Green Lantern: Movie Review

Green Lantern Movie Review:

Charlie Sheen’s Hot Shots played seriously with a Unicron-style creature made entirely out of dreadlocks as the main villain.

Peter Sarsgaard’s scenes are skilfully acted, but the plot dictates that, because he’s handicapped, he’s obviously evil and so must have the shit kicked out of him by a jet pilot.

Lines like: “Uncle Hal, were you scared when the plane crashed?” stand out more than the 3D effects.

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posted by JP at 12:25 am  

Julia’s Eyes Movie Review

Julia’s Eyes (2011, dir.Guillem Morales) Movie Review

The poster for Julia’s Eyes was a honey trap for me mainly because it had Guillermo Del Toro’s name in big bold letters.

I was aware going into the film that this was a film ‘presented by’ rather than directed or written by Del Toro.

Too often the phrase ‘presented by’ is used to draw crowds to a mediocre movie using a big name.

A film ‘presented by Wes Craven’ is not going to be as good as A Nightmare on Elm Street, even though that’s what the poster implies. At other times it can be a way for those in the industry to shed light on deserving projects from less well-known directors.

The latter was certainly the case with the last film Del Toro presented. The Orphanage—which is one of my all time favourites—deposited a certain amount of trust with Del Toro’s name.

After watching Julia’s Eyes though, that balance is close to being withdrawn.

Julia’s Eyes tells the story of a woman losing her eyesight while trying to solve the mystery of her sister’s suicide. As light is shed on her sister’s private life, she suspects foul play and Julia soon finds herself at the hands of an ‘invisible-man’ style stalker.

The film is a whodunnit and treated with some very atmospheric and minimal Carpenter-esque directing which makes for some edge of the seat scenes.

However, a lot of the scenes tend to repeat themselves with infuriating logic. I lost count of the number of times Julia goes running off into the dark to investigate a strange noise when she knows there’s a killer on the loose.

The way supporting characters keep being introduced and begin talking in riddles with useful bits of information rather than simply saying; ‘the killer is…’ and the way Julia seems to master the art of detective work in a matter of hours makes it hard to suspend your disbelief.

In fact, I could believe more in an invisible man running around than I could in some of the way the characters acted.

Coupled with the sub-plot of Julia coming to terms with the loss of her own sight and mawkish relationship with her husband that runs throughout the film, you get the sense that the director was trying to shoehorn a film that would have been fine as a standalone thriller into the Del Toro fairytale mould.

Julia’s Eyes is entertaining while it lasts if you can overlook its fractured plot and artificial sentimentality.

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posted by JP at 9:55 am  

Epic

Epic Star Wars Fan Fight

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posted by JP at 7:26 pm  

Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War – review

Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War – review

Dan Martin at The Guardian does a good job of summing up the latest episode.

For the past few weeks Dr Who has been appointed viewing for me—I remember to put myself in front of a TV and watch (or catch up on iPlayer if I’ve been at a comics convention).

Moffat’s episodes during the RTD era were always highlights: from Silence in the library and Blink—these were Dr Who episodes at their very best.

What’s nagged me about the current series has been the constant focus on the overarching plot.

It’s had the effect on rendering singular episodes only important up until the last five minutes, which is when information has been revealed about the Doctor and the baby and River Song’s identity.

The emphasis on plot has become more important than the individual stories themselves.

Cosmetically, this version of the Doctor is the youngest one we’ve had, so perhaps there’s been a concerted effort for episodes to appeal more to youngsters.

For me, Moffat’s Sherlock has been more Dr Who than Dr Who. The wit, the pace as well as the balance between plot and story.

I hope that when the Dr Who series returns in the autumn that whatever overarching plot they plant takes a back seat to great stories in individual episodes.

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posted by JP at 9:19 pm  

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: Book Review

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: Book Review

I saw the advert below while journeying on the Piccadilly line to meet some friends in London.

It made me get out of the train a full two stops ahead of my destination and buy the book from Waterstone’s.

Here’s the text:

There was once an invisible man who had grown tired of being unseen.

It was not that he was actually invisible.

It was that people had grown used to not seeing him.

And then one day the invisible man decided, “I will make them see me.”

He called for a monster.

Very rarely do adverts make me buy anything, but when the copy for the advert is this good it makes you want to find the source.

And I’m glad I did.

It’s hands-down one of the best books I’ve read this year and horror at its finest.

Go read.

A monster calls

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posted by JP at 3:37 pm  

The Halfway House (1944 dir. Basil Dearden)–Movie Review

The Halfway House (1944 dir. Basil Dearden)–Movie Review

Haunted house movies generally gather a group of people in one place and, in turn, cross-examine each member through a series of apparitions, letting only the virtuous one(s) escape at the end.

The Halfway House bucks that trend. In fact, given that the movie was released in 1944, it bucked the trend well before the trend was established.

The story opens on the lives of several characters: each one facing some dilemma in their personal life, their problems heightened by the anxiety at begin at war with Germany.

Fate brings the characters together at halfway house in Cardiff run by a father and daughter. At the same time the lodgers begin to notice slightly odd things about their hosts, they are gently guided to confront their anxieties in the hopes of leaving the house renewed and ready to face the world.

What makes the film refreshing is that the ghosts here don’t scare the lodgers to achieve a change of consciousness, instead they guide them and reassure them.

The film was released a year before World War 2 ended and so one suspects one aim of the film was to provide reassurance to its audience given its uplifting ending.

Ironically, because of this, the film suffers from a lack of tension. The problems the characters face are real enough, but the seeming ease with which the cast is transformed at the end of the movie makes their conflicts seem superficial in retrospect.

Compared against other haunted house tales like Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting (1966 dir. Robert Wise) and the travellers-seeking-refuge flick The Old Dark House (1932 dir. James Whale), The Halfway House has not aged well but it does not mean its life-affirming message is any less valid.

The Halfway House is released on DVD and is available to buy from Amazon on June 20.

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posted by JP at 12:00 am  

Night moves

Night moves

London Horror Comic

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posted by JP at 12:00 am  

Underground by Ztoical – Mini Comic Review

Underground by Ztoical – Mini Comic Review

Underground is a short mini-comic by ztoical and it is truly awesome.

It’s short vignette about the grey frustrations we all go through when travelling on London’s underground train network and the brief moments of colour that can briefly alleviate us from the drudgery of commuting.

Lovingly rendered and with a print quality to match, head over to http://www.ztoical.com/ to pick up a copy.

Underground

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posted by JP at 12:00 am