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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Football Manager 2011 [Game Review]

If you're thinking of buying this game albeit the 2011 version or the 2012 one set to be released in not to distant future prepare to kiss goodbye to your social life, because football manager will consume everything in its bask of nerdy simulation glory, trust me i know. The majority of my first year at university was spent either getting drunk or being sat around the kitchen table with my mates trash talking eachother and bragging about how our teams are better than eachothers . . . Of course i started as MK Dons, so naturally my team sucked.

The game is a long long throw away from its original heydays of Championship manager from the 90s in FM2011 there are over 50 nations, 100 leagues and thousands upon thousands of players as well as the the little polished touches such as real life journalists and media publications. Its fair too say the game itself is pretty complicated to the football management newcomer, but it only takes a few hours of play to get into the swing of things, and once you have gotten into that swing the game grips you like a drug addiction.

The biggest problem i found upon starting this game was that there is so much choice i struggled to pick a time to begin with and like myself, its likely that you're going too struggle to find a team you feel comfortable with for a while and you may find yourself restarting a few times. Once you have found the team you intend to take onto glory (For example lets say i took Charlton Athletic) the game begins in pre season, where you find yourself with a set ammount of funds from your chairman and you have a month or so to improve your team with signings, set tactics for the upcoming season and play in some friendlies. Which to a seasoned football manager veteran, can get a little bit boring after the first 10 pre seasons. It could take up to an hour alone for pre season to be over and done with once all the tweaking has been completed before you even play your first league match. And a good few days to a week to complete your season if you're truely dedicated too seeing your team acheive promotion and the time put in is truely worth it.

The 3D match engine is a vast improvement on past football manager titles where for each match your team would a set of coloured blobs running around the pitch which was uglier than a league 2 tuesday night fixture in november, although its nothing to write home about and it'll be interesting to see how it is improved upon soon enough. Notable flaws for me were the tedious press confrences, before and after each match, i found myself answering the same questions week in week out and i ended up sending my assistant manager to deal with them, which doesnt always work out for the best.

Football Manager as per usual though rises above its flaws and continues to take the gaming world by storm cementing it place as number one for simulation and management games out there today. I highlyhighly reccomend you buy this from the steam store or from a retail outlet on the cheap now the new title is coming out soon if you're curious about the series but not too sure. I myself intend to devote many more depressingly commited hours too seeing my Derby County side fail in game and in real life only resulting in multiple counts me quitting the game and restarting in a nerdy rage and i hope i've given you the push in the right direction to joining the wonderful nerdy world of Football Management.

Overall Grade: A+

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Despicable Me (2010) - Chris Renaud

From the moment the movie began i found myself with a goofy grin slapped across my face as this feel good animation about a career super villain named Gru (Steve Carell is his voice actor) who resides in his secret lair (Situated in an suburban american housing estate no less white picket fence and all) had me laughing at every silly joke thrown at us, jokes mainly set up by the wonderful little yellow 'tic-tac' like creatures who act as Gru's personal minions.

Unfortunately for Gru a new super villain hits town 'Vector' and it is more or less evident to the super villain world that Gru is aging and past it, so much so that the bank of evil rejects his pleas for a loan which would of allowed him to forfill his childhood dreams and go to the moon ... and then consiquently steal it! In order to gain the loan he so desperately needs for his evil scheme he needs to steal the coverted shrink ray, which he does indeed manage for all of two minutes when his younger counterpart Vector steals it from him in his plan to steal Gru's thunder.

After failed attempts to get back his so desperately needed shrink ray he comes up with the genius idea of using Vectors love for cookies too get back the most valuable of possesions by adopting three adorable orphan girls who he plans using to get his way into Vectors lair, although of course it isnt all that easy in a fun filled 95 minutes we see Gru warm to the children in a realisation that fatherhood is quite his style.

This is a feel good film that had me smiling from start to finish, especially with the brilliant voice acting from Steve Carell and Russell Brand (For the part of Dr Nefario). All in all it had the feel of a Pixar movie even though it perhaps wasnt the most original of films, i felt that i this is a film that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike and is defiently worth a watch!

Overall Grade: B-

WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 [Game Review]

The ever popular WWE Smackdown vs Raw series is back for its 12th installment this year and like anything thats getting on in age, tiredness and wear and tear begin to show. The game itself is as per usual a great addition to the franchise but like time and time again we're greeted with the same glitchy mechanics and positioning system that has plagued the series for so long.

With each new WWE release per year we expect a new breath of life to be given to the franchise which in fairness THQ & Yukes have noteably given it a shot this time round, but not to the extent we would of liked to have seen. It seems to most of us that they've just slightly updated SVR 2010s winning formula which isnt always a bad thing. The game includes 70 wrestlers which leaves us more than spoilt for choice when it comes to taking on friends in the one of the tons of gamemodes offered, although a fair few of the wrestlers will need to be unlocked from Road to wrestlemania mode and WWE Universe.

If you're yet to play this series you will be asking yourself, what the hell is WWE Universe? Well, Universe is a combination of career mode and exhibition mode which is basically a never ending calender of matchups that you can edit to your desire. You make the matchups on Raw, Smackdown or Superstars. You cant just decide hey, i want The Undertaker to be the new Heavyweight champion you have to make each superstar earn the title by booking them in matches each week forcing them to climb their way to the #1 contenders spot, which when the time comes for that superstar to take their title shot at a pay per view event there is more of a feeling of acheivement afterwards. This and the highly in depth create modes (i.e. Create a superstar, finisher, entrance and cutscenes) make this installment one of the most immersive to date.

As for the Road to Wrestlemania mode if truth be told i wasnt a huge fan, i much prefered the older SVR titles in which i could play as any superstar and follow one of a few paths throughout the game. Thats not to say i didnt enjoy certain wrestlers RTWM campaigns most notably Chris Jerichos, but i felt that the free roaming backstage was ridgid and very samey if at all necessary. I've not got much else to say with regards to this gamemode.

Growing up watching the WWE and playing the games i'll always have that nerdy little love for the series of games and television show so i'm naturally going to suggest to you all that this game is a must buy, especially if you're one of those gamers who likes to sit down with your mates and immerse yourselves in a bit of mindless and ridiculous gaming in which you see a 300+ pound man jump from the top of a steel cell only to miss and faceplant the mat below.

Overall Grade: B-

Monday, 29 August 2011

David Guetta - Nothing But The Beat [Album Review]

Entrepreneur of the decks, David Guetta the frenchman who has lit the music industry on fire in the last few years churning out hit after hit thats been popular on mainstream radio and in clubs consistantly, a feat that in the long run hasnt been matched by anyone, Guetta truely is the best in the trade. In recent times Guetta has moved onto bringing out dance hits with more of an urban edge about them which is very much evident in his latest album (released today) Nothing But The beat.

Nothing But The Beat features a whole host of high profile r&b/Hip-hop artists that are all held in high prestige, looking at the tracklistings and seeing collaborations with artists such as Nicki Minaj, Flo Rida, Snoop Dogg, Usher, Will-i-am, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Akon, Jessie J, Jennifer Hudson, Timbaland, Afrojack and Sia you know you're in for a treat if you're into the Urban-dance hits that Guetta is becoming more and more renowned for.

All of the tracks on the first cd of this album seem like they could be singles of their own which is brilliant for Guetta and the fans of course, their are even songs on the album which i could see doing veryvery well if released, for example one that took me surprise was Titanium ft. Sia. Given a bit more edge and spice this could be a top track in the future. The tracks Disc 2 of this album is pretty much what you would expect of a Guetta track each sound like they would fit nicely in a crowded nightculb although they sadly dont have the edge unlike the vocal tracks on the first disc which is fairly understandable.

All in all its a quality album, although personaly i beleive theres a little bit too much crammed in at times that doesnt seem like it should be on the album (Mostly disc 2). All that being said i'm most likely being very biased as i'm a true lover of the Guettas previous albums which included more club hits rather than the urban hits featured in Nothing But The Beat.

Overall Grade: C+

Final Destination 5 (2011) - Steven Quale

This is the fifth installment of the highly acclaimed horror franchise final destination, both loved and despised by movie goers alike, just like its counterparts in the genre, Saw and Scream who both also have had long and succesful franchises, although it Final destination follows the same concept throughout all five of their films they do so with a creative premise unlike most horror flicks.

The movie begins with the obvious stiff and ridgid character development in which we get to know who we're too root for and hate throughout the film, as well as of course the traditional Final destination 'vision' scene in which we see the main character vision the huge disaster about to fall upon them all. Its not until a fair bit into the film that we really get into the flow of things and we are treated to some slow to build up but never the less, stomach turning death scenes.

In all truthfullness this film didnt do a very good job in comparison to its former films and at times i found myself cringing at some of the scenes, and of course the acting wasnt at all brillaint as the film never does cast high profile actors for their roles. But to any hardcore fan of the final destination series or occult horror series' in general this film is quite the delight, the director has stuck to his guns and has kept in some of the things that we've seen in all of the past films such as the subtle hints before something bad is going to happen, its the small things that make this movie worth it really (As well as the gruesome deaths obviously!).

As i was nearing the final ten-twenty minutes i discovered an absolutely huge plothole which ruined the final scenes for me and it absolutely drove me nuts, but i'm not going to reveal that here so that the film isnt ruined for anybody else. But never fear just as i was ready to write a scaving review on how much this annoyed me and brought the film in my estimations there was light at the end of the tunnel, there is an absolutely HUGE twist at the end of the film which had me gasping in delight, i would reccomend you watch this film but dont expect to love it if you're not a huge fan of the franchise already.

Overall Grade: C-

Rugby World Cup 2011 [Game Review]

As a huge rugby fan myself this game has been a cause of excitement for some months as its a very long time since a rugby game has been released on a console since the days of the original xbox, upon release day i made sure i had a copy of the game, sadly though i've been hardly impressed by the long awaited titile.

Like many other rugby and gaming fans, i feel slightly robbed by Hb studios and 505games, all in all it seemed like a 'lite' version of the real game as there is a HUGE lack of content unlike previous titles which included Tri-Nations, Six-Nations and the Super 15. This title unfortunately only offers the world cup mode and warm up tour mode which is essentially the same thing.

Another fault to add the endless list of faults that unfortunately come with this game is the liscencing, the front cover of the games box has the IRB logo on it which is heavily misleading as the Australian and New Zealand teams are not licensed and the players for a whole host of lesser teams are not real. (Only 10 out of a possible 20 teams are licensed) Other than the pretty neat HD graphics and average commentry this game has nothing to offer and left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth. Surely its only a matter of time before the rugby community receives a good game to rival footballs FIFA?

We can only hope ...

Overall Grade: D-

Fable 3 [Game review]

Fable 3 is Lionheads third installment to the ever popular series that allows the player to pick between vast moral choices which influence the games outcome in all of the series' titles. Of course this game was always going to an excellent well thought out masterpeice which has been highly anticipated by the gaming community ever since completing the flawless Fable II (Which has to be possibly be one of my all time favourite games).

The game picks up 50 years since the end of the Fable II in the middle of what seems to be an industrial revolution ruled by Tyrant king who happens to be the games heroes brother. You play as either a prince or princess whos job it is to unseat the unpopular tyrant king by amassing an army from across Albion by slowly gaining the trust of each induvidual group of people by completing various quests for them.

The game is split into several different parts in which you see your character develop throughout growing in stature, popularity and strength. You are joinined in the game by several key characters which are by your side pretty much throughout the whole storyline, most notably Walter (your partner who slides in and out of the game often) and your ever loyal butler Jasper (Voiced by the brilliant John Cleese). The game does include a variety of exciting and not so exciting quests, the latter being your average collect x or kill x ammount of whatever, although we are also treated some brilliant quests injected with humour for example one in which you are shrunk and sent into a group of medival nerds dungeons and dragons style board game which includes brilliant voice acting (Which fable is noted for in all of its games) and several pop culture references.

The combat system in game though sadly is fairly basic and knocks the game down a peg or two in my opinion. You are restricted to one combat attack, one ranged attack and one magic attack which is a huge shame as in previous Fable games you could use several attacks which made for exciting combat, wheras here it gets boring quickly. My only other complaint about the game is despite its great storyline and side quests it all seems pretty linear, the story is so intense at times that i felt rushed to follow and complete the storyline rather than explore towns buy propertys and customise my character which made Fable 1 & 2 so exciting.

All in all though, i highly reccomend the purchase of this game if a strong storyline with beautiful scenery a great soundtrack, humerous voiceacting and a good few hours of immersive play coupled is what you're looking for.

Overall Grade: B-

Passion Pit - Manners [Album Review]

Electro-Indie is one of the evergrowing genres to grace our soundwaves in recent years with bands and artists such as Klaxons, MGMT, Darwin Deez and Tokyo Police Club hitting a global audience with some great anthems that have really stood out in a crowd of ever growing diversity on the music scene.

Passion Pit are one of the newcomers from the US who have popped up in three or so years who formed after Michael Angelakos created a few tracks for an EP on his laptop which he made as a belated valetines gift for his girlfriend, after several gigs around Boston and the addition of a few bandmembers their tracks were picked up by record label Frenchkiss and they've never looked back since.

Their debut album Manners which has blown people away have had additional exposure with their most popular hit Sleepyhead being used in several television shows and adverts (Most notably used in an episode of Skins and for the littlebigplanet 2 advert) and several more of the albums songs have been used in hit television shows such as Ugly Betty and Gossip Girl.

The Albums melodic and chilled out tracks may seem very familiar to any fan of MGMT as in my opinion they very much sound the same although Passion Pits songs somewhat have a consistancy throughout the album with each eighties inspired track flowing into eachother wonderfully. I'm struggling to find a word that could describe this album as its such an awesome flow of emotion and brilliance as stated in several other reviews of this album. I think i'd describe it as a 'Group-hug' it's an album filled with feel good tracks that put a bit of colour into todays music linear industry.

Overall Grade: A

Sunday, 28 August 2011

West Is West (2010) - Andy De Emmony

Its taken over a decade for this belated sequel to hit 1999 film East is East to reach our cinemas and homes, a film infact that i wasnt aware even existed until i came across it by accident in my local blockbusters yesterday, which to my delight i imediately made sure i took it home too watch straight away as i only recently watched and reviewed East is East and i absolutely loved it!

Initially you would expect the film to be just as hard hitting and pressing on the subject on the way Islamic familys and other ethnic identidies got along in the 1970's as this film is set 5 years from its prior, in 1976 a time which still saw huge struggles for many from a different background. The film follows George Khan the father of the family try drags his son Sajid (the only child left the Khan's Salford household, as the rest have since flown the nest) off to Pakistan for what was presumably a holiday to meet the Pakistani side of his family and open his eyes to his heritage.

The viewers (and of course Sajid) are snatched from within their comfort zones of the bleak rainy Salford terraced housing estates and are thrown into the colourful, eye opening country that is Pakistan a whole world away from England in so many ways. In this film we meet Georges bitter and submissive first wife and his extended family who George left behind 30 years ago and never looked back, which brings great shame upon himself for doing.

In comparison to East is East this is much more of a serious film and there are far less comedic moments aside from the odd one or two as well as a fair few culture clash moments which come later on in the film. The cinematography in this film is visually stunning and the soundtrack gives the it that extra edge, kudos to De Emmony for what he has achieved with this film.

Overall Grade: B-

Garry's Mod [Game review]

Take any of your typical half-life characters and throw them into the middle of a field with a homemade rocket ship built out a shopping trolley to his left and a pile of corpses surrounded by burning watermelons and you have your typical foray into the sandbox mode of Garrys mod, a game developed by Garry Newman and released by Valve which allows you to do litteraly whatever you want with no boundries.

Garry's Mod is basically a usermade group of tools which allows you to edit your own game in anyway you can imagine, which when left to the imagination of a group of friends can be anything as spectacular as a whole city built down to a tee for the thousands of avid gamers to explore and wreck havock in or it could be a simple and silly as making two zombies look as if they're being caught in the most crude of situations thanks to Garry's Mod ragdoll manipulation tools.

Tools included in the sandbox gamemodes (Singleplayer & Mutliplayer) are vast an exciting to use, on my first play through on the single player sandbox i found myself spawning a handful of NPC's (None player character) and attaching ballons too them so that they float high up into the air, only for me to pull our a rocket launcher seconds later and blast them back down to earth in glorious fashion. Garry's Mod pretty much allows you to play god which as stated earlier, can lead to hillarious and horrific consequences.

Its in its Multiplayer modes that the game really comes into its own though, i've had this game for just under a month now and i've barely seen ANY of the content. There are an incredible ammount of game modes and maps to explore. Some of the main gamemodes are DarkRP (Servers that allow you to take a specific job and play out your characters profession in an enviroment set by the person who made the server for example, Fallout RP is a HUGE map that pretty much mimics that of Fallout New Vegas). Other gamemodes i've come across so far are Trouble in terrorist town (A deathmatch style game in which the players must work together via use of their microphones to determine who the spy is stealthily killing all the other players on the map) and Bunnyhop (A gamemode in which you have to jump across various items to in a certain ammount of time without falling into the water/lava).

Obviously there are a whole ton of gamemodes you can play but i shall only mention one last one as personally i've found it to be initiative and truely brilliant, GMOD Theater. This is basically a giant cinema you can walk around with other people in game and watch Youtube videos in one of the screens, players request what everyone watches and you have the power to vote to skip a video if its not to your taste. I found it an incredibly weird experienc watching Shaun of the dead with 30 other people in an online cinema at once whilst talking about it at the same time, it was one of my online gaming highlights so far (Nerd alert)!

I highly highly reccomend to everybody that you purchase this game some time in your life whilst you still have the time to play, for all the content you should purchase Garry's Mod in a bundle from the STEAM Store with Counter Striker: Scource, Half life or Left for dead.

Overall Grade: A++

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Hangover Part II (2011) - Todd Phillips

The wolfpack returns for a second helping of hazy hillarity dished out in the most over the top and side splitting of manners. This time the gang find themselves in a Bangkok hotel after a seemingly innocent couple of drinks on the bach in preparation for Stus big wedding turns into something far far more. From here on out the audience is treated to 102 minutes of watching the boys endure a series of humiliating disasters which led to their current prediciment.

Once again the plot follows the men Alan, Phil and Stu (With Doug pretty much out of the picture again apart from a the odd few scenes) with each character living up to their personalitys set in the first film. Phil being the straight guy who pulls the other two along throughout the film, stu the serial worrier and with the short fuse and of course Alan once again brilliantly played by Zach Galifianakis, the village idiot, although in this sequel it seems that Alans stupidity has rose to new heights, almost bordering on the retardation at times (That is not an overstatement). A welcome addition to gang (occasionally) is Mr. Chow, the lovable eccentric asian gangster who without a doubt gets some of the biggest laughs throughout.

Just as its predecessor the films biggest laughs and plause is its shock value, which we are treated too vastly. However, the film does heavily rely on that shock value and sight gags, which can only carry it so far. It is also a lot darker and grittier than the first film taking away that sharp edged humour at times and replacing it with a bit more seriousness at times. Having said this though its still good for plenty of laughs.

All in all, the film is admitedly a carbon copy of the first hangover just in different setting, but who am i too complain? I got some laughs out of it and i enjoyed it thoroughly which is the sole intention of the film really, who cares if its a bit samey? Not me! I'd reccomend this film fairly highly allbeit not as much so its predeccesor.

Overall Grade: B-

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

East is East (1999) - Damien O'Donnell

East is East is a charmingly funny yet at the same time a down to earth, hard hitting film set in the 1970s. It follows the struggles of the cultural differences of those living in a country not of their own and trying to raise a family with trict Pakistanni beliefs and values. This is proven to be quite the struggle for George Khan the father of the family, a strict Pakistanni muslim who has married a loud mouthed white woman from Lancashire who have raised six children in their small terraced house in Salford.

George Khan (Played by Om Puri) fully expects his two eldest sons to marry two painfully ugly Pakistanni girls from Bradford, the family come to a near collapse. The main theme running through the film is that of rejecting certain traditions and beleives, the children of the family are very much anti-pakistan (with the exception of one son) and each of them have their own quirky personalitys that clash in such a wonderfully funny way, for example the youngest of the family, Sajid is constantly picked on by his elder siblings after it is revealed he isnt circumscised  from birth and has to go through the operation at his later age to his horror and the delight of his brothers and sister.

Whislt the audience are treated to a steady flow of great comedic scenes such as the occasional fat jokes against one of their neighbours too a prosphetic vagina being revealed in the most hillarious of fashions in a moment of utter chaos. Of  course though this film gets most of its praise due to some of the more serious scenes, the audience throughout sympathises with George Khan, a man who only wants his family to be like everybody elses a perfect muslim family he can be proud of, obviously this does not go his way throughout and we see moments of pure emotion conveyd by George & his wife Ella in scenes in which we see George take out his rage on his wife and family as the dark cloud of abuse hangs around the film.

Another Great British film here which i would thoroughly reccomend to anybody looking for a few laughs as well as a bit of a serious film, you'll be treated too heart breaking moments coupled with seeing a great dane try and mount an overweight woman in a hideous multicoloured flowered dress on a salford housing estate.

Overall Grade: B+

Adulthood (2008) - Noel Clarke

Before you read this a warning, there is spoilers to the first film Kidulthood in this review, so if you havent seen the first film, please do not read on.

Adulthood is set six years after its predecessor kidulthood in which we saw the menacing Sam Peel kill the ever-popular face that was Trife. Now Sam is on the outside, his intentions are to start a new life and get on the straight and narrow after facing six abuse filled years that pushed him to the bring of suicide in prison were he learnt being a 'big man' wasnt all it was cracked up to be. By now each induvidual has moved on in their lives since kidulthood getting on with their own thing, except for Jay. Since the death of his best friend Jays life has spiralled out of control and he finds himself becoming a violent drug dealer with nothing but revenge on the mind, and once he finds out that Sam is out of prison he's out to get him.

Meanwhile, Sam has struck up an unlikely friendship with Lexi  a friendless drug addict with a shady past (Played by ex-eastenders cast member Scarlett Alice Johnson) who also happens to be the cousin of Kidulthoods Becky (How has now fled for unknown reasons). Lexi vows to help Sam make peace with the people he hurt. The other main character from kidulthood that features heavily in the life is Mooney, a beacon of hope for society, the young man has left his violent and drama ridden past to study law at univeristy, but will he be dragged into the fray for jays revenge against Sam?

Adulthood is a fascinating watch if you've seen Kidulthood, purely for the sake that our former Villian Sam plays the Anti-Hero and vice versa with Jay (Loosely). Clarkes hard work and effort with the script shows as we are fighting the whole way through the film in Sams corner, his determination to show that his past is his past and he regrets his actions. The film has a great pace too it and there was only a couple of moments throughout the whole film where i felt let down.

Personally i prefered Kidulthood to this film as good as adulthood was, i felt at times i was being forced through certain scenes and felt that some characters were negelected, or just added for the sake of it for example, the young boys paid to carry out a hit, and the drug lord (or whatever you want to call him) i would of prefered a bit of a back story for these rather than just throwing them right in there at the start. Although saying all this it was still a great film and it fit perfectly into the ever growing genre that is Great British grit.

Overall Grade: C+

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Kidulthood (2006) - Menaj Huda

Kidulthood is a raw, sleek and girtty portrail of 24 hours in the life of a group of youths growing up in a urban area of London. The plot primarily follows two perticular people Trife (Played by Aml Ameen) and Alisa (Played by Red Madrell) after being given a day of school after a suicide rocks their school. The 24 hours we see involves a bit of everything you'd expect in the down to earth drama, violence, drugs, booze, sex and stealing.

Whilst many critics have condemned this film to being just an over the top and bleak i think Hudas depiction of Urban life is fairly on the dot, of course the film crams in it into 24 hours and its fair to say that perhaps the goings on in the film could not happen such a short span, but unfortunately its possible and it happens the thats the way our country operates in some of the poverty stricken boroughs of London and the sad reality for our youths portrayed brilliantly by the cast.

The documentary style camera work in this film is something to be applaued, the style in which Huda has filmed Kidulthood give it an extra sense of raw realism and immediacy, this coupled with the dialouge in the film (Heads up Americans and anyone not from the United Kingdom, you're going to struggle with some of te slang, although it'll be a real eye opener for you!) makes for a great peice of cinema.

My last bit of praise for the film goes too its Soundtrack, the cutting-edge hip-hop and grime tracks from Dizzee Rascal and The Streets really add that bit of spice and feeling to certain scenes, especially the suicide scene at the beginning the music coupled with the way the scene had been played out/filmed really had me gripped.

Whilst perhaps this film can be said to be over the top at times, i cant really knock it, i thoroughly enjoyed watching and it even though at times i felt uncomfortable watching some of the scenes, but thats what Huda was going for when he made the film. He set out to make a raw and gritty drama about the life of youths in our poverty stricken areas that made us open our eyes, and thats certinarly what he did.

Overall Grade: B+

Friday, 19 August 2011

Arthur (2011) - Jason Winer

Jason Winers remake of the 1981 comedy featuring Dudley Moore was film was given a poor reception by film critics alike across the globe, which in my opinion is totally wrong as this film was not at all poor, Russell Brand may not be to everybodys taste, but i think the man is bloody hillarious and i could not think of a better actor/comedian to play the part of the Billionaire socialite.

The film follows Arthur, a reckless young billionaire (funded by his mothers business empire) steamrolling his way through life flaunting and splashing millions of dollars on lavish things he need not have as well as squandering his intelligence and bringing a bad name to his familys empire jepordising any future he may have within the company thus severing his ties with his money.

Arthurs steady flow of millions comes to an end when the family empire is put at risk by Arthurs hijinks, his other decides to give him an ultimatum, marry a woman whom he does not love (His ex-girlfriend and employee of his mothers with a very high up family of socialites) or lose his $950 dollar trust fund, the offer he relunctuntly agrees too. This is until he meets the girl of his dreams in a New York subway station whilst doing what he does best and is flaunting around New York in one of Abe Lincolns suit, swinging a cane round as he throws away more money. The girl in question is an unlicensed tour guide by the name of Naomi (Played by Greta Gerwig) whom Arthur spends countless efforts trying to win the womans affection over to no avail. Although of course Arthurs family do not approve of Naomi thus causing him to chose between his heart or his cash.

The casting in this film is very well done in my opinion, as stated before many slate Russell Brand for his perfomance in this film but lets be honest, who else could of pulled this off? Russell is basically playing himself before he married Katie Perry. (As he was when he played Aldous Snow in forgetting Sarah Marshall & Get him to the Greek). And of course i cannot write this review without mentioning Helen Mirrens involvement in the film she plays Arthurs nanny Hobson, who has been looked after the billionaire socialite since birth, she seems unfazed by his recklessness and has grown very much acustomed too it. Mirren adds that touch of witty humour and sarcasm that the film so very much needs too slow the pace down, as well of course as some raw emotion at times. Kudos goes to the casting of Luis Guzman playing Bitterman Arthurs loyal driver and Jennifer Garner as money grabbing Susan.

Ultimately this comedy based on excess and my lord is filled with excess (Once again who better to cast other than Mr. Brand.) and is very good for a laughs at times and is balanced out nicely with a love story that warms the heart. Although as an absolutely huge fan of Russell Brand this movie is perfect for myeslf (And anyone else looking to get their fix of Brand) and i could not fault it, although thats not to say this film and the humour from Brand is everybodys cup of tea.

Overall Grade: B+

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Bridesmaids (2011) - Paul Feig

It took some courage for me to watch this film as on the outside this just looks like another boring old rom-com chick-flick, or whatever you'd like to call it, and i am not one for those kind of films. My friend suggested to me yesterday that i watch it as he claimed it was just as funny as the inbetweeners movie we had just seen, of course i refused to beleive that until i saw it for myself so this afternoon i sat down and faced my fear of the dreaded rom-com.

Bridesmaids is a film based on the strong bond between friends and one womans search for love, okay from that description alone i would've shrugged the film off as yet another average movie. But after settling into the film after an awkward opening and fairly slow opening i started to let my gaurd down, mainly because of the couple of good laughs i got from the best character in the film by far, Megan (Absolutely brilliantly played by Melissa McCarthy) who in my opinion made this movie what it was!

The films main character, Annie is a thirty-something single woman whos life is spiralling out of control at a fast pace, with a non-exsistant relationship, unfulfilling job and not much going for her is entrusted by her childhood best friend to be the maid of honour at her upcoming wedding which is all fine and dandy until Annie comes face to face with her best friends, 'newer' best friend the gorgeous, wealthy Whitney (Played by Jessica St. Claire) gets competitive and the pair fight it out over who can organise the wedding, resulting in some hillarious and at times irritating scenes.

Of course this being a rom-com there had to be a snippet of romance somewhere in there, and to my shock the leading man in this movie was none other than Chris O'dowd (From the hit channel 4 series the IT crowd) who at first seemed to me to be hideously out of place in this kind of film, but further on in, it seems that it was a genius bit of casting. Sadly i cant say the same for the addition of Matt Lucas and Rebel Wilson who play an oddball brother and sister combo, which quite frankly didnt fit in at all and made me slightly embarrased to be British from the way they were portrayed (Especially Rebels character)!

Overall i'd say this film wasnt so bad at all, mainly thanks to humour sprinkled in throughout which in places i believe they got wrong where they failed to get even a chuckle out of me, but i cant slate it too much really as it was well done. The film which in all honest gave me an ill impression of the opposite sex (Not that i didnt know already) but kudos for the writers turning the tables and showing the woman as the immature, unbalanced sex for once, whilst at the same time balancing it up with other major plot points i wong go into, until you've seen it yourself!

Overall Grade: C+

The Inbetweeners movie (2011) - Ben Palmer

For me this was one hundred percent my most anticipated movie of the summer, being a nineteen year old university student this film absolutely ticks every box for me as my god, i can relate. Every cringeworthy scene had me thinking, thats me and my mates! Many critics were unsure whether Ben Palmers hit E4 show could make the transition from small to big screen, but personally i think they did it flawlessly, many would say its just an extended episode which it may be, but who cares? thats what we wanted too see!

The film itself follows a group of socially awkward lads from the south of England taking the first steps into adulthood leaving their innocent teenage years behind by upsholding the long standing British tradition of going on a lads holiday. You dont even have to think twice to know that the idea of following a group of lads on a messy coming of age holiday is going to be bloody hillarious!

Without giving away the prime comedy scenes, the film starts with an absolutely hillarious scene involving a packet of ham, a snorkel and an eastern european woman myself and the rest of the cinema were in stiches, comedy gold which only someone who has seen the inbetweeners before could really stomach. As we get into the film, the plot opens Simon is dumped by his girlfriend Carly, devasted the lads do their best to cheer him up by taking him on a lads holiday to Malia to get drunk, and get 'knee deep in clunge' as Jay so often says to the delight of the audience in the cinema.

The film is an emotional rollercoaster which at times when things dont go to plan and it had the audience groaning at screen, cringing and pure utter silence at the tense scenes, kudos to cast and behind the scenes team for captivating the audience in such a way i didnt think would be possible for the sitcom to do. Like the rest of my reviews i dont wish to give much away to plot but i will hilight some of the quality moments in the film that produced ultimate belly laughs and tears streaming down my face. The film is chocablock with cringeworthy scenes with Neil the 'slower' lad of the group (Lets be honest we've all got a neill in our group) providing the laughs, especially with his 'unique' pulling power and his slow wit producing one of the greatest moments in film history (If this were a well read review i'd be slated by every critic on earth for saying this but its just my opinion) when Neill has a run in with the 'Childrens toilet' in his run down apartment.

Its fair too say this film is most likely an aqquired taste and will only be well received in the UK but nowhere else as British humour is quite unique, something America has tried to recreate themselves with their god-awful remake of Skins, Shameless and now The inbetweeners but i imagine they wont even get close to the brilliance that is Will Buckley, Sim Bird, Joe Thomas & Blake Harrison. This coming of age comedy is a film a highly reccomend you must go see this summer. Its charming simplicity makes for a well spent hour and a half.

Overall Grade: A+

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Machete (2010) - Robert Rodriguez

I sat down to watch this film today after seeing the fake trailer for this film in directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarrintinos grindhouse film Planet Terror. I was absolutely enthralled by the trailer and i told myself i was going to watch this film first thing the next day as it looked brilliant. At first glances the film should of been an instant hit with a host of great actors such as Danny Trejo, Robert De Nero, Steven Seagal, Jessica Alba and Lindsay Lohan. Despite an allstar cast i have never felt more let down by a film before..

Despite one early scene of action, the film got off to an incredibly slow start, with us being introduced to the films protagonist Machete Cortez, our ugly post-modern mexican hero in a ludicris fight scene including steven seagal as a mexican drug lord. It all seemed a bit silly from the start. After the early scenes we are treated to a good half an hour or so of slow paces scenes involving a taco truck and the occasional gun being flared. It wasnt enjoyable.

In the films defence, as we progress further into the film the plot does thicken and it has a certain ammount of sparkle too it, Machete, our hero is offered $150,000 to assasinate Senator John McLaughlin (Played by Robert De Nero) who is a racist, mexican hating hard assed son of a bitch. Like my other film review so far i dont wish to go into the plot too much for the beneifit of anyone who hasnt watched the film (And i genuinly dont wish that upon you) But i can say as the film goes it becomes even more distasteful, dull and genuinly hard to follow.

 I can honestly say by the end of the film i more than confused as to who the bad guys really were and i was stunned by the ammount of plot-holes stiched into this awful film, of course Rodriguez made the film in the style of a B-movie but that didnt mean that the acting had to look so shoddy, i expected better from the cast and i've been left with a bitter taste in my mouth.

The film also carried a strong political message about immagration and the 14th Amendment, but i'm not going to go into that as i know nothing about American politics or American/Mexican relations and i have no intention of going down that road!

The film was good for a few cheap thrills but really was just an incredibly dull uncomfortable 105 minutes.

Overall Grade: F

Cass (2008) - Jon S. Baird

Cass is a gritty part biopic, part coming of age film following the life of a young black orphan raised by a white family in the east end of London, all based on a true story of a former football hooligan who is now a succesful author and family man.

The films main focus to begin with is young Carol Pennants (Carol being Cass's real name his estranged Jamaican parents gave to him which he hates which a passion due to cruel jibes from bullies) struggle with racism in a narrow minded society unable to get deal with the change in multiculturism in lower class Britain, it does make for uncomfortable viewing early on but its well played upon and helps the viewer make in instant connection with Cass. In one of the early scenes in 1960s Wolverhampton in which a young Cass and his friends get their first taste of hooliganism is brilliantly done, we him make his first connection with the ICF (West hams notorious branch of football hooligans the Inter City Firm) who have been covered heavily in other films the firm and green street.

Fast forward to the distant future where Cass is now one of the leaders of the ICF, he is played by Actor Nonso Anozie an actor with a truely menacing pyshique and demenour we get a great impression of what Cass as a leader, who himself has stood up in the face adversity and made a stand. Cass considers himself a proud east londoner who will stand toe to toe with his West Ham brothers to protect the ICFs reputation. Kudos goes to casting for having Leo Gregory on set as Cass's right hand man the Green Street veteran fits brilliantly into the role as lieutenant as well as injecting a little bit of comedy into his role as well.

As well as focusing on Cass's time leading the ICF to battle in various footballing cities across the country (In the film we see the ICF visit Leeds and Newcastle) we focus on Cass's time spent in prison, where once again the theme of race rears its head once more, this is the turning point in Cass's life and the viewer is led to believe that perhaps this is the end of his reign over the firm as Cass gets into a relationship with a young lady Elaine (Played by Natathalie Press) and has responsibilitys to think about. Without giving too much of the plot away we see the plot thicken hastility into a downwards spiral for cass after a run in with a rival firm when all was looking up.

Throughout the film we have a voiceover heralding us through the life of Cass, this is not perticuarly needed in order for it all to work as it isnt difficult for the viewer to follow, although it does add a certain sense of realism and helps us engage on a more personal level with Cass, which for one i felt carried me nicely through the entire film.

Cass is a gripping tale of one mans fight with society for acceptance and an escape from a violent past after finding an adoptive family in his band of east london hooligans. The film had a great cast and was well made, it certinarly made me want to know more about the man himself and has given me an appetite for gritty british films which didnt perticularly appeal to me beforehand.

Overal Grade: B+