Sunday, 4 August 2013

Greetings all you covertly perusing horticulturists

My name is Dandy to some, Andy to most and Randolph to those who just aren't paying attention.

This post has been long overdue and much of that is due to my damn Man of Steel review eating up what very little free time I actually have. Never the less, it is a great honour to be added to this blog as guest author and I would be a fool not to make use of it, so here I am.

Now I'm here, first I want to say a big thank you to Zuz for giving me free reign to ramble on about whatever comes to mind (a dangerous business for anyone to take on)

I thought I'd start off with a quick run down on what I've seen over the year; a sort of half yearly review, if you will. True, we are slightly passed the half way mark but I'm going to do it anyway.

You can't stop me, I'm typing now without any hindrance at all. Your precognitive telekinesis is pitiful it would seem.

I digress, so without further a do let's start with:


That's 'movies' for those across the pond, or 'motion pictures' for those pompous individuals that need a slap across the buccae (do be careful of the spelling if you're going to google that)

Cloud Atlas

As far as I'm aware, this was 'panned' harder than Manuel from Fawlty Towers for being too boring, too long, too confusing, too self indulgent and just too plain odd. Never let it be said though that I have let the over-inflated opinion of critics influence my own intrinsic judgment (as well as a slightly pushy girlfriend who wanted to see it rather than Reign of Assassins. Tsk, women eh?) So see it I did and I honestly don't see where all the aversion came from. Yes it does have a tendency to jump around the narrative a bit, a lot of it is open to viewer interpretation and Tom Hank's 'Oirish accent makes Tom Cruise's attempt in Far & Away sound like Gerry Adams but I'm pretty sure that was the point; the mentioned scene was played for laughs and it damn well succeeded. Tom Hanks is a fine actor but everyone knows he can only do two accents convincingly: North American and Southern American (and possibly a fictional middle eastern country as well)

I found Cloud Atlas thought-provoking, eclectic but not jarring, the story flowed well despite the frequent time line shifts, the characters were well defined and at times it was incredible to look at; the cinematography was remarkable. I was enthralled for the majority of the 3 hour plus running time and even better it didn't even feel that long. Heck I got more of an uncomfortable cinema leg cramp watching Cars 2.

I've never read the book so I can't compare it to it's original format but to me Cloud Atlas was a good film with striking visuals, good writing and some truly wonderful performances. It's a shame about a lack of focus due to so many characters and a slightly forgettable conclusion.

Despite this I give it a solid 4 out of 5. One of the better films I've seen all year. It's worth seeing it for the make up effects alone and then seeing if you correctly matched the actor to the right character. A very handy pre end credits section makes it easy to see how right or wrong you were.

The Purge

(premise - for one night every year all crime is legal, including murder)

I loved the concept of this; so much potential for delving into the dark side of human nature, so many possible morality arcs for the characters to experience, so terrifying the idea to be targeted by someone you know for any minor grievance they have against you and yet so many opportunities wasted when it's overall execution comes across as any other B-movie horror/thriller with lazy writing, style over substance visuals, fetish for the dark directing and ridiculous decisions by cliché riddled stock characters including; a slutty school girl, creepy emo kid and a grinning villain who has been watching too much of American Psycho. There is also a plot twist so predictable that even Columbo wouldn't waste his time with "jus' one more question" and an ending that made me a little sad for the world of creative writing.

2.5 out of 5 (a lot of this is for the concept alone)

Man of Steel

Big in depth review on it's way in my own blog, a brief taster of this would be: Cavill good, Shannon bad, kid cape is stupid and Superman is not Jesus (can't see him feeding the sick, the poor and suffering when they're all now under a million tonnes of Metropolis rubble)

Want to know more? Stay tuned to for my Reviews, Rants & Observations

After Earth

Without a doubt the funniest film I have seen all year. It has less conviction than a production of Hamlet performing all their dialogue as Texan cowboys whilst riding unicycles and wearing toilet seats around their necks, only with less emotional turmoil and more Will Smith doing his best impression of a chest of drawers. I'm going to go more in depth in a future post as to why this film fails so spectacularly and yet what emerges from the wreck is a film so unintentionally hilarious it is worth seeing anyway.

I will leave you with this thought; Will Smith's character is called *serious face* General Cypher Raige. Just try saying that out loud and try to keep a straight face. Not easy is it? Also, due to Will Smith being the creator of the story, it means that he created that name for HIMSELF.

That's just the start too, it only gets much worse (or better if you need a good laugh) from there.

As a film the way it is meant to be viewed, a very generous 1 out of 5
As a piece of unrealised satire 3.5 out of 5

World War Z

It's seems to be a running theme this year where upon I will see a trailer and dismiss the film as looking as appealing as a great big pile of garbage unskillfully shaped into a giant turd. World War Z turned out to be another example of 'bad trailer' - not bad film. It's not great but the overall execution of the subject matter is done pretty well. Brad Pitt's character is decently portrayed and from what I remember he doesn't fall into the usual zombie film protagonist cliche of making bad plot decisions as often as he does shooting out undead temporal lobes. It was an enjoyably average film which I was certain was going to be turkey but ended up being a turkey sandwich, with a spattering of cranberry and mayo; kind of hard to swallow but enough dressing to make it digestible

3 out of 5 (also a spattering of cranberry is something that was bewilderingly absent from World War Z. I've never seen a zombie film less visceral)

If music be the food of love then it's time to get out the bibs and show me the roses because next up we have:


Muse (Etihad Arena Manchester)

As much as I enjoyed this gig and the experience of seeing a band who are considered the best live act ever for the first time, I couldn't help but think that venue chosen may not have been the best choice. The 40,000 strong crowd gave it everything they got but a lot of gaps were clearly visible in the stands and towards the back of the throng of fans on the arena floor, this was due to how colossal the Etihad was (maximum seating capacity is 60,000 I believe), also the arena suffered from strangely reserved acoustics and at times even frontman Matt Bellamy's voice seemed lost in the ether, especially using his infamous falsetto. Maybe my overall position in the masses was a factor but to be honest no matter where you are sat or stood during a gig, you should at the very least be able to hear the music. I could hear the music, just not as clearly as I would like

As a band however they were tighter Ebeneezer Scrooge's purse strings and the showmanship displayed with each band member was a joy to see. Obviously Bellamy was at the forefront for the majority but it was good to see bass player Chris Wolstenholme getting his share of the lime light and even singing a solo number himself from The 2nd Law album. To say he was good would be an understatement, in any other band he could easily make it as lead singer. It's just another of many indications as to how talented these guys are. A thoroughly enjoyable evening all around and even the beer was good.

4 out of 5 (the 40,000 was a a guess, please feel free to correct me and I will freely mark you as more pedantic than myself)

Kings Of Leon (MEN Manchester)

Until 2008 I never thought much of Kings Of Leon. I liked the songs Molly's Chambers and On Call whereas their arguably best known hit The Bucket always left me with a feeling of beige indifference. Then I went to Oxegen music festival in Ireland and was firmly slapped in the face by their musicianship and kicked in the yarbles by their stage presence and 'beautiful noise' for good measure. I walked to my tent afterwards, tail between my legs in shock, awe, happiness and able to sing the Bee Gees a little better. Happy days.

I had mixed feelings about seeing them again; I mean, how could they possibly live up to the pressure of being one of the best live performances I have ever seen? I shouldn't have worried a jot. They were just as good if not more so than before. The lighting was inspired, different each time and uncannily relevant for the tone and context of each individual song which in turn counteracted the somewhat basic staging. I think at one point during My Party, Caleb seemed to be having a little trouble with his earpiece but other than that, technical hitches, glitches and twitches were reassuringly absent.

Needless to say I left the gig happy as Larry the laughing Llama and was humming the tune to Holy Roller Novocaine all the way to the bar to line up the cocktails (not that I'm a drunk or anything *hic*)

4.5 out of 5

So there we go, a half a year of entertainment summed up in a few paragraphs. Hope you enjoyed reading and look out for my rants on pop music lyrics. I have a bee so firmly in my bonnet about things like that it's taken up residence and is now claiming housing benefits. There's also going to be a more in-depth reviews for the likes of Now You See Me, Pacific Rim, Monsters University and of course Man of Steel coming soon.

Word out and peace up or however the order goes

Bye for now

Half a year older and deeper in debt


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