Thursday, 10 September 2009

DVD Reviews

Friday The 13th: Extended Cut
Marcus Nispel
Paramount Home Entertainment

Review by Brad Harmer

Here’s the biggest problem I had whilst reviewing this movie: this is a really good slasher film – but a really bad Friday the 13th movie. That, and it’s not sure whether or not it wants to be a sequel or a re-make, and just ends up being confusing. You see, it acts like most of the films haven’t happened – but you need to have seen the first one for it to make any sense. So, this is a remake of Friday the 13th Part Two and Part Three combined. Confused? Yes, they should have left it alone, shouldn’t they, and just done a new film, no-one would have batted an eyelid. Anyway...

Searching for his missing sister, Clay Miller heads up to the eerie woods of legendary Crystal Lake, where he stumbles on the creaky remains of rotting old cabins that lie in wait behind moss-covered trees. But, of course, that's not the only thing hiding under the brush. Against the advice of police and cautions from the locals, Clay pursues what few leads he has, with the help of a young woman he meets among a group of college kids up for an all-thrills weekend. But they are about to find much more than they bargained for. Little do they know, they've entered the domain of one of the most terrifying spectres in American film history - the infamous killer who haunts Crystal Lake, armed with a razor-sharp machete, the one and only... Jason Voorhees.

Or is it? The killer in this movie looks like Jason, sounds likes Jason, and probably smells like Jason, but he sure as hell doesn’t act like Jason. Did you know that Jason Voorhees lays intricate traps for people? He does in this movie. Did you know that Jason runs after people, rather that walking inevitably towards them? He does in this movie. Did you know that Jason takes prisoners? He does in this movie. Did you know that Jason can be knocked flying by a drop kick from a nineteen year-old girl? He can in this movie. As I said earlier, this is a good slasher movie, but it's a bad Friday the 13th movie.

The whole thing just feels too polished, too clinical and too (rather tragically) good to be a Friday the 13th movie. A Nightmare on Elm Street was the franchise that got the money sunk into it, bulging it with effects and whatnot; and Friday the 13th was always its punkier little brother, held together with dried gore and duct tape.

With that said, it is a very good slasher movie. It just suffers from the fact that it has no real audience to please. It will offend all those who love the franchise, be disregarded by those who don’t, and confuse and underwhelm all those who don’t know anything about it.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Violence:
There’s lots of murders, tortures and all kind of slasher movie related gubbins. Good stuff on this front.
Sex/Nudity: Some foreplay/make-out scenes, and some boobs. Par for the course, for a slasher movie.
Swearing: A realistic amount.
Summary: Averages out to be “quite good”. Fans will be divided, I dare say. 5/10


FAQ About Time Travel
Gareth Carrivick
Lionsgate UK

Review by Brad Harmer

Ray (Chris O’Dowd – Roman’s Empire, Showbands) is obsessed with time travel and all things sci-fi, Toby (Marc Wooten) is a film nerd with ambition but absolutely not talent and their mate Pete (Dean Lennox Kelly – The Brother of One of the Guys From Queer As Folk) is a saracastic cynic who prefers darts to Darth Vader.

As usual the boys are in the pub...But this time, a funny thing happens on the way to the bar – Ray is approached by Cassie (Anna Faris – Brokeback Mountain, two episodes of King of the Hill), a beautiful girl who claims to be a time-traveller. Meanwhile, Pete stumbles through a rip in the time space continuum in the toilets. Like you do. And so the three bunglers quickly realise there’s going to be more to their evening than peanuts and the pub quiz.

First of all, as a comedy film, this is great. Things do start off a little slowly, but by the time the plot is moving, there are several big belly laughs paying off. O’Dowd, in particular, is fantastic, as fans of The IT Crowd will no doubt already know, but he really stands out in this movie. As a matter of fact, all of the cast is great, and most of the laughs come from their delivery.

As the plot progresses, another strength is revealed: the writing is fantastic. Every time I thought I had a handle on where the plot was going, it shot off in another direction entirely! This kept me guessing through on through, and on top of the big laughs, this was one of the big selling points of the movie, for me.

The only weaknesses I felt was that I didn’t think Cassie had enough of a part in the movie, only serving as a fit Uatu; making Anna Faris feel, in the words of Eddie Izzard “the American actor put into British films to make them sell in America”. Also, The ending is a little farcical and weak, and seems to be begging for a (let’s face it, not-unwelcome) sequel.

These, though, are pretty minor flaws, as let us not forget that this is a comedy – and a absolutely brilliant one. Fans of The IT Crowd and Shaun of the Dead will get much enjoyment from this.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Violence: Some slapstick violence. Some dead bodies, and “monsters”. A fight at the end.
Sex/Nudity: Some references.
Swearing: About average for a British sit-com.
Summary: A blinding British comedy, featuring some massive gut laughs, and astonishing performances all round. Check it out – you won’t regret it! 10/10



Iron Man: Armoured Adventures - Volume 1
ITV DVD
Review by Brad Harmer

Tony Stark is a teenager who spends his time studying for his exams, testing his latest inventions, being adventurous and...saving the world! Using his gift for science he manages to create his own suit of mechanised armour which allows him to tap into abilities the rest of us can only dream about – abilities that he hopes to use for the good of all.

Unfortunately, everything goes horribly wrong when a mysterious accident kills his father and changes everything. Tony uses the hi-tech armour of the Iron Man suit to disguise himself as he tries to solve this mystery, whilst having to take on villains and fight epic battles. However at the same time, he’s got to deal with both being a normal teenager, and being Iron Man!

This sounds just like the Iron Man you all know and love from the movies and comics, doesn’t it? No, you’re absolutely right, it sounds nothing like the Iron Man you know and love. And whilst the cartoon is good, you can help but feel it would have been better if they’d kept with the original concept. Paul Selman of Films, Books and Rock ‘N’ Roll reliably informs me that this version of Iron Man did actually exist in the Marvel Universe for a while. But they eventually ditched it because the original Iron Man was cooler.

Aside from the fact that the show has very little to do with Iron Man, it’s actually a pretty good cartoon. The animation, mixing traditional cel animation and 3D-CGI techniques looks good for the most part. I say for the most part, because whilst figures and forms look great, explosions and so forth can sometimes look a little flat – but that’s just a flaw of the medium.

Aside from the animation, however, there’s not much substance here. Everything about the narrative is pretty uninspired; drawing from all sorts of clich├ęs, from the Hamlet style narrative regarding the death of Stark’s father and his co-owner taking the company, to downright plagiaristic scene of Iron Man stopping a train from crashing from some broken rails. That, and I hated every single one of the characters: Tony, Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes and Pepper Potts are all obnoxious teenage brats.

Kids will probably really enjoy this cartoon. It’s flashy and showy, but there’s really not enough substance here to entertain an adult audience – they should stick to the films and comics.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Violence:
Lots of explosions, laser blasts, and robots fighting each other.
Sex/Nudity: None
Swearing: None
Summary: Enjoyable fare for kids, and animation enthusiasts, but most will find this to be a case of style over substance. – 6/10

For more information on this title, visit www.ironman-armouredadventures.com

1 comment:

  1. 'Paul Selman of Films, Books and Rock ‘N’ Roll reliably informs me that this version of Iron Man did actually exist in the Marvel Universe for a while.'

    --- Oh, great. Now I'm going to be forever known on the Internet as the only person who remembers the absolute worst period of Iron Man's history. I suppose I'd be grateful for the plug regardless... if the bloody link wasn't still broken... grumble, grumble...

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