recent years and one of my favourite games that I have ever played. I think that there is definitely plenty of material to build a film from as there is a very strong storyline through each of the games and the characters are well thought out and some interesting action scenes could be built from the film. When playing the game it is easy to see that it would make for a very entertaining experience on the cinema screens.

Whether the film will follow Altair, Ezio or Connor (the three main protagonists of each Assassin’s Creed game) or a totally new character remains to be seen although the premise of the film so far is based “around a man who learns his ancestors were trained assassins after he is kidnapped by a secret organisation with ties to the Knights Templar, and sent back in time to retrieve historical artefacts”. This most lends itself to the story of Altair from the very first Assassin’s Creed game.

One thing we do know for certain is that the man in the main role for Assassin’s Creed is Michael Fassbender, who will also be co-producing. Fassbender is one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood at the minute, receiving rave reviews for everything he does. He doesn’t have much experience with action-centred roles although when he played Magneto in X-men: First Class the action scenes he was in were very good! What he does have though is acting skills by the bucket load; diversity, character, charisma, charm.

As long as Michael Fassbender is attached to the project then Assassin’s Creed may break new ground for video game to movie adaptations.

Rendition (2007) Review.

Rendition is a thriller, released in 2007 to mixed reviews. It centres on a CIA analyst who begins to question his assignment after witnessing an unorthodox interrogation at a secret detention facility outside the US. The film is based on the true story of Khalid El-Masri who was mistaken for Khalid Al-Masri.

It features a cast of many big names: Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Sarsgaard (who spends most of the film looking incredibly similar to Ewan McGregor), Meryl Streep and J.K. Simmons and is directed by Gavin Hood who is also responsible for ruining a fan favourite Marvel character’s origins in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The performances of the above are not that bad and that is the highest compliment I can pay them, however the performance of Omar Metwally who plays the man mistaken for a terrorist is absolutely fantastic; he completely steals the show.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s character is very two dimensional. I like Gyllenhaal as an actor and when he turns it on he really does turn it on, but here in Rendition something is lacking. His character is poor and nothing can really bring him to life. Witherspoon’s character is just irritating from start to finish while Sarsgaard’s character seems useless. The heavyweights Simmons and Streep aren’t used nearly enough. The character development and characters in general need to be better written and are not well rounded or even that likeable.

Some of the torture scenes in which Anwar El-Ibrahimi is treated horrifically by the American government are when this film comes into its own. They are very well filmed and recreated and clearly a lot of research went into making those scenes authentic and they do, at times, become very hard to watch because we, as the audience, know that the victim is innocent.

My biggest problem with Rendition though is its genre. Thriller. Here’s a little piece of advice; you can’t call a film a thriller when it isn’t even thrilling in the slightest! A thriller, in my opinion, needs to have a mystery, it needs to have shocks and keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Rendition fails to do this majorly. There are parts of the film where it seems as though the director is trying to build up sympathy or the characters or try and give a subtle shock to the audience but it only plants the seeds for a plot twist and the seeds never really come to fruition.

When I sat down to watch the film I had read what it was about and was anticipating something very entertaining as I was impressed with the storyline and the cast but as the film grew on (from what was a very boring first half into a mediocre second) I soon came to realise that I was not watching the film I had hoped. Rendition was a let down; an anti-war film that never really takes off.

Having read around the film I know that it has its fans but I just can’t imagine myself wanting to watch it again.

My Rating: 4/10.

Amy Adams has just entered into negotiations to star in Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s critically acclaimed novel Dark Places. Adams provides an example of a modern day actress with a fantastic ability for acting as well as looking incredibly beautiful at the same time and has been nominated for three Oscars throughout her career.

Amy Adams got her first film role in comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous and this was the start of what would become a fantastic career. After this Adams spent a couple of years working on television, appearing in episodes of Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville and The West Wing before, in 2002, appearing in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can alongside the brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio. Spielberg even said that Adams’ performance in Catch Me If You Can should have launched her career, yet still it stalled.

It was in 2004 that Amy Adams got her next film role in The Last Run as well as bagging regular roles in television series’ King of the Hill and Dr. Vegas, then her career really gained speed. After The Wedding Date was released Amy Adams starred in indie flick Junebug, a film for which Adams herself received critical acclaim and she was getting the recognition she deserved everywhere, including being nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

Not many comedy actors or actresses get recognised as talented actors as well as people who make us laugh, but this didn’t sway Amy Adams from appearing in more comedies as she attempted to crack mainstream cinema. Adams appeared in Talladega Nights, The Pick of Destiny and The Ex and then, in 2007, she made herself known to a wider audience than ever before. Enchanted, the part animated/part live action modern Disney fairytale, cast Adams in the role of the princess and the film was a huge commercial success and prepared Adams for the success that was to come.

Amy Adams then starred alongside Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War, Emily Blunt in Sunshine Cleaning as well as making Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, all three of which were well received by audiences. Doubt was released in 2008 and it was this performance that saw Amy Adams nominated for her second Oscar.

Leap Year, Julie & Julia and Night At The Museum 2 followed before Amy Adams put in one of the best performances of her career in The Fighter and was rightly nominated for her third Oscar so far and arguably should have won it but it went to her co-star Melissa Leo. More critical and commercial success followed with Jason Segel’s reboot of The Muppets where she showcased her vocal talents.

With several projects in the pipeline there is no doubt that Amy Adams, one of the most versatile and well respected actresses working today, is set to achieve even more success. This year she will be appearing in the hotly anticipated and long-in-making film On The Road. Trouble With The Curve and The Master follow before what could become the defining and most important role for Adams to date: she is to take on the role of Lois Lane in Zack Snyder’s Superman tale Man of Steel, produced by Christopher Nolan.

Hopefully, Adams will continue to work in films for a long time to come and maybe one day she can win the Oscar that she quite rightly deserves.

Chris Evans is probably one of my favourite actors at the minute, not necessarily because he is a brilliant actor because he is far from the best, but he brings with him to every role a huge amount of enthusiasm and fun which helps the audience no end. I have never seen him put in a bad performance in a film and he is fast becoming one of the go to guys for an action film in Hollywood.

Evans made his action debut in 2000 and has since gone on to appear in over twenty films to date. After making his film debut in The Newcomers, Chris Evans was given a starring role on television series Opposite Sex, alongside Milo Ventimiglia. The show ran for just one series.

After the series ended Evans appeared in comedy Not Another Teen Movie. Once he was finished filming that he began to work on a couple more films: The Perfect Score and Cellular, both of which were released in 2004. Cellular, in my opinion, was a great action film, it was fast paced, it had a great cast pitching Chris Evans against action heavyweight Jason Statham. This is one of my favourite performances from Evans as he manages to combine humour and action greatly!

Evans 'flames on' for Fantastic Four.

In 2005, Evans starred in two independent films. The first being Fierce People and the second being London, which saw Evans reunite with Statham. It was also in 2005 when Chris Evans received mainstream attention. It could have come in a better film but anyway, Evans starred as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four film. Yes, the film was awful, yes, the characters were ruined, all except for Evans’ Johnny Storm who was the highlight of the film for fans of the comic book and the movies alike. Evans showed once again that he is charming, witty and a great pick for an action film with his performance.

The Human Torch was a role he took up again in the sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (a movie that managed to be even worse than the train wreck of the original film). 2007 was also the year that Evans made his debut in voice acting providing the voice of Casey Jones in the CGI film TMNT. The Nanny Diaries and Battle for Terra, Evans providing the voice once more in the latter, also came out this year, but it was his other film of 2007 that really caught my attention.

Evans plays level-headed engineer Mace in Sunshine.

Sunshine. Danny Boyle’s sci-fi film about a group of astronauts sent to re-ignite the dying sun taking place fifty years in the future. Chris Evans starred alongside Danny Boyle favourite Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne and Mark Strong. Sunshine was not a commercial success but it was critically and rightly so; this is one of the best sci-fi films I have probably ever seen, I really enjoyed it and Chris Evans’ character, Mace, was in fact really good.

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond followed before Evans returned to the action genre once more for Street Kings; a film that had a lot of noteworthy names in its cast (Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie for example) but really failed to deliver on all fronts. Then Evans went on to Push, another sci-fi/action film where he had superpowers.

Chris Evans took up comic book movie roles twice more when he appeared in The Losers and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. With the latter, despite only having a small part Evans put in a humorous performance and served the film well. Recently he starred in rom-com What’s Your Number? alongside Anna Faris before taking on his biggest project to date.

Chris Evans as the iconic hero Captain America.

Chris Evans became Captain America for Marvel’s The First Avenger. He played the part of Steve Rogers and at first people had their doubts because he had been in a Marvel film before or he wasn’t big enough to play the super soldier. But Evans soon put those doubts to rest as he showed off his new bulked up figure in the war/superhero film and proved to be a success.

The role of Captain America is one that Evans will of course be reprising in this summer’s sure fire hit, The Avengers and the release date for Captain America 2 has been confirmed. Evans really became Steve Rogers, he played the character superbly and brought to the role the same commitment and enthusiasm that he has brought to every role in his career.

Chris Evans is a fine actor and in interviews he always comes across as the nice guy. He definitely deserves more attention in movies as he has shown his versatility, starring in action, sci-fi, dramas, comedies and rom-coms. Sure, he has some bad films in his past but there are some real gems in there too. What a guy.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets is the sequel to Disney’s commercially successful original National Treasure film of 2004. When released back in 2007 Book of Secrets claimed the number one spot at the American box office and became a commercial success worldwide, and yes, plans for a third film are in place. So is this sequel actually any good?

Book of Secrets is an adventure mystery film that once again follows treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates. This time, Gates looks to discover the truth behind the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, by uncovering the mystery within the missing 18 pages from the diary of assassin John Wilkes Booth.

Justin Bartha injects some fantastic comedy into the film.

Disney pulled together a fantastic cast for the National Treasure franchise, particularly in Book of Secrets. A supporting cast of Justin Bartha, Diane Kruger, Ed Harris, Harvey Keitel, Jon Voight, Helen Mirren and Bruce Greenwood are led by the inconsistent, for want of a better word, Nicolas Cage who plays the smart adventurer Benjamin Franklin Gates. In my opinion Jutin Bartha as Riley Poole, Gates’ colleague and friend steals the show with a fantastic performance; he provides great comic relief and offers up plenty of laughs for the audience, a great shift from Bartha.

Book of Secrets is a family friendly film, aimed at children primarily but there is plenty there for the older viewers to enjoy as well. We follow Nicolas Cage on a journey that stretches across Europe and America connecting clues to solve their mystery. Whilst there is a lot to enjoy and keep the audience’s attention I do think that Book of Secrets lacks in story depth and character development which is pretty disappointing. It is very clearly defined which characters are good and which are evil but they are given no time to develop and instead the emphasis is on moving the action forward, which of course is not always a bad thing, but the loose strings holding the action together are sometimes too ridiculous to believe even for this film.

The action scenes are really enjoyable though and there will be things that you will laugh at, whatever your sense of humour may be suited to. The final action scene taking place inside Mount Rushmore is a very good climatic scene and to be honest, parts of the film show real intelligence in film making and writing. Something I did actually hate though, were the horrible cockney accents we were subjected during the Buckingham Palace scene.

As Book of Secrets was a hit it should come as no surprise that there is a sequel being planned at the minute. And the ending of the film leaves it open with the mystery surrounding ‘Page 47’ being mentioned. I would welcome a third film of the franchise. National Treasure: Book of Secrets lacks depth but it excels in fun and is a great film to watch when you just want to be entertained.

My Rating: 6/10

So it seems as though Michael Bay is on a one man mission to destroy the childhood of millions. First, he enraged a large majority of Transformers fans with his franchise that consisted mainly of blowing things up and now he has incurred the wrath of millions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans with his latest announcement.

At the annual Nickelodeon presentation producer Michael Bay said of the loveable Turtles in their new film: “These turtles are from an alien race, and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely loveable.”

Aliens?! The heroes in a half-shell are not aliens, they are mutants: Teenage MUTANT Ninja Turtles.

Seriously, what is Michael Bay’s problem?

I was looking forward to this film before the latest announcement. Changing the origin changes the whole story of the Turtles and the millions of people who grew up loving the green heroes tutored by a rat are set to be disappointed. And speaking of the mentor rat, Splinter, is he a mutant rat or another alien? Absolutely ridiculous!

This Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film has been slated for a Christmas 2013 release.

The Turtles' last film outing was an enjoyable CGI adventure back in 2007.

Seriously Adam, what is going on?!

Adam Sandler’s career infuriates me. He made a name for himself in the world of comedy during the early 1990s thanks to his several appearances on Saturday Night Live and then made the journey to become a big movie star. During the late 90s and the early 2000s he was one of the funniest men working in film and his films were always (okay, most of the time) a treat and well worth a laugh or two. Then something happened. I don’t think anyone quite knows what happened, or even if Sandler himself knows, but his films turned terrible.

After impressing with his writing on Saturday Night Live, Adam Sandler was given the chance to perform on the show. He did so and became famous for his amusing songs that he would write, ‘The Chanukah Song’ being one of his best.

Sandler made the leap into films in the mid 90s and for the rest of the decade continues to be funny. Films such as Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy and The Waterboy made Sandler a legend among comedy fans. His films were funny, they were worth seeing and they were something that you could laugh about with your friends after watching. These ones still are.

Then the turn of the century came and Adam Sandler continued to make movies. Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, Anger Management and even 50 First Dates are all good films and worth watching for a laugh. And Sandler impressed everyone in 2002 when he took the lead in romantic comedy Punch-Drunk Love.

For a couple of years Adam Sandler left the mainstream comedy circuit and made sports film The Longest Yard (among his best films in my opinion, not for Sandler’s performance in particular, just as a film on the whole) and he made Click. Click was based in comedy but it was a dramatic performance from Sandler that was worth noting; it was a different performance to his other comedy films and it was very very good.

So far, so good.

Then 2007 came and something absolutely terrible hit cinemas and this is what I have pinpointed as the turning point in Adam Sandler’s career: I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. It is a rubbish film. Nothing more needs saying. But then Sandler went on to do a ridiculous role in You Don’t Mess With the Zohan in which he played an Israeli counter-terrorist commando who fakes his own death to pursue his real dream of a career in hairdressing. THAT. IS. STUPID!

Sandler continued the decline with Bedtime Stories, Grown Ups and Just Go With It (not helped by the fact it features the cardboard actress that is Jennifer Aniston). None of these films have ever reached the heights of his earlier outings. And his most recent effort, Jack and Jill where he plays both of the title characters saw Sandler nominated for a series of Razzies.

Today I watched the trailer for Adam Sandler’s newest project hitting cinemas in the UK later this year: That’s My Boy. I really hoped the trailer would look good, I want nothing more than for his career to just get back on track, unfortunately though, this film will not be the rebuilding of Sandler’s comedy efforts. Guaranteed.

Adam Sandler needs to take a long hard look at his recent films and think about his career, not just for me but for himself. I can only assume he is working through some massive mid-life crisis and the sooner he gets through it the better, for everyone.

Below is the trailer for That’s My Boy being released in the UK on 7th September 2012.

Freedom Writers is a film that I have wanted to see since its release back in 2007 and last night was the night that I finally got round to it. So after waiting four years to watch this film, would it really be as good as I hoped? The answer, in short, is yes.

The story centres around Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank), an inexperienced teacher thrown in at the deep end when she joins Woodrow Wilson High School teaching Freshman and Sophomore years. Erin’s class is full of people of different backgrounds and ethnicities, nearly all of them in gangs and most of them knowing someone who has been a killed through gang violence. When first joining the class, Erin Gruwell is hated by all of the students, predominantly just for being white, but as the film goes on her character grows and she earns the respect of her students. The students learn what it is to be believed in, to have hope in life, and to know how important life is.

Freedom Writers is a truly heart warming story and at the centre of it all is Erin Gruwell, played excellently by the near perfect Hilary Swank. Erin sees the best in everyone, even her students that the rest of the teachers have already given up hope on, but she knows that she can succeed where the system has failed using her unorthodox methods.

The brilliant Hilary Swank is supported by a large group of younger actors and actresses. April Hernandez stands out in particular as Eva Benitez. Her father is in prison because of gang crime and she now finds herself in the centre of a court case where she must decide between gang identification or her new found friends. When Andre’s (Mario) brother is sent down for fifteen years to life he also finds himself being tempted back into the life he led before he knew Ms Gruwell. It is a shame that a lot of these young actors haven’t done a lot of work since Freedom Writers as this film is evidence that they can act!

There are a couple of things about the movie that start to get annoying after a while. There are hundreds (this might be an exaggeration) of shots of moody looking teenagers staring at someone in a rival gang all the way through the film and we also get plenty of shots outside the school where we are shown all the different groups again and again. We get it okay, the kids are in gangs!

The story holds its own all the way through, the characters and their backgrounds are believable and it is touching to see what a connection this young, inexperienced teacher had with a bunch of no hope students and how she impacted on their lives. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, whatever your taste in films, this is a must see!

Freedom Writers: 8/10