Thursday, 29 September 2011

What's your favourite movie ever?

Possibly one of the hardest movie questions you could ever face, or then again it may be very easy, I want to know what your favourite movie is, and why. Purely for fun, it can be a simple title and a one sentence reason or a more detailed explanation. Let's see what interesting answers we get. And in the meantime I will reveal mine...

Of all the films that have ever been released I would have to say that Donnie Darko is my all-time favourite. Before I reveal the reason why let us familiarise ourselves with what the movie is about for all those who do not know.

2001's Donnie Darko, directed by Richard Kelly, stars Jake Gyllenhaal as the title character, a troubled teenager who is involved in a near-death experience when the engine of a plane crashes through his bedroom. Luckily Donnie is not in his room when it hits and the main reason for this is a man dressed in a bunny suit named Frank. Donnie has constant visions of Frank and is manipulated by this character whom only he can see.

It would appear that the supernatural has somehow saved Donnie's life and he aims to look further into the recent events in his life to find further meaning. But with visions of Frank increasing with time and his mental state taking a battering it seems, can Donnie find answers before it is too late?

What makes Donnie Darko so special in my opinion is the openness of the film and it truly is one of those movies where your opinion of the events ultimately counts. Your perception of the events in the movie and the eventual ending are very important as this is a film that essentially lets you make up your own theory for how the film pans out.

In addition, this was the film that launched Jake Gyllenhaal's career and rightly so, he is a revelation in such a difficult role to put across to audiences, especially with a strong support cast that includes Noah Wyle, Drew Barrymore and the late Patrick Swayze. 

So there you have it there's my favourite movie but what is yours?? Leave your comments and let's get this topic hotting up!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Review - Unknown

After the fantastic Taken, I was hugely anticipating another great action flick from Liam Neeson in the form of Unknown.
Check out my review of the blu ray below.

Dr Martin Harris (Neeson) is a successful scientist with a beautiful wife (January Jones) and a career that is seeing him present in various seminars to some of the profession’s top personnel, things could not be any better. That is until a trip to Berlin goes terribly wrong. Arriving at a hotel, Martin realizes he has forgotten his suitcase and left it at the airport, and immediately heads back to retrieve the missing luggage. En route to the airport, his taxi is involved in a crash and plunges into the river, with Harris barely surviving, saved only by the quick thinking of the taxi driver, Gina (Diane Kruger), who soon flees.

Waking up in a hospital bed following a four day coma, his memory is initially blank but when it returns it appears that all is not what it seems. Identity-wise, nobody knows who he is and when looking for his wife and finding her, she blankly refuses all knowledge of who he is, and there is another man who seems to have stolen his identity. The question is how and why? Or is he not who he thinks he is? In an attempt to uncover the truth, he manages to track down the taxi driver who was involved in the car accident with him and together they work to uncover the truth whilst fending off a series of henchmen clearly sent to silence them. With their lives both in danger, can Martin and Gina escape the threat and finally uncover the secrets to Martin’s identity?

With such an intriguing premise, Unknown had all the signs to be the next Taken and was even dubbed this in the lead-up to release, unfortunately this is far from the case. Despite some promise coming from the initial unfolding of Martin Harris’ loss of identity, the film stutters along at an unsteady pace without a hint of Taken’s brilliance whatsoever. Neeson is solid, as ever, in the action thriller lead but he has very little support worth mentioning and is often isolated in attempting to salvage the viewers’ interest. Ultimately the pay-off and resolution to the story is different but rather unsatisfying mainly due to the fact that by the time you reach the finale little has helped to convince you that an answer is worth finding out. Disappointing really as Neeson’s Taken follow-up had the promise to match its predecessor.

Film Rating: 2 F’s out of 5

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Review: Killer Elite

That's right people, once again Jason Statham is back for yet another action movie, this time along with Robert De Niro and Clive Owen. Check out my review for Killer Elite below.

Based on the controversial book by Ranulph Fiennes, Killer Elite sees us following Danny Bryce (Statham) and hunter (De Niro), experienced mercenaries not to be messed with. When a routine hit on a Mexican leader ends with a child being involved Danny decides it is time to go straight and retires to Australia. 

Unfortunately his settled life is short lived when he receives a package stating that Hunter has been kidnapped and being held in Oman by a sheikh. jetting off to save his lifelong friend, Danny is soon tasked with a mission in order to secure the safe release of his closest partner. The mission, to avenge the death of the sheikh's three sons and kill the SAS men who murdered them, with no evident trace that they have been killed. In addition, the sheikh wants a recorded message of all three men admitting to the murders, a task that will not be easy.

Heading to England, Danny attempts to track down the SAS personnel with help from some close friends but soon attracts the attention of a group named 'The Feather Men', one of those who is Spike (Owen), a retired SAS soldier who 'still believes he is a soldier'. With this mentality he becomes a thorn in the side of Danny and a cat-and-mouse game ensues between the two.

Killer Elite showed promise in its trailer and with the leading talent consisting of three highly regarded actors the formula looked all well and good. Unfortunately the high octane action failed to go beyond a few loud gunshots and explosions, and a rather mediocre fight between Statham and Owen. Plot-wise, being based on real life it worked fairly well but with some unnecessary twists and turns along the way it did at times become a little baffling.

For a film that showed promise Killer Elite was a bitter disappointment and I think it is fair to say that our leads won't be holding this film in such high regard compared to some of their previous efforts in the action thriller bracket.

Film rating: 2 F's out of 5

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

So, now that Fanatical Film has received its very own facelift and re-vamp what better way to start than with a review to one of the most anticipated British films in years. That's right, check out the view on Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Based on the John Le Carré 1974 novel, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a showcase of classic storytelling mixed in with one of the best British ensemble casts ever to be seen on screen. With Gary Oldman on main character duties and a support cast consisting of the likes of Toby Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch and Colin Firth to name a few, the film has all the required elements to be a big success.

Set during the times of The Cold War, we follow George Smiley (Oldman), a retired British Intelligence officer who is forced back into the field in order to hunt down a mole in the organisation who has been sitting at the top for years. With the help of sidekick Peter Guillam (Cumberbatch), he begins an investigation within 'The Circus' and slowly works his way through the possible suspects, hoping to find that one link that will lead him to the traitor.

Don't be fooled by a simple-sounding premise, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a far cry from this and instead contains a rather convoluted plot with a wide array of characters that all require your attention. If you go in to the film expecting James Bond you have been extremely misinformed, Tinker Tailor is in a whole different world to your favourite action spy; a slow-burner it certainly is with some absolutely fantastic acting. Oldman excels as George Smiley, even to the point where his first 15 to 20 minutes of screen time mostly consist of him hardly speaking and simply commanding with facial expressions. As for the talented support, all those involved shine even with the little screen time that some individuals receive.

The essence of the Cold War era is also captivating, with a dark and dreary mood constant throughout and some brilliant set pieces and locations really sticking to the era perfectly. There are no high octane scenes aimed to wow the audience but instead a great build up of tension and a full sense of realism is transferred to the audience through brilliant dialogue and intriguing characters. The finale may be predictable to some but this is not the main focus of director Tomas Alfredson (Let The Right One In), he aims to engage the audience with the lead up to the event and does so exceptionally mainly through dialogue which will be hard to match in any other film this year.

Fanatical Film rating: 4 F's out of 5


After some neglect towards my blog I am finally relaunching and with this relaunch comes a new look to the site.

I have changed the colour scheme and image completely and am now going to dedicate more time to giving you all updated film reviews whenever I see something new.

I hope you all enjoy the new layout and my new look reviews, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter here.


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Cinema Review - Friends With Benefits

Okay so the premise of Friends With Benefits isn't something new, Natalie Portman's No Strings Attached already taking the idea of friends having a non emotional sexual relationship, but the question you have to ask yourself, who's the better pairing, Portman and Kutcher or Kunis and Timberlake?

Despite the main idea being identical to No Strings Attached, FWB is very much its own movie, in the sense that it doesn't take itself too seriously and has a wonderful pairing in the form of Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis in the lead roles as Dylan and Jamie respectively. 

Dylan and Jamie are very similar, in the fact that they have both just been dumped by their partners in relationships that they both didn't particularly need. Moving on with their lives they are very much in love with their work. 

Dylan is a high flying internet genius in Los Angeles who is head-hunted for a new job at  GQ magazine in New York, and Jamie is the executive recruiter who is tasked with convincing Dylan that New York is the next step in his working life. With the persuasion tactics of Jamie, he soon takes the job and the pair strike an instant connection, leading to them become great friends. 

In the weeks to come they spend lunchtimes together, enjoy watching movies and having a general chat about their lives, how much relationships suck and how much they both miss sex. Then they both have a great idea to have sex with each other with strictly no emotions whatsoever, simple right?

You would think so, but eventually this 'arrangement' has to end and the two decide that trying out for other relationships would be for the best. When that idea falls on its head it becomes apparent that there could be a special spark between Dylan and Jamie, but with denial in their heads could this be a lost chance at happiness for the pair?

Not particularly tackling the most common relationship subject is what actually makes Friends With Benefits a thoroughly enjoyable ride, that and the fantastic chemistry between Kunis and Timberlake. Tackling some very raunchy scenes must have been very difficult but the two stars of the show that they can do it with ease and slot into their roles with such ease.

Providing a whole lot of laughs, the main twosome enjoy their pair-up and are helped along the way with a great performance from Woody Harrelson playing Dylan's gay workmate. Essentially if you're a fan of rom-coms and don't mind a bit of raunchiness thrown in then you are in safe hands with Friends With Benefits. 

Film rating (out of 5 stars): 3

The lowdown: Kunis and Timberlake work off each other with perfection and with the help of Harrelson provide plenty of laughs. A good solid rom-com with heart. Expect more of Kunis and Timberlake in lead roles. 

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Cinema review - The Inbetweeners Movie

If you've never heard of The Inbetweeners or never seen an episode you may well have been living in a hole somewhere as it is one of the funniest programmes to hit TV screens for years. with small screen success inevitably comes the transition to the big screen and this year's summer comedy offering from the UK comes in the form of the four losers in life.

School has finally ended and its a coming of age for all the pupils at Rudge Park Comprehensive, especially for our four favourite school leavers, Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas), Jay (James Buckley) and Neil (Blake Harrison). Unfortunately the downfalls of their school lives immediately follow them upon leaving, with Simon being dumped by girlfriend Carli, Jay's granddad passing away and Will's father announcing he is marrying his mistress who is almost the same age as Will.

But with Jay receiving money from his grandfather's will and the promise of sun, sea, sex and more sex, the lads decide that the best cure is a holiday that will never be forgotten in Malia, Crete. Sooner than we know it we are whisked off to the exotic island and a whole new series of embarrassing moments for the boys await.

Greeted at their hotel by the owner holding a dead dog and announcing that a €50 fine will be applied each time somebody craps on the floor, the holiday does not begin too promising but the clubs and the girls await our fantastic four.

Reaching the strip after preening themselves to perfection the lads head to a bar and instantly find it to be empty, until a group of four girls enter and put themselves at a table at the other side of the club. Sensing an opportunity Jay uses his wisdom to announce that the ladies need to be wooed by dance as opposed to awkward conversation. Cue a fantastically hilarious scene with Neil showcasing his trademark robot dancing and eventually Will and Simon joining in, with laugh-out-loud reaction.

Needless to say, following a rather odd introduction, the boys get to know the girls and the holiday soon turns out to be exactly what they had hoped, an adventure with their prize at the end hopefully to be 'clunge'.

Starting off where the TV series began, The Inbetweeners movie offers a story that viewers of all ages can relate to and this is the feature which often puts it apart from the rest of the crowd and helps achieve constant belly laughs. The formula is a winner with all characters having an equal part to play, from Will showing his sophisticated side all too often, Simon obsessing over 'true love' Carli, Jay achieving borderline sex pest status and Neil bumbling along not understanding half of what is going on.

It's these types of characters we all love and despite a slight expectation that this could have seemed more like a feature length episode more than anything a movie was the best move to cap off a hugely successful UK comedy.  All parties put in a stellar performance and some of the situations the writers put the boys in are both cringe-worthy and hilarious in equal proportions. This truly is a hit for the summer. 

Film rating (out of 5 stars): 4

The lowdown: Keeping to the formula that made the TV show so memorable, this is the outing we all were looking forward to for The Inbetweeners and it does not fail to deliver. Laugh-a-minute entertainment at its best and a fine send off for a great set of characters.