Craig’s Movie Report 10th Anniversary


10th Anniversary

Has it really been that long?  Today marks this blog’s 10th anniversary since my very first post.  I may not be all that popular compared to other blogs and I suppose my blog’s subjects are not that unique to grab a big audience, and well I don’t pay for advertisers to help boost my views either.  Yet I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy writing this bog, sharing my opinions and what’s going on in my life.  I hope whomever takes the time to read anything I post, takes something away from it, either interest for a movie they had been wanting to see, discovering a movie they may not have previously been aware of, or just enjoy my writing style and what I have to say.

A big thank you goes out to regular readers and subscribers for your continued support.  I may be a small-time blogger but I’m dedicated and I appreciate every comment and view and like that I receive.  Keep coming back and I’ll keep posting.  Don’t forget you can also find me on Twitter and Facebook (<<< click) which you can also find on the panel to your right >>>

Here’s to the next ten years!

Craig.

Grimsby


Viewed – 28 November 2016 DVD

aka The Brothers Grimsby

For starters, you don’t watch a Sacha Baron Cohen movie unless you have a pretty broad sense of humour.  Luckily I do and really stupid, often crude comedies tickles my funny bone almost every time.  This latest effort sees him as a local Grimsby guy, who lives on a housing estate, has an army of kids, gets drunk down the pub with his mates – you get the picture.  However ‘Nobby’ hasn’t seen his younger brother for over twenty years, following a stint in an orphanage as children, and is surprised to bump into him during a day trip to London.  However said brother, played by Mark Strong is now a deadly spy on a top secret mission – of which Nobby interrupts and causes all manner of calamity.

The Brothers Grimsby

It’s a brilliant premise and one that Baron Cohen takes to with vigour.  He’s a seriously gifted comedy actor and this latest creation, whilst not a huge leap from his Ali G persona is brilliantly observed and the idea makes for plenty of spot on gags and very funny encounters … especially if like I said, you have a liking for utterly crude, juvenile humour.  At times it all goes a bit too far (the elephant scene) and some situations are just ridiculous, but with Baron Cohen’s enthusiasm, and a great supporting casting including Penelope Cruze, Ian McShane and Ricky Tomlinson … along with some actually very well implemented action sequences (football hooligan vs martial arts expert?) – I still got a kick out of this.

As far as a spy movie plot goes, it’s nothing special, but I did like how some jokes earlier on had even funnier pay-offs later.  For fan’s of Sacha Baron Cohen this is a no-brainer, and for anyone after a good laugh, as long as you aren’t easily offended, I say check this one out immediately.

Verdict: 3.5 /5

What makes a movie get 5 out of 5?


movie viewingThis is something I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while.  What makes a movie, at least for me score the full 5 /5 points on this blog?  It’s for one thing not about perfection.  Even the greatest movies you could pick issues with, no … to score such a score, a movie I think needs to first and foremost entertain, and then also surprise.  I sometimes go into a movie not expecting much and then can be pleasantly surprised when I enjoy it, or I can be hyped about a movie, love it and then discover it manages to throw something in I couldn’t have predicted – sometimes that’s an emotional feeling like a sad or heart-wrenching scene, or a feel good uplifting scene … or in the case of say a horror movie, managing to genuinely scare me when I’m a totally jaded horror fan (The Conjuring).

To score full marks a movie can be flawed, it can have some issues, but those issues must not annoy or distract from the overall experience.  I have so far given just one movie this year 5 /5 which had only been moderately hyped; Straight Outta Compton.  But it surprised me, had an effect on me I didn’t expect and entertained massively; doing it’s job well without throwing in anything that took away from the intended experience.  I love cinema, movies and the art of movie making so a movie that is both well acted and well made on a technical level scores a lot of points with me (Bird Man).

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Yet giving this score is something I don’t do easily and often ruminate over whether that movie really deserves it.  I’ve been tempted to knock a movie down to a 4 in the past for exactly that reason, but then again I don’t think a 5 /5 is something to only be given to a tiny few.  It should be an award for a movie doing not just what it set out to do, but doing it well enough that it creates an experience that is both memorable and leaves the viewer feeling satisfied.  All the movies I have granted this score to have done that for me …. not all will necessarily hold up to that experience over repeated viewings, but … this blog is about first impressions, on seeing a movie for the very first time mostly, so I have to go with my initial reaction, even if that movie is either better or worse on a second viewing.  It can happen, and movies I’ve marked down improve when seen a second time.  But I also am a great believer in that a movie should do it’s job first time around, and if it needs to be seen multiple times to fully appreciate it, then there is something fundamentally wrong.  There are exceptions to this such as movies like The Usual Suspects or Mulholland Drive which are so intricate in their storytelling they’re actually difficult to get one’s head around first time.

movie viewing 3So a little advise for anyone just starting out in review writing, something I would never say I am an expert at but have been doing it as a hobby for many years enough to know what I like when I see it … Your enjoyment comes into the final score, Your taste can effect the final score, but always take into account what the movie is attempting to achieve – does it do this?  Does it do it well?  And most importantly if you are going to give it full marks – does it make you feel, think or experience anything you hadn’t initially expected it to?  If all of the above is a yes and your expectations were met, then that’s top marks, depending of course on your scoring system.

Above all else, enjoy movies, cinema and the whole experience.  Movies for me, are there to entertain and effect the viewer, to mean something or do a particular job.  If they fail to do any of those then I’ll score them appropriately based on their merits and what the movie was trying to achieve.  Happy movie watching everyone!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Viewed – 09 January 2015  DVD

I remember being quite heavily into these characters when I was a kid.  I especially liked the comics and the animated TV series.  However I don’t recall being that fussed by the movie and don’t even think I saw them all (were there three in total?).  Yet a friend recently recommended this reboot and so I thought I’d give it a go.

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Transformers’ Megan Fox plays plucky reporter April O’Neil who is hungry for a story that will further her career.  One night she stumbles upon the latest criminal activities of The Foot Clan just as they are stopped in their tracks by a mysterious vigilante.  Thinking this may be her chance April decides to track down the vigilante for herself in hopes of impressing her boss Whoopie Goldberg.

Coming from Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes this feels and looks very much like Transformers, and that’s good or bad depending on your liking of that franchise (think garish high contrast cinematography and lots of things going boom).  Personally I loved the first one and this origin tale is perfectly entertaining and packed with well executed action and heaps of style.  The Turtles themselves are brilliantly realised, full of personality and although entirely CGI, it’s good CGI so that’s ok.  Fox also proves a little bit more than just eye candy even if her comedy sidekick / potential love interest pervs over her more than is strictly necessary.  Alas, the movie’s villains are very basic and not really all that interesting or particularly explored – they’re just evil and power hungry and their big plan is nothing even remotely new.  It’s also very predictable, in way too much of a rush to get to it’s conclusion and at times rather silly.

I enjoyed myself however and it’s difficult to get too bogged down with it’s cliches or redundant plotting when it all looks good and has enough one liners, site gags and quality action (with great use of slow-mo) to leave your brain happily on auto-pilot.

Verdict:  3 /5

Top Ten 2015


Well dear readers, it’s finally here … following is a countdown of my Ten favourite movies I watched in 2015.  Do take into consideration some may be older than the past twelve months…

Drum roll…

10.

John Wick

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Keanu proved he still had it in the action movie stakes (and seemingly doesn’t age).  A tongue-in cheek script and stylish direction proved a simple revenge thriller done very well indeed was all I needed also.

9.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

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Studio Ghibli does it again, with a beautiful water-colour art style and an enchanting Japanese fable and heart warming characters.

8.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

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Cruise can still do the seemingly impossible and with chases, gadgets and Simon Pegg, this made for the best summer event flick of the year for me.

7.

Ex_Machina

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There is still room for genuine science-fiction with this thought-provoking study of artificial intelligence.  The sort of movie that would have made Stanley Kubrick proud.

6.

American Sniper

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Proving yet again he’s as good behind the camera as in front, Clint Eastwood delivers a powerful true story with a career best Bradley Cooper.

5.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

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My introduction to Wes Anderson and one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen in a long while, and Ralph Fiennes is just sublime.

4.

Interstellar

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Mind-boggling it may be but Christopher Nolan’s space epic is full of wonder, awe and ideas that left me floored.

3.

Star Wars The Force Awakens

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It may deliver too much fan-service but sets up enough firm foundations of its own and captures the spirit of the movies missing since Jedi, that it’s difficult to fault.

2.

Inside Out

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Pixar bounce back, after slight stumbles and deliver a truly heart-warming, ideas-packed event of a movie that genuinely touched and surprised me.

1.

Birdman

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Not that director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu needed to prove his skill, yet this wondrously inventive and yet simple movie impressed and dazzled me with it’s concept and originality with a brilliant Michael Keaton as the icing on the cake.  A movie for fans who truly love movies and movie-making.


Well that was my countdown for 2015.  What were some of your favourites?  Feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll see you all in 2016.  Bye for now…

Craig.