*NEW* ARRIVAL REVIEW *NEW*

_90843681_890a8bd8-6501-11e6-aefa-e8609c477948_486x

The next Interstellar. Brilliant . . . if you liked that movie.

Unfortunately, I didn’t. You can see where I’m heading with this.

A linguist (Amy Adams) is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.

The endless Twitter trends, the crazy hype train. I was actually excited to see what the man who brought us Prisoners could deliver.

I’m not going to lie. By the time the credits rolled, I was left feeling a little disappointed.

An emotionally charged opening sequence (that rivalled Up) plucked on the heartstrings as we followed Louise’s (Adams – Nocturnal Animals) relationship with her daughter over the blossoming years. Right up to her swift and tragic illness.

Bleak, heartbreaking and we hadn’t even got to the aliens yet. The pace was left to simmer away and I was happy to allow the bubbling tension and theorising develop as Louise was recruited by Weber (Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland) after 12 strange objects descended from the sky.

Adams was superb and delivered a sterling turn. She really carried the film for me.

I wish more was made out of the supporting cast. Whitaker disappeared into the background far too much and Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire) was completely wasted in his role as the shady Agent Halpern. Just another generic government agent.

The only other actor to make a memorable impression was Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker). His quips and chemistry with Adams was a much needed presence as the pair worked together to assess whether our new visitors were friend or foe.

I was actually quite impressed by how writers Eric Heisserer and Ted Chiang thought up such a situation. It was almost believable in a way if a superior race were to suddenly appear and try to communicate in an indecipherable and unknown language.

The special effects and CGI on the strange tentacly guests were fantastic. The motion capture methods to create their movements was impressive. They reminded me a little of the jellyfish things from Monsters.

The cryptography and puzzle solving as Louise and co. tried to form a dialogue was intriguing enough BUT by the 60 minute marker, I could feel my patience wading. My interest lost. I didn’t even mind that we hadn’t received any answers or real questions to ask the sinister looking squid things.

BUT the pace really did drag and it was like pulling teeth out to get anywhere. The constant flashbacks to Louise’s daughter and bizarre dream sequences (at first haunting and hypnotic) soon irritated and numbed me into a mini-coma.

Thankfully as the growing tension and civil unrest across the world forced the UN to make a (predictable) decision, I was soon pulled back in.

The paranoia and suspense finally going somewhere with the military desperate to scratch those itchy trigger fingers.

The rising insurgence among the ranks. The hidden agendas from the international compatriots. The world in arrears. If anything, this was all too realistic with China and Russia refusing to share information and desperate to cut ties and eradicate this unknown presence.

All spurned on from one word (Finally deciphered) as “WEAPON”. A reference? A threat? A simple misinterpretation from the linguistic team?

The final 20 minutes was frantic, thrilling and . . . unexpected BUT rewarding?

I won’t say too much about the ending. BUT I will admit that I’m NOT the biggest sci-fi fan. Blade Runner, Alien, Twelve Monkeys, Looper; sign me up. Anything else . . . meh. Once I heard the phrase, “non-linear time difference”, the wind had been knocked out of my sails.

Like Interstellar, Arrival delivered a cleverly woven ending with time paradoxes and hidden meanings galore.

I was afraid that I missed something. I checked the forums and discussed theories and realised I had it sussed the first time. BUT for all the hype and twists and turns, it just didn’t grab me. I wasn’t caught up in it as much as I hoped.

It was good BUT . . . a defining science fiction film? 5/5? Film of the year? I don’t think I’ll remember this by next month.

Maybe it was a case of hype hindering rather than helping. I felt the same for Sicario. Wondering if people had never seen a movie about the underbelly of the Mexican border before.

If Adams wasn’t at the helm, I don’t think my interest would have been grabbed at all. I felt for her character, shared in her grief and frustration as the ever-impending deadline pressed on.

I didn’t hate it. There were genuine moments of suspense and tension. I don’t know how Bradford Young’s grainy cinematography could make a scene look so bleak and beautiful at the same time.

Johann Johannsson’s musical score was sublime. It was perfectly composed and really heightened the mood and emotion of the scenes. Especially in the closing moments.

A clever, well acted, if muddled and drawn out affair for me. It certainly left for food for thought BUT one to remember?

I’ll leave that to you.

3/5

Advertisements

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2 REVIEW

httm2poster2_large

I’d rather have had a shotgun to the d**k than endure this again . . .

That’s what I thought I was going to say.

“What is it? It’s like it’s some kind of . . . hot tub time machine”. Cue the cheeky look at the camera from Craig Robinson.

I literally watched the first installment hours before viewing this. My friends couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it. For all the hype, I expected more.

It wasn’t bad. It was nowhere as stupid as I thought it would be. BUT it got me laughing and for the right reasons. Something I haven’t been able to say for some time.

And now a sequel. Five years later and no Cusack, was it even needed? Did it manage to entertain or did we have a mindless re-tread of the same old thing but just not as good?

Well, we did have a re-tread of the same old thing but it still just about did the job.

When Lou (Rob Corddry) finds himself in trouble, Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) fire up the hot tub time machine in an attempt to get back to the past. But they inadvertently land in the future with Adam Jr (Adam Scott). Now they have to alter the future in order to save the past – which is really the present.

It never felt like we left them. Lou is reaping the benefits of changing the future by owning Lougle (Not Google) and the word, Um.

Um . . . You owe me money!

Nick is still having problems with his wife, Courtney. Yeah, that annoyed me the first time round but hey at least he’s a music mogul. Delivering hit after stolen hit. I gotta feeling. “Wait a minute. I think I got a song coming”.

While Jacob is wandering around a giant mansion, dressed as a butler and dealing with the fact that Lou is his father.

Corddry was everything you expected. Loud, in your face, mental and a little irritating to begin with. Just like the first one. I think that was kind of the point but he really did go on.  I prayed for something to happen to him.

Luckily, something did. For proper Hot Tub fans, the result was exactly what you’d expect. There was a lazy red herring sub plot going on in the background (Without spoiling too much) that was so boring and predictable. BUT it wasn’t long before the guys were back in the tub and causing more havoc.

I loved all the little in-jokes. You could say it was lazy but it worked. I would recommend you see the first one to understand some of the better gags. The massive squirrel statue might go over people’s heads.

As soon as the guys are getting wasted in the tub, it ticked all the boxes. The snappy one liners, the funny insults, the random mascot, Chevy!

Chevy is looking old. To be honest, his cameo was literally 30 seconds. I was hoping he would pop up throughout like the first one BUT with Jacob stocked up with the “Know How” (The “know how” being his encyclopedic knowledge of sci-fi movies), it did deem him a little unnecessary. It was still good to see ol’ Clark Griswald.

“Everything is always Terminator!” The endless sci-fi movie references to explain the timey wimey guff definitely played up my nerd side; Fringe, Looper, Back to the Future. That definitely got a titter or two out of me. “Nerrd, nerrrd and no one likes you”.

Sorry! Robinson and Corddry’s improvised nerd song every time Jacob discussed some plot exposition is a joke I know I’ll be using on my mates for the foreseeable future.

The film constantly toys with the appearance of Cusack. But I will warn you now, there is definitely NO John Cusack. His non-appearance and the constant promise of his return was as disappointing as Charlie Sheen’s no show in the Two and a Half Men finale.

I was disappointed that Cusack wasn’t in it for at least a blink and you’ll miss it cameo. I didn’t think his character was that funny but he seemed to be the anchor that weighed down this drug induced voyage from going out and out bonkers! I also expected Crispin Glover to appear with some hand related shenanigans. NO! Nadda not a zip!

Gillian Jacobs (another Community regular after Griswald) was pretty . . . good. What? She played Adam Jr’s ditsy fiance well and delivered the finest movie title reference punch line EVER! No SPOILERS but bravo!

It was a bit hokey and incredibly lazy in how they roped Adam’s son into the mix but luckily there was enough rapid one liners and shenanigans to take your attention off it.

Adam Scott managed to make his bland character a lot funnier and memorable than I expected. His taste of a new superdrug and his “God like” abilities were ludicrous, stupid but funny as hell.

The future backdrop was ripe for opportunities. The problem is they seem to go for the predictable ones. The drugs, the booze, the birds. Still funny to watch but it felt a little too much like the first.

A virtual simulation challenge in a demented reality TV show called ‘Choozy Doozy’ (a show in which the audience sets a challenge and the celebrity must do it) managed to out-gross a certain bathroom bet scene in Hot Tub. Oh yeah, that’s right. If you don’t know what I mean, good luck. Disgusting but so funny!

Hot Tub 2 cranks it up to 11. For some, it will be a breath of fresh air. For others, they’ll pull a face like they’ve just discovered a foul smell.

BUT the guys still kept it watchable. The endless “You look like . . .” gags shouldn’t have worked but they did. “You like Gandalf the poor!”, “You like you should be advising Lando Clarissian”.

The banter was on point. Lou and Jacob’s constant put downs of Nick’s future hit, “The Webber Strutt” comparing his dance moves to dick picking from a tree got a snort from this nerd.

The whole futuristic auto-piloted Smart Cars that fed off people’s emotions was an interesting concept. The thought of a car taking a hit out on Lou was funny to start with but it never really went anywhere. And then you realise, hang on. Lou is trying to be killed by a car. What?!

The last 20 minutes or so did go on. It got a whole lot crazier, a whole lot sillier (Adam Jr’s balls swell up from a sustained superdrug overdose. Cue a syringe, swearing and lots of liquid. YUCK!) and REPETITIVE.

It fizzed out and ended so ridiculously corny by the end. Lou coming to accept that he is a terrible husband, father, etc. Boo hoo. Cue an inevitable father/son confrontation with Jacob. It’s all so hammy. Look, I know the time travelling concept was always THE joke but the plot holes were just terrible.

It was reprieved slightly by an unexpected ending (that definitely hints at another) and a credit sequence that matched 22 Jump Street in bonkersville!

It doesn’t deserve the low rating it received on IMDb. It’s big, dumb, rude and stupid. BUT it delivered the laughs and killed the time. NOT perfect by any means BUT if you’re up for a laugh, it ain’t half bad.

2.5/5

PROJECT ALMANAC REVIEW

Project-Almanac-poster

21 and Over meets The Butterfly Effect. And believe me, I’m making it sound more interesting that it was.

It’s not all bad. In fact, it was quite watchable.

BUT then again . . . How many times have I used that old chestnut?

So what’s it about? A group of teens discover secret plans of a time machine, and construct one. However, things start to get out of control.

As soon as the opening sequence began with that inevitable and irritating shaky handheld camera, I sighed.

However, despite the disorienting camera work, it zipped along.

It established the geeky characters quickly with a humourous segment that you’d expect to see more on The Gadget Show than in a feature film.

The first 20 minutes was corny but set up Jonny Weston’s David (Chasing Mavericks) as he desperately tries to earn a scholarship at MIT while dealing with trying to woo the girl that doesn’t know he exists and blah blah blah.

Geeks trying to get laid and fall in love. The usual guff.

That is until . . .

David finds an old home movie of his 7th birthday party and catches his “present day self” walking in the background. Cue the rest of the movie.

“So you’re telling me. Dad left a time machine in the basement”.

The premise is ridiculous and full of plot holes BUT what I will commend is that the cast don’t take it too seriously. A weakness that strengthens this film and makes it a lot more fun.

Stupid BUT fun. The acting is a little bland. Ironically on some of the more serious moments of the film.

The guys’ breeze through the scientific mumbo jumbo as much as possible. Something about temporal relocation aided with endless time travel movie references (Terminator 1-4, Looper, Back to the Future).

Oh and of course, let’s not forget the infamous Time Paradox chalkboard that magically appears in the room when the present day has suddenly changed dramatically!

The film did focus another 20 minutes on the gang fixing said time machine. The geeky gadgetry sequences were interesting enough. The things you can do with an Xbox 360, huh?

The material hunting wasn’t bad with our nerds breaking into their own high school to steal hydrogen.

The only thing I thought was a little silly. David states to his sister to record everything. Is it a good idea to film yourselves breaking into public property and stealing expensive chemicals in the name of science? Hmmm . . .

The visual effects with the time travel tests was brilliant. Mini tornadoes in water. Tools melting. Various items fusing in the walls.

In total, it’s a good 45 minutes before the gang even actually time travel. Luckily it’s all easy going enough.

When they do time travel, the experience is quite disorienting. The camera work did my eyes in.

It does get a little corny but quite funny. The fact the gang are rejoicing that they travelled back to yesterday was hilarious.

Worried about distorting reality or changing the fabric of time? Nah, all they did was accidentally steal a dog.

Of course, being teenagers, they use time travel to pass exams. Sam Lerner’s Quinn was quite memorable. The numerous attempts he had to take to pass his science exam was funny.

The teacher inevitably changing every question each time he travelled back. Brilliant.

The lottery scene was well done. Who wouldn’t use time travel to try and win it? It was great when the gang realise they wrote down the wrong number and only (I say only) won 2 million out of a 128 million jackpot.

Things do get a little more interesting when they meet their past selves. That’s where the film seems to jump start from its jittery easy going crawl.

Inevitably, there are always consequences when people mess about with the fabric of time. Even if their intentions are good (or a little shallow in David’s case).

I felt the film threw in some little subplots to fill in the void that should have been a meaty story line. Virginia Gardner’s bully plot line came out of nowhere. “You know Christina’s got that bully problem?”

Uh, no. I didn’t. A little payback was rewarding BUT it would have been nice to know why Christina was doing it in the first place. The punchline was badass though.

I felt the romance subplot between David and Sofia Black-D’Elia’s Jessie was so cringey and corny. Any sweeter and I would have vommed.

It’s all done with enough fun and cheesy stupidity to be watchable. The last 20 minutes does get a lot darker and frantic with the paradox effect rearing its ugly head.

The only problem is that after so many classics; Back To The Future, Twelve Monkeys and Doctor Who, the same old thing has to happen. The ever predictable timey wimey guff coming to a nauseating finale (and that was without the aid of the shoddy camera work).

The ending was dire. And to add insult to injury, the main character has the cheek to look at the camera with the cringiest closing line ever.

Give it a go if you’re fed up of re-watching the time travel classics BUT otherwise watch the classics.

2.5/5

If that final scene wasn’t in it, I would have caved and gave this a 3 (Just)!