Bill Nighy

Review: I, Frankenstein

Posted by Matthew on January 24, 2014
Movies, Reviews / 1 Comment

I, Frankenstein

Sometimes Hollywood makes terrible movies. Sometimes Hollywood makes movies that are so bad that they transcend and become a certain kind of good. This is not one of those times.

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Review: About Time

Posted by Matthew on October 24, 2013
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About Time

Richard Curtis has an interesting filmography. Of the films he’s directed, most of them are fairly lighthearted fluff which is, depending on your disposition, sweet or saccharine. Films like Bridget Jones Diary and Love Actually. He’s written far more, including the likes of War Horse for Steven Spielberg, but it’s the sweet stuff he’ll likely be remembered for.

His latest effort, About Time appears to be much of the same but with a dash of time travel thrown in for good measure. Is it good? Well, I dunno about that. Is it bad? Well, I dunno about that either.

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I, Frankenstein Trailer: Hopefully So Bad It’s Good

Posted by Matthew on October 07, 2013
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I, Frankenstein

I’ve been curious about this since I heard about it because it sounded kinda, well, awful. How awful does it look? Let’s watch and find out.

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Trailer: About Time

Posted by Matthew on July 30, 2013
Trailers / 1 Comment

About Time

Time travel is cool, right? Well there’s a new British rom com on the way all about it. Domhall Gleeson stars as a young man who at the age of 21 is told by his father that the men in his family can travel in time. Naturally he uses this power to meet a girl and try to make things perfect.

Let’s watch!

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Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

Posted by Matthew on March 01, 2013
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Jack the Giant Slayer

It’s been less than two hours since I walked out of Jack the Giant Slayer and I can barely remember what happened. That’s not exactly a good thing, is it?

Here’s the basic set up: Nicholas Hoult plays Jack who goes to the market and sells his horse for some beans that grow a giant bean stalk into the sky via which giants attack. Pretty straightforward, really.

The problem is that despite all it’s intentions, the movies just kinda boring. There’s some pretty cool set pieces but even though it kills off some characters –including ones I understood going in were major characters– it just never felt like there was any real peril, and the movie spends so much time going back and forth between the giants being farting, nose picking bumbling fools and menacing, angry, “let’s bite the head off this human” monsters that a tone isn’t ever really effectively set.

Similarly, Jack is chastised by his uncle for being a lazy and easily distracted fool but as soon as the bean stalk grows he immediately proves himself neither lazy, easily distracted or foolish. No development there, just a switch that gets flipped to serve the plot.

The plot itself is pretty thin and it’s not really compelling at all. In fact, it’s almost like they came up with a bunch of ideas for things they wanted to see happen first and then wrote just enough of a story to string those things together and nothing else. It’s frustrating even, since there are just a few changes they could have made which yes, would have made the story a bit more cliche but which would have given Jack a better personal, relatable arc. I get the feeling they might have been avoiding the heroes journey on purpose but the end result is uninteresting.

If you’ve seen the trailer you might go in thinking that it’s going to be an effects extravaganza but it’s not. There are effects everywhere to be sure, but the giants don’t look good enough for me to have suspended disbelief enough for me not to notice that all the CGI is good but nowhere near being great.

In fact at the start of the film the back story is provided by Jacks father reading the legend of the giants which is played out on screen in what’s meant to be stylized animation but instead just looks like terrible video game cut scenes. You can see that they were going for something similar to the backstory sequence in Hellboy II but they missed the mark utterly.

It’s annoying too that the despite a pretty stellar cast I couldn’t really bring myself to care about many of the characters. Nicholas Hoult is fine as Jack and Eleanor Tomlinson is fine as the princess (yes of course there’s a princess) but Stanley Tucci is basically just being Slimeball Stanley Tucci here. It’s not terrible to watch but it would have been nice to see some experimentation. Bill Nighy is the same as the leader of the Giants. It’s a voice role to be sure, but it’s just Bill Nighy’s angry voice and nothing more. (side note: despite voicing over the trailer, Sir Ian McKellan isn’t in this at all that I could see/hear. Weird.)

The standout for me is Ewan McGregor who basically dials up the swagger to 11 and runs with it. He steals most every scene he’s in, and every time he’s not on screen I found myself wondering when he’d be back.

In my mind I like Bryan Singer. He’s made some amazing movies, two of which I count among my all time favourites, but everything he has done since X-Men 2 has fallen pretty flat. He doesn’t nail down a tone, his pacing is all over the map, and character development is at a minimum.

That’s not to say that there aren’t bright spots. Again, there are a couple of good set pieces, there are a few funny moments and there are some nice character moments, but all in all the film is just mediocre fluff. Not outright bad, just boring.

My question is this: how many more of these “let’s take an old story and go all M. Night Shyamalan ‘what a twist!’ on it’s ass” movies are we going to have to go through? Can we be done now? Please?

Meantime, if you want to see Nicholas Hoult act well then go see if Warm Bodies is still playing.

Rating: 5/10

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Episode Thirty Three: Total Recall

Posted by Matthew on August 10, 2012
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This week we only have one thing to talk about and that’s the Total Recall remake starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel.

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Like what you hear? Don’t like what you hear? Tell us! email at comments at awesomefriday.ca, leave comments on this episodes page, and you can also follow us on twitter: @ManBitesWonders is Simon and @posterboy81 is Matt

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