Archive for UK movies

The Tournament

Posted in Action/adventure, Movies with tags on May 14, 2014 by Cara Marie

A movie about fight-to-the-death competition for assassins. No, I don’t know why you’d participate either.

So there are three main characters:

  • the assassin who won the last competition three years ago; since then, his wife was murdered in what apparently was an attempt to knock him off – he’s convinced that one of the other assassins did it, and is determined to get his revenge
  • an assassin who actually seems like a nice person (Kelly Hu) – we know this because when confronted with a poor schmuck of a priest, who’s had someone else’s assassin-tracker slipped in his drink, she tries to protect him
  • aforesaid schmuck of a priest, who is introduced getting kicked out of the pub at opening time. Big ups to whoever decided that what this film needed was an alcoholic priest. He is played by Robert Carlyle, who is putting in more effort than he really needs to for this film.

I found this quite enjoyable, but it more as an unintentional comedy than as a serious action movie. There are some particularly incongruous music choices that make it – like the old-timey music played over a montage of death. Read more »

So now I’ve seen all the Neil Marshall

Posted in Action/adventure, Horror, Movies with tags , on June 19, 2012 by Cara Marie

I watched Dog Soldiers this afternoon, which means I’ve seen all Neil Marshall’s movies now. Good times. Dog Soldiers is his first, and it’s clearly the one with the lowest budget. But it’s tight, it’s stylistically coherent … it’s just a really good horror movie.

While I would not give up Doomsday for all the world, Marshall’s horror movies work rather better. I don’t think I ever posted about Centurion when I saw that, but whilst I enjoyed it, I can’t say it was a great movie.

Actually, it was quite funny watching Centurion, because my copy has this serious-film packaging, as if it’s an ‘important’ movie. Which I think put me off watching for a while.

But then I only had to watch it five minutes to see a Roman soldier skewered while taking a piss to remember, oh, right, this is a Neil Marshall film. He’s never one to shy away from gratuitous gore, whether that’s exploding rabbits (Doomsday) or people’s guts falling out (Dog Soldiers). And Centurion was a lot more fun (and less boring) than the reviews I’d read would have me believe.

But then, my love for Doomsday is completely non-ironic. I haven’t exactly got the classiest tastes in the world. But, I am pretty sure Dog Soldiers is actually a good film! Just as long as you’ve got a strong stomach.

Movie night write-up

Posted in Fantasy, Horror, Junior fiction, Movies, Science fiction with tags , , , , on December 21, 2010 by Cara Marie

We started off with Serenity, because L’s family have bought a new tv and he wants to show off his blu-rays. It was a positive start to the evening. My favourite moment is still Mal railing against the idea that you can “make people better”. Probably because that was such a theme in the sci-fi I read as a kid: that your society would constrict you and guide you to be how it wanted, and to prevent that is something worth dying for.

Okay, so the results of the Miranda experiment are a little more fatal than those in the books I’m thinking of, but they stem from the same desire.

While I am speaking of abominations, we followed up Serenity with Transformers. People who watched this as a child think of it with a fondness I cannot understand. They also rave about the soundtrack. Which I suppose was okay, but really, as far as I can tell the movie was simply an excuse to kill all the old Transformers and replace them with new ones. It is action scene after action scene, and it is utterly boring.

It is no wonder L has no respect for the personhood of robots, having grown up on this. He did comment that you would never see this kind of violence in a kids’ movie about people.

The Descent, on the other hand, I liked a lot. Horror movies often don’t do much to freak me out: it turns out what you do is stick in some spelunking and scenes that hit my fear of heights and I’m ready to jump. This wasn’t true for everyone.

It was kind of sad that this was a horror movie, because (though the horror is signposted) the first half is very much an adventure, focusing on the six women, their physical strength, competence and determination. The women think they’re exploring one cave system, but the leader, Juno, has taken them to another, unmapped and unnamed. So when a tunnel caves in behind them, they don’t know if there’s any way out. I would have been quite happy if it had stayed an adventure story; I enjoyed it as a horror, but it didn’t feel as fresh.

Juno, the one who got them into trouble, is my favourite character, because she’s so recklessly ambitious.* She hasn’t told them where they’re going, and their rescue plan has been filed for the wrong location, but they are experienced and prepared. Even with the cave in, the accidents, there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t have got out alive except for spoilers!

Movies I have been watching

Posted in Fantasy, Horror, Movies with tags , on August 11, 2010 by Cara Marie

A few Saturdays ago, it came out that I had never seen Fight Club. “What!” says A. “How can you not have seen Fight Club?”

“It’s old!”

“But you’re always having movie nights. How can you not have seen it?”

“Obviously the boys have been remiss.”

Then she gets this smile, and says, “Ah, that means you don’t know the twist.”

“I didn’t even know there was a twist,” I say.

When I was at high school, a lot of the boys did watch Fight Club. They then decided it would be fun to beat each other up in the playground. Clearly, I decided, Fight Club was a stupid movie, for stupid teenage boys. I had no interest in watching it.

But now A tells me there’s a twist, and she won’t tell me what it is. So the next Monday after school, I visit the video shop. The clerk and I wonder which section it’s shelved in (‘thriller’). “It’s a bit of a guys’ movie,” he says, and I say, “That’s okay, most of the movies I watch are guys’ movies.” He gets a bit apologetic.

I go home, I go up to my room where no-one can walk in on me, and I put on the movie. This is the reason I got a flash new monitor – secret movie watching.

Halfway through, I decide they’ve shelved it in the wrong place. It should be with the comedies. I also decide it’s an illustration of why young men should not repress their homosexuality, at least up until I realise what’s the twist is going to be. And then I kind of wished it had been Edward Norton the whole time. He was hot when he was mean.

Other movies I have been remiss in not seeing: 28 Days Later! What a bad Cillian Murphy fan I am. What a bad fan of the post-apocalyptic. After watching Inception, I decided I really need to rectify this. I did not even have to go to the video store this time, because I had actually borrowed the movie from my cousin … a couple of years ago. Bad, bad, bad.

Is it stating the obvious to say that I loved it?

Part of the reason was when they got taken in by the soldiers, and I flashed back to Aliens 3, like, great, how long before they try and rape the women. Which is a very uncomfortable feeling, and part of why I think Aliens 3 was such an abomination. But 28 Days Later didn’t just brush it aside. And they went there. They went there, and it was just so utterly, satisfyingly condemnatory. No excuses made. That is when I fell in love with the movie.

Which isn’t to say it’s not also horrifically violent. It’s a zombie movie, but the most awful violence in the film is between the living.

On the lighter side, Cillian Murphy spends a lot of time naked or shirtless. It actually got distracting during the gore sequences, which may have been a good thing. Also, when the zombie contagion is spread by blood, I would not go kissing someone whose face was covered in blood. Just saying.

Ink I was given by a friend, and I went into it knowing nothing about it. The way it begins is very weird: we see this band of people zapping into the world, and then they seem to show us people’s dreams. We see many people’s dreams, only one of which will be revisited.

And here is what I was not expecting: it is an honest-to-goodness fantasy film. Urban fantasy, yes, which is not so unusual, but with other realms that we actually see. And I was really pleased with that, I was pleased with the guts of it. Particularly considering the low budget of the movie – it still managed to be quite gorgeous, and made good choices in what it needed to pull off the fantasy. I think I’ll have to show it to L, for that reason.

The central story is really the relationship between a man and his daughter, and how the man fails as a father, and fails as a person. The fantasy aspect is the people who twist time and reality to let him get beyond that. If you think about it too much, it is paradoxical, yes, but then I have a fairly low tolerance for time travel. I didn’t mind.

I probably would have liked more of the other worlds, actually, how it is that the Storytellers come to do what they do, why they do what they do. I suppose they are angels, really, with another name. I would have liked more of them.

And on that other recent movie about dreams: you know what I really want to see? The version where it’s a high school musical, not a heist. Think of the possiblities!

Quantum of Solace

Posted in Action/adventure, Movies with tags , , on May 3, 2009 by Cara Marie

Quantum of Solace starts with a car chase. You don’t know why there’s a car chase; you can barely tell who’s chasing whom. Apparently it involves a “grey Aston Martin” and a “black Alfa Romeo”, but they both look black to me. It’s badly cut and hard to follow.

Things don’t really get any better after that. The movie’s a collection of poorly edited action scenes, strung together with the flimsiest of plots. It’s not unentertaining, but the quality-wise… yeah, it’s pretty awful. At least it’s short!

I can’t fault the actors, who were let down by the lack of a coherent story. Judi Dench as M is awesome. I also liked Camille – I had to look at the DVD case to find her name, admittedly, because I don’t know if she and Bond ever actually introduced themselves! I liked that she had her own motivations and got her own revenge.

The women in the movie as a whole rocked. Even Ms Fields, despite her unfortunate demise, had great character. It does seem that sleeping with Bond is a sure way to get yourself killed…

The villains, alas, were dull. I could get behind the revenge stories (to the extent that I could parse them) but the bad guys weren’t scary. It’s not like ‘wants to take control of country’s water supply’ hasn’t made for a good villain before!

Overall, it was disappointing. Clarity is a good thing, guys! You want people to know what’s going on. And you want them to give a damn. You don’t want one viewer to turn to another the next day and say, “I still can’t believe how dreadful that was.” That’s never a good sign.

Yes, I am a loner who goes to see films all by herself

Posted in Fantasy, Middle fiction, Movies with tags , , , on November 25, 2005 by Cara Marie

My sister and I went to Harry Potter today. Seperately. But it was still nice, because we got to talk about it when we got home. It was so good! It was better than the sixth book, god damn it. It made me want to be a Harry Potter fan again.

So, let’s just cut the ranting…