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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

In America - The Review (Text)

First published Sept 2009

Jim Sheridan does direct some weird as sex sequences. And by that, I don’t mean the characters are doing anything weird, he doesn’t have anything on guys like Lynch or Cronenberg who actually make the sex itself fucked up (2 female television executives sprouting penises and raping James Woods, for example), but he still manages to make you wonder what the fuck he was thinking. Case in point, the sex scene from ‘In America’; an otherwise slow, emotional, feel-good movie, for some reason he decided that for the love-making scene, he wanted to change the pace of the film completely, so we are met with a montage of quick shots of the two main characters, Sarah (Samantha Morton), and Johnny (Some Irish guy I hadn’t heard of before, but who was really, really good), having sex on their bed, whilst a lightning storm goes on around them. Not that weird you’re thinking? That’s because I’m still getting to it, I’m well aware that bad weather doesn’t constitute a weird scene. Give me some credit here, will you? Anyway, what’s bizarre about the scene is that the sex is intercut with two other scenes. The first is of the couple’s daughters, who at the time have been sent out to get Ice Cream at the parlour their mother works in. This makes sense, because the girls were sent out, and we want to know they’re ok, but what’s strange is that Jim Sheridan decides to have a group of Transvestites walk into the Ice Cream place for no reason and smile at the girls. Now, I understand he’s trying to show the neighbourhood is a bit dodgy, and a bit different to where they grew up in Ireland, but this is just random. On top of that, we are also treated to shots of the black artist who lives below them painting a picture out of his own blood, in a manner extremely reminiscent of Brian from Spaced, when he first explains to Tim and Daisy the different types of art he does. Now, don’t get me wrong, the scene is well shot and everything, and is significant to the plot (unlike the thousands of films where the producers seem to just say “fuck it, let’s throw in a sex scene, I wanna see TITS!”), but it’s so different to the rest of the movie, in pace and in feeling, it just doesn’t seem to fit. Also, to be honest, if you start thinking about Spaced whilst watching a non-comedy movie, there’s got to be something wrong with it (unless, you know, it’s one of the million movies that was parodied by Spaced). And the thing is, this isn’t the only time Sheridan’s had a retarded idea for a sex scene (though luckily, it’s the only one I’ve seen where the stupid idea made it to the final cut). Watching the special features on my Get Rich or Die Tryin’ DVD, I saw him talking with 50 Cent about his ideas for the soundtrack to use for the second sex scene in that movie, and was saying he wanted to use “I’ll Whip Yo Head Boy” for the sequence. If to you that track sounds even remotely like it could fit a sex scene (unless it was a gay sex scene and whip is slang for “enjoy” or something?), then I guess we just have completely different views on how relevant to a scene the soundtrack needs to be. What’s next? Yakety Sax playing over the end credits of Saving Private Ryan? Fat Boy by Bizarre and King Gordy playing over the opening scene of The Machinist? Odd choices for sex scenes and soundtracks aside, however, Sheridan had gained more than enough respect from me after somehow managing to make an actually decent, non-hilarious movie with 50 Cent playing the lead (to this day I still don’t know how he did it, but I do love that movie), so when I saw In America was playing on Film 4 (+1, actually), I figured I might as well give it a watch, and I was not disappointed.
In America is a film about an Irish family who move to America after their 5 year old son dies of brain cancer. Now, unfortunately, I missed the first ten minutes of the movie, but from what I gathered later on in the film, the father has shut down almost completely emotionally since, and the eldest of the two daughters believes her dead brother, Frankie, still speaks to her, and before he left, granted her three wishes from beyond the grave, to use when she needed to.
When they reach America (expending one wish to get through customs safely), the family head into Manhattan, hoping to start a new life, with the father pursuing his dream of becoming an actor on Broadway. However, they soon realize that it may not be as easy as they had hoped, when they find it impossible to get an apartment in a good neighbourhood, through a combination of their lack of money, and nationality, and so are forced to trade in their car for a run-down flat in a tower full of Junkies in a bad neighbourhood. Still, their spirits remain high, and there are some nice scenes of them painting and decorating the flat to make it feel like home. We then move on to learn that the mother got a job working at the Ice Cream Parlour across the street, so her husband would be able to concentrate on his acting, and have time to go to auditions. The first Audition we see John at is absolutely brilliant, mainly because at one point, after it becomes clear he won’t get the part of the American he wants to play, the guy auditioning him asks “can you do a London accent?”, and John replies in a flawless ‘London accent’ (fucked if I can tell the difference between them, but his was brilliant) “You’re havin’ a laugh, mate, he’s only got two lines in the whole thing, do you want me to come over there and sort you out?”, which left me thinking ‘why the fuck didn’t he get that part?’ (though possibly contributed to the actual actor getting this role in the film?). This, however, is revealed to us moments later when he is told by the auditioner backstage that no matter how good his accents are, that’s not all there is to acting, and he needs to show more feeling, a reference back to how he seems to have lost his feelings since his son’s death, and is showing how it still affects him.
After this, the story evolves, and we get scenes of the family learning to adapt to living in America. First learning to deal with the heat and humidity New York Summers bring, then with the discrimination the Irish face living in New York (Junkies informing John that “All Irish are cops” as an excuse to mistrust him), and finally learning more about American customs when the kids go to a school Halloween party. Before this, however, we are given possibly the most tense scene in the entire movie when, after taking the kids to see E.T. at the cinema, the family is walking through a fair ground when the youngest of the girls notices they have a game where you can win an ET doll, if you can throw 7 tennis balls through a hole. The guy running the stall states that these balls do not all need to be in one go, and you can take as many turns as you wish, but each time you want to carry on, will have to double the amount of money you put down. However, when you do reach seven, you not only get the doll, but also get all the money you put down back. Providing you reach seven. At first, this doesn’t seem so bad, John gets the first couple of balls in, and manages to get all the way up to 5 balls on just $16. However, that’s when it all goes wrong, and his misses take him up to $32 dollars, and then $64. We see the scammer behind the stall grinning, and telling people who are around how much money is on the game, trying to draw a bigger crowd to put John off. John gets the sixth ball in, but misses on the next one. After this next miss, he is forced to take the family’s rent money out to try and cover the ever-growing amount he is betting on the game, and after another 2 misses, he is up to $256, all the rent money for that month. Having seen Get Rich or Die Tryin’, I would not have been surprised at this point if the family had lost everything, and had to fight to survive. However, the eldest girl expends her second wish, and her father makes the throw, winning the doll and all their money back. They return home triumphantly, even though John knows perfectly well he just risked everything on one E.T. Doll, and we are then treated to the previously mentioned bizarre sex scene, at the end of which we learn that Sarah is pregnant with another child.
The Halloween party does not go well for the kids, who turn up in outfits their mother made them, but realize to their horror that every other child at their school has had their outfits bought for them, and consequently look much better. After winning the prizes for “best home-made costumes”, the girls walk home with their father, annoyed that they don’t fit in, and that they were given “made-up prizes” because the teachers felt sorry for them. They complain to their parents that they want to act more like American kids do so they’ll fit in, and insist they’re allowed to go trick or treating. John and Sarah eventually give in, and tell the girls they can go trick or treating, but only in their own building, because it’s a dangerous neighbourhood. At is at this point that we are first properly introduced to the artist downstairs. Having knocked on numerous doors and received no response, the girls go to his door, which has “Keep Away” painted on it in big letters, and knock on it, shouting “trick or treat!”. Eventually, Mateo, the artist, answers the door, and this is how he is introduced to the family.
Mateo is played by Djimon Hounsou, whose name I cannot pronounce, but who I can tell you played Maximus’s best friend in Gladiator, and has been in numerous other films including Blood Diamond and The Island. His performance in this movie is absolutely outstanding, and even from this first scene, he is incredible (which explains the Oscar nomintation, I guess. Not that they know brilliance when they see it *cough* Robert Downey, jr. for Natural Born Killers, Martin Scorsese for Goodfellas, Leo for The Departed, Doug Hutchison for War Zone, Tom Hanks for Saving Private Ryan, and about a thousand others. Though I may need to check out who really did win best supporting actor in ’94, cos if it was Samuel L. Jackson for Pulp then I could live with him beating out Rob Downey. And I guess since hanks has already won it twice, it might be a bit unfair on the other actors to give him another. But, I digress...) Anyway, the girls go into Mateo’s apartment whilst he looks for “treats” to give them (speech marks on treats because they’re trick or treating, not to imply some fucked up innuendo. I really need to stop listening to “Rape Me” by Nirvana when I’m trying to write. Bastards!), and during this time, they reveal to him what happened to their brother. He is really moved by their story, and by their strength to carry on, and he decides to give them his pot of change, as he doesn’t have any sweets for them. The girls thank him and go home, to find there are several dollars in the change jar. Sarah, grateful to him for this, suggests they invite Mateo over for dinner, and he agrees to come. However, there is some apparent tension between Mateo and John, and after the girls sneak presents (a coin and a ring, representing future wealth and marriage) into Mateo’s dinner, John leaves the table, looking angry. At first, I was worried because Mateo didn’t appear to have done anything to upset him, and I thought that John just disliked him because he was black, but later on, we find out this isn’t the case. Sarah and John discover at the hospital that the Foetus Sarah is carrying is damaged, and there was a good chance either it or she would die if the pregnancy was allowed to continue. Sarah puts on a brave face for the girls, and tells them it’s going to be fine, but John, having already lost one son, can’t handle it, and storms out. On his way out, he runs into Mateo, and starts asking him aggressively if he’s in love with Sarah. Mateo tells John that he is, in fact, in love with him, and (oh wait, that explains the Oscar thing, actually, playing the gay card always works; Philadelphia, Capote, Milk...) then states that he is in love with everything in the world, and when John tells him how bad his life it, Mateo simply informs him that he would happily switch places with him anytime if he could. This calms John, and he walks back home, deciding to try harder to appreciate what he has. It also, unfortunately lets us know something is up with Mateo. Although we can pretty well guess it at this point (Yep, it’s AIDS. Don’t worry, you’re not a homophobe if you guessed that... well, you might be, I just mean the two aren’t related), we only know it for certain much later when the eldest daughter finds Mateo collapsed, and gives him mouth-to-mouth whilst a nearby junkie pleads with her not to.
After this point, we see the effect of Mateo’s illness, and Sarah’s pregnancy take a toll on all the characters, and John struggles to make money to pay the hospital bills. Mateo keeps on playing with the girls for as long as he can, but eventually is admitted to hospital, too ill to carry on. The movie starts to get really dark at this point, and after the baby is born, it looks as though it might die. The doctors say it needs a transfusion to survive, and that the only member of the family with the same blood type is the eldest daughter, who fears she may now have aids. At this point, the movie could have gone either way, and either become one of the darkest, most painful to watch movies ever, or been one of the greatest feel-good movies of all time. Thankfully, Sheridan chose the latter, and gives us the happy ending everyone wanted (though the other way still would have been one hell of an interesting film, and still definitely worth a watch). The ending is incredibly powerful, and very moving, even if it does seem like a cheap trick to try and get audiences to cry (So if you’re trying to work the “sensitive guy” angle, try watching this movie with the girl you’re into, I guarantee it’ll work. Well, unless you’re too macho to cry, like I am...). Fuck it, I didn’t want to say it, but I will, so Spoiler Alert for the next paragraph – The baby lives, but Mateo dies. However, he leaves the family the money to pay off their $30,000 medical bills (Yeah, turns out he was really rich but just lived in a crappy apartment cos it helped his art or something...). We then see a shot of the dad and the girls on the balcony, and the father tells the youngest he can see Mateo waving goodbye to them, riding past the moon like E.T. did (E.T. was her favourite movie, and they saw it earlier, remember?). At the same time, the eldest girl uses her last wish to convince John to say goodbye to her dead brother, Frankie, and he does this. Then, the icing on the cake is that the eldest girl spends the whole movie videotaping everything, and right at the end we see a shot of Mateo smiling and laughing, playing with the girls. Cheap but effective, cinema 101. And Hounsou’s performance was so realistic that it does feel as though you are watching the character himself, rather than just watching an actor play him, so this makes it all the more powerful.
Overall, then, I would say this is an amazing, feel-good story (unlike last year’s “Feel-good movie”, Slumdog Millionaire, which involved a kid getting his fucking eye burned out! Not even War Zone had something that bad in – though it did have a dude get a chairleg through the eye... Rock), and I would definitely recommend watching it. The plot is great, the acting is amazing (especially Hounsou – I might have to watch Mystic River now, see if Robbins really did deserve to beat him. Still, I’m glad it didn’t go to Lord of the Rings instead, like 90% of the Oscars that year did...), and the cinematography is brilliant. Remember how I said I loved the way in Get Rich or Die Tryin’ that Sheridan filmed a lot of scenes looking in mirrors, and I especially loved at the start of the film when he’s filming through the car’s wing mirror and the bas makes the whole shot jump? Well, in this movie, he intercuts the actual footage of the movie with shots from the eldest daughter’s videocamera throughout, and this gives the movie a more personal, and more real, feel. There is also a brilliant scene of comedic relief in which John, realizing he will have another child to support, and failing at his auditions, starts to drive a cab around New York, and a business man in the back of the cab starts telling him that, even though he knows he’s white, he’s a rapper, and starts busting an endless stream of mad rhymes. John responds eventually by getting out the cab, opening the back door, and pulling the guy out by his feet into the street. I had to wonder whether Sheridan wrote this rap himself, given I know he wrote one of the ones used in Get Rich or Die Tryin’, and even though this scene did have a far more surreal comedic feel than the rest of the movie, I still really enjoyed it, which is good since often when directors try to put in random comic relief, it just ends up ruining the movie (looking at you, Wes ‘Ok, so we’ve got a really dark movie about two girls being abducted and murdered, let’s throw in a scene where the incompetent cops on the case try and get a lift with a black woman in a truck full of chickens, and she stalls it and they go flying off the roof because the truck can’t take their weight, plus the weight of the chickens, how funny will that be?’ Craven). So, yeah, even the random stuff was highly enjoyable, and actually added to the movie, rather than detract from it.
Oh, one more thing, at the end we are told that the movie is “dedicated to the memory of Frankie Sheridan”, so it is possible that the dead son was based around either Jim Sheridan’s brother, or son, or someone, which just makes the whole thing seem so more real. Plus, the film was written by three members of the Sheridan family, so is clearly a very personal movie for them.
Time to rate this film, I guess...




This movie is simply brilliant, and you can’t help but smile at the end, even if just seconds before you felt like you wanted to cry (yeah, I know - shut up...). I will definitely be looking out for any other movies by Jim Sheridan, as the two I have seen so far are so damn good. Watch this film!

Oh, and sorry there are no links to videos in this review – My laptop isn’t connected to the internet at the time of writing, and I doubt I’ll be bothered to add any when I do upload this. Oh, but if anyone knows a big movie where a well known actor played a gay character (along the lines of Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, not Rupert Everett in My Best Friend’s Wedding – uh, not that I’ve watched that, or anything...), and wasn’t nominated, please private message me. And I just came up with another, Ledger for Brokeback mountain (and for The Dark Knight as well. Come on – the make-up and tailor-made suits are a dead giveaway). Man, this seems like the easiest way ever to get an Oscar Nomination...

The Departed - In Depth (Text)

First Published Feb 13 2009

Originally, I hadn’t intended to do reviews of movies where my opinion of the film matched the opinion of the majority of people I know who have seen the film. I figured that people don’t really want to listen to someone just describe back to them all the things they liked about a film, and would find it more interesting if I either reviewed movies they had yet to see, or else my opinion of the movie was vastly different from theirs, in which case they could read my arguments for the flip-side of what they thought. That was my plan originally. However, here I am, only 4 reviews in, and I’m reviewing a movie that the critics loved, everyone I know loves, and yes, I also love. So, forgive me if you get bored at any point during this review – I’ll try my best to keep it interesting, and hopefully it’ll be up to scratch.
The reason why I decided to review this movie, rather than one matching my previously mentioned criteria, is that I got a request to review it from a reader. Thrilled that I even have regular readers, I decided that I would fulfil the request, and review one of the best gangster movies of this century: The Departed.
The Departed opens with actual footage of violent disturbances in Boston from the 70s, and this is accompanied by a powerful voice over from Irish Mobster Francis Costello (Jack Nicholson), in which he delivers possibly the best opening lines to a film since DeNiro’s opening voice over in Casino.

“I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me.”

This one line lets us know exactly what kind of man Costello is. Powerful, determined, and not the kind of guy you want to fuck with. This view of him is confirmed in the very next scene, when he walks into a Diner, and is immediately handed money out of the cash register by the proprietor without having to say a word. It is at this point that we are introduced to Colin Sullivan, a young boy who is eating in the Diner at the time Costello walks in. Costello, having known Sullivan’s late father, has the owners of the Diner collect a bag of groceries for Colin to take home to his grandmother, and offers him a job working for him. When we next see Sullivan, he is sitting in one of Costello’s auto repair shops, listening to Costello as him informs him of his philosophy on organised crime. It is clear that Costello is getting through to Sullivan, and we know the second we flash forward to the present that the older Sullivan, who we see taking the State Police training course, is still loyal to Costello.
It is also during this opening segment that we are introduced to Costello’s right-hand man, Mr. French, in a fantastic scene showing a young Costello shooting an Italian mobster and his wife on the beach. When Costello remarks “huh. she fell funny...” French just looks at him and says “Francis, you really should see somebody”, whilst standing there with an axe, ready to chop up the bodies and dispose of them. This comedic element mixed with a violent scene is very reminiscent of Joe Pesci’s scene’s in Goodfellas, though obviously in the case of The Departed, none of the characters are quite so over-the-top crazy as he is. The scene is shot fantastically, most from a long angle, and sums up the characters of French and Costello perfectly (though, as already mentioned, we could tell what kind of man Costello was the first time he spoke).
In the present, we see Sullivan graduate his police training, and become a member of the Special Investigations Unit of the State Police. At the same time, we are introduced to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, William Costigan, who is also attempting to become a State Police trooper. After graduating the academy, we see Sullivan being interviewed by the captain of the police department and his staff sergeant, played by Mark Wahlberg. After Sullivan is given the job, we see DiCaprio go into the room after him, ready for his interview.
Moving away from the plot here quickly, I just have to say that Mark Wahlberg’s performance in this film is absolutely fantastic. His very first line comes after Captain Queenan (played by Martin Sheen) compliments Damon, saying “you rise fast”. Instantly, Wahlberg adds “like a twelve year old’s dick”, to which Sullivan is only able to reply “thank you staff sergeant”. This is a fantastic moment, and is just one of Wahlberg’s hilarious lines that comes up throughout the course of the film. The first time I watched the film, I wasn’t too sure about Wahlberg’s character, because in the interview with DiCaprio, when DiCaprio tells him he has an idea of what goes on in their department, Wahberg tells him to say he has no idea what goes on the Department because “if you knew what went on in this department, we would not be good at what we do. We would be Cunts. Are you calling us Cunts?”. At first, I thought this line was unnecessary, as the double use of the word ‘cunt’ in that sentence just seemed gratuitous, and I was worried Scorsese was just attempting to be more edgy by using more bad language (which, for the record, doesn’t work). However, after watching a few of Wahlberg’s scenes, I realised that this quote actually fit the character perfectly, and was not an attempt to put unnecessary swearing in the film, but rather an attempt to capture the character’s entire personality in that one introductory scene, something which (on the rewatch), I believe Scorsese achieved. Wahlberg has a number of brilliant lines throughout the course of the film, and probably delivers more hilarious pieces of dialogue than the rest of the cast combined. Out of these, I would have to say that the one which tops them all has to be when DiCaprio, fearful for his life, calls him in the latter part of the film, telling him he has to talk to Queenan, and Wahlberg just answers “why don’t we meet up, sweetie? I’ll buy you an Ice cream...”
I’m a big fan of Mark Wahlberg (which explains why I dragged my ex to see Max Payne for our second date when it came out. Which in turn explains why I’m now single. I’m so lonely...), and have thought he was great in pretty well every film I’ve seen him in, the main one I would like to mention being Four Brothers. This film is no exception, and he pulls off the character of Staff Sergeant Dignam perfectly. Having not seen “Little Miss Sunshine”, I can’t really comment on whether Wahlberg deserved the Oscar more than Alan Arkin, but I am glad he was nominated because it is truly one of the best performances I’ve seen from him. It’s probably his only role where they’ve tried to tone down his ‘physical tough-guy’ image and given him more of a ‘sarcastic tough-guy’ personality instead. He constantly wears long sleeves to cover the fact that he is actually a lot more muscular than DiCaprio or Damon, and has his hair styled with an extreme side-parting, to give him an almost geeky look (though VKisyourmaster, some random girl on youtube, thinks "His hair is oddly sexy in this movie... "). This suits the character perfectly, and makes his relatively small role in the movie extremely memorable, kind of in the same way that people only tend to remember Pesci’s bits from Goodfellas.
Anyway, back to the plot. Queenan and Dignam both convince Costigan to go undercover, and help them build a case against Frank Costello. Costigan agrees, and when we next see him, he is working out in his prison cell, having been sent to prison in order to help cover the fact that he’s an undercover cop by giving him a convincing story as to why he was kicked out of the police academy. It is at this point that we are given the title sequence, almost twenty minutes into the film, and it is also the first time we hear the theme song ‘Shipping Up to Boston’ by the Dropkick Murphy’s.
The song is just incredible. Powerful, incredibly energetic, and with a real ‘Irish’ quality to it (which, given the film is about Irish mobsters, is definitely a plus). I just want to know how “An Inconvenient Truth” could possibly have won the Oscar for ‘best song’, and The Departed not even be nominated for it. I mean, honestly, have you ever asked someone what the CD they’re playing in their car is, and have them answer “it’s the soundtrack to ‘An Inconvenient Truth’”? No? That’s because it didn’t have a fucking memorable soundtrack! It got the fucking Oscar because the Oscars is all political, and they wanted to award as many as they could to Al Gore’s film, but realised there weren’t many categories it could fit into so said “I know, we’ll just award it best song, no one pays attention to the smaller categories, and it’ll mean they can put ‘the Oscar winning movie’ on the cover”. So, once again I feel the need to say: Fuck the Academy coming straight from the underground / you motherfuckers ain’t got a clue what makes good sound! Seriously, if Dreamgirls or something had won instead, I wouldn’t have given a fuck. At least then I could have told myself “Well, it’s a musical, what do you expect?”. But a fucking documentary by Al Gore? Get the fuck outta here! Oh, and for the record, Mr. Gore – the ice sheets on the antartic (though admittedly, not Artic - but as you said in your film, the Antartic's the important one) are currently the biggest they’ve been since 1979, SO SUCK IT, DUMBASS! (Oh, and also, when you say “the Earth’s temperature is the hottest it’s been in 30 years”, that means it was fucking hotter 30 years ago you moron! Global Warming is a myth, just like Bigfoot, Jesus or the BNP. Trust me.)

EDIT: Sorry for being so retarded here, it has occurred to me since publishing this that Shipping Up to Boston was not written specially for the film, and therefore is not actually elligible for the Oscar nomination. Still, if it had been written for The Departed, it would certainly have deserved to win.

Anyway, yeah – Shipping up to Boston is an awesome track and really gets you pumped up and ready for the rest of the film. I used to listen to it before weightlifting back when I used to work out, and there a few songs that can get you quite as pumped up as this one. In my review of Get Rich or Die Tryin’ I stated that it had one of the best rap theme songs I’ve heard (since 8 mile), and in the same vein, I believe that The Departed has the best Irish Punk theme song ever. Though, having said that – I honestly can’t think of any other movies that use Irish Punk music in their soundtrack. In fact, I can’t even think of any Irish Punk bands other than Dropkick Murphy’s... U2 are punk, right? Or are they Hip-Hop? Whatever... What I’ve saying is: The song is AWESOME.
So, umm... back to the film. Yeah, basically, DiCaprio gets out of prison and starts hanging out with his cousin, Sean, who looks disturbingly similar to Hector from Lake Placid, but isn’t. Anyway, he’s out dealing with his cousin when they run into Mr. French in a bar (who I forgot to mention is played by Ray Winstone, though I’m sure you’ve seen the movie if you’re ready this so know that already. In fact, if you haven’t seen it: STOP READING THIS!!!! THE ENDING IS FUCKING AWESOME AND I’M GOING TO SPOIL IT FOR YOU IF YOU KEEP ON READING, SO STOP!!!!!! Anyway...) who doesn’t seem to think all that much of Sean. Whilst Sean is talking to French and this other dude, DiCaprio goes and buys a cranberry juice from the bar. He happens to be sitting next to some Irish wanker when he (hmm... that’s interesting, apparently Microsoft Word doesn’t think ‘wanker’ is a real word, and suggests I want to say ‘winker’, ‘walker’, ‘swanker’ or ‘wander’ instead. Further proof Americans do not know the best insults (it’s not that it doesn’t accept profanity – cunt and motherfucker don’t have red squiggly lines under them. Nor does the word ‘squiggly’, for that matter. Is squiggly even a word???). What? You thought I typed these straight into my notes on Facebook? Are you crazy? 5000 odd words without a spell checker or a ‘save’ function? Not a chance! Microsoft Word FTW!) orders the drink, who points out that cranberry juice is a natural diuretic (I think... whatever that means...), before asking Leo if he’s on his period (understandable if this were Titanic, but he actually looks kinda hard and manly in this film). Anyway, Leo decides he’s not gonna take that shit, and smashes a glass over the dude’s head. This shot is great, because the camera does not cut from the moment he orders the drink up until we see the glass shatter on the guys head, and we see all the build up in one long take. The breaking glass also looks incredibly realistic, and you get the feeling that DiCaprio may have picked up a real glass instead of the stunt one, and actually glassed the guy. Anyway, DiCaprio starts hitting the guy, and French steps in and throws him off. Leo goes to take his shirt off to show French his ‘guns’ or something, but French stops him, before giving his best piece of dialogue in the film, where he states “there are guys you can hit, and guys you can’t hit. Now that’s not quite a guy you can’t hit, but he’s damn sure near a guy you can’t hit. So I’m gonna make a fucking ruling here: you don’t hit him! Got it?”. This amazing segment of dialogue has infinite applications if altered slightly. For example, guys – you see some douchebag with your ex/sister, you can say: “there are girls you can fuck, and girls you can’t fuck. Now that’s not quite a girl you can’t fuck, but she’s damn sure near a girl you can’t fuck. So I’m gonna make a fucking ruling here: you don’t fuck her! Got it?”. As all guys are inherent fans of The Departed, he’ll love the reference, and leave her alone to watch gangster films with you. As for the ladies, I have no idea how you can alter and apply this line, because I have no idea what you like. Shoes, right? Women like shoes, don’t they? “that’s not quite a pair of shoes you shouldn’t wear...”. Am I on to anything here? Damn it! Why do you have to be so difficult to understand? Why couldn’t you just be men with boobs? Why???????

(N.B. Vaginas as well... you know, before anyone sends me a link of some dude with man boobs ( and without penis’s, before I get my inbox flooded with tranny porn... again ( In fact, ladies – I like you just the way you are. But, you know, you could at least tell us what you want. Am I right guys? ...Guys? Hmm, just me, then...)

Anyway, Winstone owns this scene, and after telling DiCaprio he can’t hit the guy, turns around and beats the shit out of him himself! What a man!
We then get some stuff with Matt Damon being assigned to the Costello task force, and see all manner of fine women checking him out. What I wouldn’t give to be Matt Damon, Geez! The dude’s a Babe magnet! Seriously, he’s like George Clooney and Brad Pitt combined but about 10 years younger. Was he always hot? I don’t remember girls going on about him when The Bourne Identity came out... Do I sound at all gay here? I’m gonna shut up now...
Anyway, Sullivan starts dating this psychiatrist, and she moves in with him. His new girlfriend, however, just happens to be Leo’s court appointed psychiatrist, and this leads to a kind of love triangle forming later in the story. I was kind of annoyed at this first time I saw the movie, to be honest, because after Leo breaks his hand (whoops! Haven’t done that bit yet! Sorry, I’ll do it next), we see a shot of the nurse (or possibly doctor) fixing it in a cast for him, and he looks at her for quite a long time with a kind of longing look on his face. I’ve always been sad that romance never blossomed... My God! I sound so gay today, I have no idea what it is! Maybe it’s cos it’s late and I’m tired? Guys, I’m sorry – I swear, I don’t actually swing that way – I’ll get back to the violent scenes before I say anything too embarrassing. Did I mention I’ve watched the entire series of Pride and Prejudice? and can name all the Bennett daughters???... FUCK!!! Too late...
Anyway, onto violence! Yes, violence! I’m a real man, and I like to see blood in my movies! Yeah! Get some! Proper Geezer, loike!
So, Leo breaks his hand by beating up some Italian dudes who are trying to extort money out of an arab shopkeeper, and the shop (diner?) this occurs in just happens to be the diner we saw at the start of the movie when Costello met Sullivan. Anyway, the Italians are trying to get money off the dude, and Leo beats them up, cos he knows Costello hates Guineas and will no doubt offer him a job as a reward (Guineas as in Italians, not currency or pigs). Leo beats the crap out of them, but breaks his wrist doing so, and goes to the hospital. We’ll skip the next couple of scenes cos I’m a real man and I don’t wanna talk about that soppy bullshit, roight? So then, we see Leo back in the bar where he met French, when Costello walks in and sit next to him. He reveals who he is, then asks DiCaprio to follow him into the back room.
When they get in the back, Costello tells DiCaprio that the Italians are gonna get some guys and some guns, and come back to Southie to kill him. He offers to protect DiCaprio, and offers him a job. DiCaprio accepts his offers, then Costello decides he should make sure he’s not a cop, so gets French to break the cast on his wrist looking for a wire, then starts hitting his hand with a shoe whilst shouting “Are you still a cop?!?” whilst Leo screams “I’m not a fucking cop”, then cries like a sissy. Yeah, I’m all man! Hardcore! Love it! Anyway, Costello and French leave and tell Leo they’ll be in touch. Sullivan finds the bodies of the two Italian Dudes the next day.
We then get into the main part of the film, with DiCaprio slowly getting involved deeper and deeper in gang activities, and Sullivan being promoted and being tasked with finding the rat in the police department (which he is). At some point, Costello finds out there is a rat in his crew, and so tasks Sullivan with finding him, whilst Leo is tasked by the police with finding Costello’s rat in the department (Sullivan). To put it simply – Sullivan has to find DiCaprio, and DiCaprio has to find Sullivan. Cat and mouse chase kinda thing.
Anyway, we get all manner of violent scenes showing Costigan becoming submerged in the lifestyle of the gangsters, and see Mr. French do some fantastic things like shoot a dude in the head whilst using a drinks bottle as a silencer, and strangle his wife with piano wire or something (because beating the shit out of his pregnant wife in Nil By Mouth clearly wasn’t far enough for Ray Winstone...). At the same time, we see the police keep on upping their efforts to catch Costello and find his rat. Including a great scene where the cops are watching Costello’s crew as they go to exchange some micro-processors with some Chinese government guys for a million dollars.
There are a number of things that make this scene great. First off, Alec Baldwin as the captain overseeing the operation. Just before the operation begins, he is nervous and speaking to Matt Damon, who is going to be running identification of Costello’s crew whilst they arrive. Nervous, Baldwin says to him “I’m going for a smoke, you don’t smoke, do you? What are you, one of those fitness freaks? Go fuck yourself!” without leaving any time between questions for Damon to answer. This line is hilarious, and apparently actually reflects the way people in Boston speak, according to some random people on imdb who I can’t be bothered to reference [citation needed].
On top of this, we get a fantastic shot when Damon is sending a text to Costello to warn him not to use his phone during the trade-off because the feds are listening in, and he does this whilst his phone is in his pocket! We see the phone inside the pocket, and him typing the message, and to be honest, it just makes me wish I could do that. It’s freaking awesome!
Add to this the crazy Chinese dude’s angry rant at Costello, and the awesome close-up on French’s revolver as he cocks it behind his back, and you’ve got a brilliant scene.
I do have just one complaint about this scene, however. When Collin is calling Costello to warn him the cops are going to be there (in code), he calls Costello “dad”. Captain Queenan hears him talking on the phone, but does not suspect anything. The thing is, the cops would know that Collin’s father was dead, and as Queenan was the captain, he was sure to know Collin’s personal info. I was kind of surprised when the scene didn’t pay out like this, to be honest:

Colin: (random code talk for ‘the cops are here’)

(Queenan walks over)

Colin: Ok, I’ll see you later. Ok, pa! Bye. (hangs up)

Queenan: Was that your father?

Colin: Yeah, that was my dad.

Queenan: The same dad that died in 1979, you mean?

Colin: Oh, fuck!

Dignam: I knew it! He’s the fucking rat! (various jokes about Sullivan’s sister)

But maybe I’m just reading into it too much. After all, I doubt the captains can remember everything about every cop under them, right?
Anyway, Costello and his boys get away again thanks to the cop who was setting up the AV surveillance screwing up, and it’s back to square one. Costello keeps on going, and Leo keeps on trying to stop him. We get more action scenes, and some love scenes between both Matt Damon and the psychiatrist, and DiCaprio and the same Psychiatrist, cos she is a bit of a prozzie, innit? Anyway, soon after Costello is getting really annoyed at having a rat in his crew, so asks Colin to deal with him. Colin asks for Costello to give him all his main guys’ names and details, and the result of this is Leo having to give his info up to be searched. Knowing he is the rat, Leo isn’t too keen to stick around, and tries to get away at this point. Unfortunately, Costello takes Leo’s leaving as a sign that he was the rat, and has French bring him to a restaurant to meet him for a heart-to-heart.
The confrontation we get at this point is absolutely amazing. Nicholson does a hilarious rat impression, pretending to be gnawing the air. His laughter at the start when he sees Leo also builds the tension, because it’s the exact same kind of laughter we’ve heard in Goodfellas and The Sopranos just before someone gets whacked. The kind of “I’m gonna whack you, you fucking rat and you don’t even know it yet!” laugh. But when the questions start to get tough, and Costello starts grilling him, Leo keeps his cool, and manages to convince Costello not to kill him. Costello leaves, and Leo is left alive, and no doubt amazed he managed to talk his way out of that one.
Soon after, Leo decides he wants out and asks Queenan to meet him. Sullivan, however, has put a tail on Queenan, and this leads Sullivan’s boys right to the building where Leo is hiding. Sullivan calls Costello, who sends his boys to kill the rat. On their way, one of the guys calls Leo and tells him to meet him at the building he’s in, because they’ve heard the rat’s there. Queenan tells Leo to get out of there, and he runs down the fire escape. Costello’s boys burst in and throw Queenan out the window, just as Costigan gets out the building. As Costello’s boys leave, they see Leo in the street and assume he just got there, responding to the call. Leo gets in the van with them, but before they can drive off, the cops Sullivan had tailing Queenan open fire on Costello’s boys, fatally wounding one.
Back at Costello’s bar, the wounded man reveals to Leo that he is a cop, and knows that Leo is as well, before dying from his gunshot wound. Leo leaves the bar, realizing that he got two cops killed that day, but knowing that this means no one will suspect him of being the rat any longer. Meanwhile, at the police station, Dignam’s pissed off that Sullivan had Queenan tailed, and claims this led to his death. The two of them punch it out, but are pulled apart before it gets really nasty. The captain (Baldwin) sends Dignam on a 2 week leave of absence, and Sullivan takes over Queenan’s operation.
At this point, Leo calls Sullivan, who reveals he has taken over the operation. Leo seems wary of him, but at the same time seems to think he can trust him. Leo gets ready to go on the final big operation with Costello, and plans to call in the location so the cops can go bust him. At the same time Sullivan, who was planning on using his new position to discover who the rat was for Costello, finds out through reading Queenan’s files that Costello was an FBI informant, and was giving his own people up to avoid prosecution himself. Sullivan decides he doesn’t want to hang around until he is sold out to the FBI, and decides to go with the plan as Leo wants. He takes a unit of cops down to the shipyard where the deal is going down, and at this point we get the biggest shootout of the movie as Costello and his boys try to escape, and the cops try to stop him.
There are some great shots in this scene, with all of the deaths being incredibly dramatic. Scorsese freezes the action at a number of points for only half a second at a time when guns are fired and when people are hit, and this is a really cool effect. Ray Winstone also crashes his car, and shoots himself in the head before it blows up. Seriously, this scene is awesome – one of those great shootouts you know you’ll remember. Not quite True Romance, but still right up there. Anyway, at the end of the scene, Matt Damon confronts Costello in the back of the building and asks him if it’s true he’s an FBI informant. Costello admits he is, and Damon shoots him a whole load of times. He then tells the rest of the cops that he’s got Costello.
At this point, the film feels like it’s kind of wrapping up. Costello’s dead, Costigan has revealed himself as the informer and is back at police HQ, and Sullivan is a hero. It feels like the movie is going to end here, but it doesn’t. Costigan discovers that Sullivan is the rat when he sees the envelope which had contained all of Costello’s gang’s contact details lying on his desk, and quickly leaves the police station rather than confront him. I thought this was kind of odd when I first watched this, because I felt it would have made more sense if Costigan had just run into the corridor and screamed “Sullivan’s the rat! Arrest that mother fucker!”. However, I now realize that without any evidence, it was Costigan’s word against Sullivan’s, and who would the cops believe? A well liked and respected sergeant, or some nobody trooper who’s just spent well over a year living with a bunch of criminal psychopaths? No, seriously – I’m asking: who would they believe in that situation? I have no idea...
Anyway, at this point, Sullivan realizes what’s going on and deletes Costigan’s file, so there is no evidence he was ever a cop. Thinking he’s solved his problem, Sullivan goes home, and tries to carry on living his new, normal life. His girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant, and he is overjoyed. She neglects to tell him there is a real possibility it could be Costigan’s child, however, as we all know Matt Damon has trouble getting it up (in the movie, that is, dunno about in real life...). Which reminds me, actually - just before we get the love scee before DCaprio' character and Matt Damon's girlfriend, he is standing in her house and says "you don't have any cats... I like that", and all of a sudden she's all over him! Since when has a dislike of cats been sexy? Girls, would you think that was an impressive pick up line if some guy said it to you? If so, that definately expains where i've been going wrong all these years... I love cats!
So anyway, back to the story... Sullivan goes on living his life, all happy and well. Unfortunately for him, however, Costigan has been sent tapes by Costello’s lawyer of a number of recordings of conversations between Costello and Sullivan, which prove he was the rat. Sullivan agrees to meet Costigan in order to get the tapes back, but when he arrives, Costigan beats him up and arrests him. And I’m sorry, but I can’t say what the ending is! I just can’t – just in case there’s someone reading this who hasn’t seen it. But let me just say – it is one of the most shocking endings I have ever seen, and I couldn’t believe it when it happened. I literally jumped right out of my seat like “what the fuck!?!?!” at the end of the elevator scene – having assumed that Costigan’s plan had been to get Sullivan to confess to being the rat and record the confession on a secret wire. But no! The actual ending was so much better than I expected, and remains to this day one of my favourite endings!
Just before I sum up, I wanted to comment on the frequent use of X’s in the film. You see, there are very often X’s dotted around in scenes, either girders crossing, light shining on the wall, or tape across windows. Apparently, this is a reference to the original “Scarface” from the 30s, which showed an X on screen whenever someone dies. I think it’s a pretty cool touch, and love how the X’s only appear near characters who die in the movie (which is most of them, to be fair). Although, I would like to add: Why bother? Yeah, it’s cool when you know what it’s about, but come on, it didn’t really add to the movie and it must have been SO much effort to do! I would have left it out myself... But still, it’s cool.
So, that’s the film. Now for just a couple of criticisms: firstly, the rat at the end. Too obviously CGI, and unnecessary. Yeah, I get the movie was all about rats, but you didn’t need to actually show one! As for the CGI thing, that annoyed me, cos it means the very last thing you see looks fake. However, I have since discovered (courtesy of imdb) that the background we see out the window was added by green screen anyway, so even without the rat we would have ended on an effects shot. Still, the background looks like it’s really there. The rat doesn’t.
Second, I haven’t seen infernal affairs, but I’ve heard that it’s completely identical to it in terms of the plot, so I guess in terms of the film industry, the ending isn’t actually quite as dramatic as I thought, simply because it’s been done before.
And lastly, and this is just a small point, I felt the scenes with Costello and the black hooker didn’t really fit in too well, because I got the impression that Costello wasn’t comfortable with anyone but the Irish, insulting the blacks and the Italians at the start of the film, and at various other points. I felt that if they had just used an Irish girl instead it would have fitted in better with the character. As I said, just a minor detail but it mattered to me.
Also, anyone know if Costigan had that tattoo on his chest the whole time, or just got it put on when he went to prison? I was wondering about it when I saw it, like “isn’t he meant to be upper-middle class? Isn’t that what ‘lace-curtained’ means? Why does he have that tattoo? Did he just get that in prison, or did he have it all along?”. Also, are the hats a way of showing gang affiliation like they are in LA? Just wondering, cos Leo sure does love his baseball cap. That’s more of a black thing though, I guess. Not Irish... Although having said that, they use football shirts in Dublin to signify gang membership. Celtic for Catholics and Rangers for Protestants, I think...
So, that’s my review of the movie. To sum up: Killer plot, great acting, superb direction and Marky Mark. What more could you want?




Absolutely awesome movie – just a couple of minor flaws here and there but otherwise near perfect. Still not quite Goodfellas, though. The back of the box gives us a quote from the Daily Mirror claiming it’s “Scorsese’s best film since Goodfellas”, and I’ve got to agree – although it’s a close tie with Casino, which is also fucking awesome. Wahlberg sways it, though. Legend.

P.S. I realize that I have neglected to include even a single relevant YouTube video in this review, so please accept this with my apologies: (umm... fellas, you probably don’t want to watch it – more for the ladies... you can watch this one instead: (Ladies, you probably don't wanna watch this one...))

EDIT: I know what a diuretic is now, so please don't leave comments explaining this, and especially don't leave any videos! Thanks.

Get Rich or Die Tryin' - The Review (Text)

First published Feb 11 2009

I figured I was on a roll with the reviews, so thought I would broaden my range a little and move away from the comic book movies... Going for a slightly older movie here, and one I doubt many of you will have watched. Hope you enjoy the review!

I bought this movie on impulse one day when I found it for £4 at HMV in Portsmouth. The reason I picked it up was because I was certain it would be absolutely shit, and would be a real laugh to watch (one of those “it’s so bad it’s hilarious” kind of movies).
Upon viewing it, however, I realized how wrong my initial suspicions had been. The movie opens with a shot looking at the wing mirror of a car as it drives through the streets of New York, and across the Brooklyn Bridge. The track playing over the top is a rap song written by 50 Cent specifically for use in the movie, and I have to say, it is one of the best rap songs I have heard used as a movie theme since Eminem’s Oscar winning track “Lose Yourself” from the movie 8-Mile. The track has some awesome drum beats and a heavy bass line, and the director made the awesome choice to have the wing mirror vibrate every time a bass note is played, as would happen if you were really driving along blaring out loud music with your bass turned up (as I’m sure everyone who drives will be able to tell you). This effect alone gave me some high hopes for the movie, because I knew that the director was at least vaguely competent.
The real point at which I decided to start watching the movie seriously, and not just for a laugh, occurred at the end of the opening credits, when I saw the name of the writer. Terence Winter. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, Winter was one of the head writers on the TV series ‘The Sopranos’, and is responsible for many of the best episodes (including this one:, which he co-wrote with Tim Van Patten if memory servs...). With a script from a writer of that calibre, the movie was almost guaranteed to be good, and the opening scene definitely did not disappoint. Within minutes, we see 50 Cent and his boys, including Terrence Howard (who at the time I knew as ‘the detective from Four Brothers’, but who I’m pretty sure everyone else only knows as ‘that Air Force Colonel from Iron Man’ these days), carry out an armed robbery on a Colombian Gang’s safe house. The scene is action packed and very intense, and best of all, we see that 50 can actually act, something I personally had not expected. At the end of the opening sequence, we see 50 Cent’s character Marcus get shot outside his grandmother’s house, in one of the most brutal shootings I’ve seen in a film (outside of an actual shoot-out) since Casino. After this scene, we flashback to Marcus as a kid, and from then on the movie plays out in chronological order.
The plot revolves around Marcus’ rise from a street level teenage drug dealer to rap star, and all that happens to him in between. We start out with Marcus being nothing more a poor kid trying to scrape a living dealing Coke in Queens, and follow his rise to power as one of the best earners in ‘Mr. Majestic’s’ crew. Majestic, a powerful black gangster who is a captain in one of the largest crews in New York, befriends Marcus at a young age, and helps him gain the power and money he craves. Majestic is played by a fantastic Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who’s name I’m not even going to attempt to pronounce, who most people will know as Nykwana Wombosi from The Bourne Identity. Agbaje manages to pull off being both the calm and intelligent mentor to Marcus, and psychopathic killer, that the part requires of him with ease, and is totally convincing throughout most of the movie. The rest of the supporting cast are also very good, and Terrence Howard is flawless in his portrayal as Marcus’ not-quite-all-there manager in the latter half of the film.
Howard is introduced at around the half-way point of the film (excluding his 5 minute scene at the start before the flashback), in one of the most memorable yet horrific introductions of a character in movie history – the prison shower scene. This scene isn’t quite as bad as you might imagine from the previous sentence, and luckily does not involve any male rape. However, it is something that I am certain will haunt me for the rest of my life (or at least, for the rest of my life as long as I watch Terrence Howard movies). Basically, what happens is; Marcus is throw in Prison for drugs possession, and on his first day inside, he is attacked in the showers by a knife-wielding Columbian inmate who wants revenge for Marcus shooting one of his fellow gang members in the leg earlier in the film. Howard’s character, Bama, happens to be showering at the same time as Marcus, and when the attack starts, he tries to help fight off the knife-wielding Columbian. In order to show this scene unfold, the director, in his infinite wisdom, decided to use a long shot of the entire shower block, intercut with a number of close-ups of the action. The unfortunate side-effect of this is that, when Howard is forced to retreat away from the other inmates to avoid getting stabbed, we are left with a shot of his penis directly in front of our eyes, and believe me – this is not a pleasant sight. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that during a knife fight in a cold shower surrounded by a bunch of naked men, my penis wouldn’t exactly look big – but Howard’s penis borders on disturbingly small. In fact, scratch “borders”, it’s horrific to look at. I mean, I don’t like full frontals in movies anyway. The one at the start of 28 Days Later ruined that movie for me (as opposed to 28 Weeks Later, which was ruined just by being shit), but this is just wrong. It’s so small that rather than simply being able to type “WARNING: FULL FRONTAL ON HOWARD”, I have instead written this entire paragraph warning people that, even if they are female or homosexual, they will not enjoy this scene (except possibly for comedy value). If you think I’m exaggerating here, well, there’s nothing I can do to prove I’m not – since I can’t even find a clip of it on YouTube – which you know means it’s GOT to be bad (admittedly, I did not type in “Get Rich or Die Tryin’ Shower Scene”, out of fear of what would appear in my ‘recommended for you' section the next time I logged in. But seriously, you don’t want to see that anyway...). In short, if you want to watch this movie, but want to be able to have normal dreams as opposed to nightmares in future, I suggest that you either look away when this scene’s on, or simply fast-forward. Unless you have a small dick fetish (in which case if you’re a hot woman, feel free to private message me...).
Anyway, back to the film. In prison, Marcus decides that he’d rather focus on becoming a rapper than continue drug dealing, so he agrees to hire the small-dicked Bama as his manager. Upon leaving prison, Marcus is met by both Bama, and Majestic. Majestic offers Marcus the position of his being his right-hand man, which (with Majestic’s having framed the Boss and murdered the underboss via plastic bag to the head whilst Marcus was in prison), would make him number two in the hierarchy of the entire New York crew. Marcus, however, has already made up his mind, and decides to go with Bama instead, and fulfil his dream of being the “illest mothafuckin’ gangsta rapper the world has eva seen, G!” [citation needed].
Marcus meets up with his girlfriend and his old posse, and spends his time just chilling and going on about what a great rapper he is. His girlfriend has a child (who we are informed is his, but I’m fairly sure we only find out she’s pregnant whilst he was in prison...), and Marcus feels like he is on top of the world. But then, Majestic does something to dis him (probably, I can’t really remember), so Marcus sings a song about either Majestic, or his friend the rapper ‘Dangerous’ (who is white), and Majestic gets annoyed. He goes to the hospital, and picks up Marcus’ baby whilst his girlfriend is asleep. She wakes up and sees Majestic with the baby, who hands it to her with a warning that Marcus should apologize for his insult before his family gets hurt. When 50 hears about this, he says something along the lines of “He touched my family! I’m goin’ kill dat fool”, at which point we are given the cheesiest line of the movie when Bama goes to give Marcus his gun, and Marcus says “No, not like that. I’ma ‘umiliate him”, then starts rapping about Majestic. Honestly, guys? You’re going to kill him by rapping? Come on, if you’d just used ‘destroy’ rather than kill it would have worked better... Did Terrence Winter write that line or did 50 Cent write it after a few hits off the crack pipe? I can image how that conversation must have gone...

50 Cent: Whoa! Dis some strong shit!... a’ite, so he’s touched my kid, right?

Director: Yeah.

50 Cent: ...and I’m angry at him, Yeah?

Director: Yeah...

50 Cent: So maybe I should say “I’m goin’ kill him!”, and then I can smoke dat fool.

Director: That’s not a bad idea... but the producers have said that you can’t kill anyone in the movie, because it’s based your life, and they don’t want the public to think they’d associate with a murderer...

50 Cent: But I am a murderer, motherfucka! I smoke fools! I’m an Ice cold Gangsta, Biiatch! You don’t believe me? I’ma smoke you right now, fool! (50 Cent brandishes his gun)

Director: Whoa! Whoa! Hold on a second, man! I’m not saying you aren’t gangster. I know you’re 'Ice Cold'. But it’s the damn producers – they say they won’t be able to sell the movie if you kill him, so we need to think of an alternative! Remember, if we can’t sell the movie, you don’t get any money from it!

50 Cent: All right, my bad. (puts gun away) Forgot there was money involved... (takes another hit off the crack pipe) What if I say “I’m goin’ kill him”, then when the dude with a small dick goes to hand me his gun, I say “no, not like that – I’ma humiliate him. Bring him to me. See what he’s got...”?

Director: Actually, that’s not too bad – and it means we can include more scenes with you rapping before you get shot. I just have one slight suggestion, however... (50 takes another hit off crack pipe) I think instead of saying “Kill”, you should say “destroy”.

50 Cent: What?!? (pulls out gun again) You messing with my dialogue, motherfucka? I’ma kill you!

Anyway, I guess Jim Sheridan (the Director) must have managed to persuade 50 to put the gun down and not ‘smoke’ him (possibly by playing him the rap he wrote. SERIOUSLY: (scroll down to “soundtrack), which you can hear HERE: (from around the 2:38 mark)). Anyway, after this, we see 50 Cent rapping a lot, but being refused record deals because Majestic has all the producers in his pocket. Bama then suggests that they go and rob the Columbians, just to make a bit of money before they can break into the rap business, and Marcus agrees to it. We then see the opening scene again, edited down slightly, up until one of Marcus’ homies, who was actually working for Majestic, shoots him a whole load of times outside his grandmother’s house. Justics, the guy who shoots Marcus, grabs the money they just robbed, and runs away, whilst Marcus lays in the street, dying. His family come out to help him, but he has been shot 9 times, and stops breathing on the way to the hospital in the back of a neighbour’s truck. This scene is just incredible, because we are given shots of Marcus’ “death” in the back of the truck, intercut with shots of him being born all those years ago whilst he mother was out working a as waitress (presumably before she became a coke dealer? Oh, I didn’t mention that earlier? Yeah, sorry. His mum was a dealer and worked for Majestic. That’s kind of important for the ending...). I’m fairly sure this scene is meant to be symbolic of the circle of life or something, but to be honest I just like it cos there are fireworks...
Anyway, Marcus gets to the hospital and is brought back to life, then tries to build himself backup again in a training montage. Meanwhile, Majestic kills Justice with a big sword for failing to kill Marcus. Though in Justice’s defence, he did shoot him more times than 2 Pac got shot... and we all know rappers are supposed to only be able to take 5 bullets without dying, right? Aren't they basically the same as the zombies from Left 4 Dead? I could have sworn I read that somewhere...
Anyway, Marcus gets back to full strength, and he and Bama start producing their records at his house, and distributing CDs all along his old crack-routes (Marcus’ CDs, not anyone else’s. Though to be fair if I was selling rap CDs on the street, I’d be tempted to fill the CD with Rick Astley songs...( Marcus soon becomes the biggest rapper in New York, and goes to hold a big concert in the heart of Majestic’s territory. Majestic is, understandably, annoyed at this, so goes to confront Marcus. Just before the concert starts, Majestic begs Marcus not to go onstage and dis him. When Marcus refuses his offer, Majestic tells Marcus that he killed his mum for being such a whore and having sex with his boss when she was supposed to be with him. Marcus starts trying to kill him, but Bama pulls him off and tells him to get out on stage. Majestic says he can’t let that happen, and pulls out his big sword (though to be fair, anyone's would look big next to Bama's. ZING!). He takes a run at Marcus, but Bama shoots him. Marcus leaves the room, with Majestic lying on the floor bleeding, and walks out to go on stage. As he is walking out, we get some kind of voice over about how he made it, and is now God, and get the cool vibrating mirror shot again, this time on a full sized mirror. Marcus looks at himself in the mirror, then walks out on stage. The movie ends with him rapping in front of a screaming crowd.
While the movie does have a couple of minor flaws, such as poor dialogue and the odd continuity error, on the whole it is actually very good. The acting is top-notch, and the script is killer. It’s shot brilliantly, and the soundtrack is simply amazing; with the songs ‘I'll Whip Ya Head Boy’, ‘Window Shopper’ and ‘When It Rains It Pours’ all featuring prominently (also on the subject of the soundtrack, I just wanted to say: I’ve heard Lily Allen did a spoof of ‘Window Shopper’ where she said “Nan, you’se a window shopper” instead of “man, you’se a window shopper”. I would just like to point out here, Ms Allen, that you are spoofing the crappy radio edit of the song and it in fact goes “NIGGER you’se a window shopper”. With that in mind, your spoof no longer makes sense as the two lines now sound nothing alike. Perhaps you should actually bother to LISTEN to the songs you plan on parodying like Weird Al Yankovich does??? Oh, and stop dating men three times your age you Whoare! (That’s not a typo, that’s the Italian pronunciation))
What really amazed me about this movie as well was the fact that the director is a 60 year old Irish man, who on the DVD special features delivers such gems as “all these kids have is their hippin’ and their hoppin’”, and reveals that he is friends with Bono, and showed him the movie personally before releasing it. WTF????

Hmm... I appear to have lost my train of thought... serves me right for listening to “The Fresh Prince of Gotham” whilst trying to write a review... ( (real men download the MP3...)) though the existence of this in NO WAY justifies The Dark Knight!

So yeah, overall I thought this movie was pretty fucking awesome. Great script, great casting, great direction. Really the only problem I had with it was that horrific shower scene. It’s no Goodfellas, but it’s easily on a par with Boyz N the Hood, if not better (though I’ll admit, Ice Cube saying “NIGGA, PLEASE!” probably tips the scales slightly in favour of Boyz N the Hood). If you feel you can stand watching 50 Cent for 2 hours straight, then I would definitely recommend this movie (minus the prison shower scene) to you. Aside from The Departed, I’d say it’s probably the best American gangster film to come out in the past couple of years (though I’m possibly being completely retarded and have missed a really big one. And knowing me, if I have, I probably own it...)



(ignoring the shower scene)

Good, solid action movie with a fairly convincing human aspect to it as well. Not quite Goodfellas or Casino, but at the same sort of level as Boyz N the Hood or Four Brothers. Definitely worth a watch. Though to be honest, if you want to see a rap movie, 8 Mile has to be the way to go...

Oh, also – this movie shows you how to make crack... you know, just in case that would sway you...

The Dark Knight - The Review (Text)(and by "review", I mean "rant")

first published Feb 10 2009

I figured that having gone on about it so much in my review of 'Punisher: War Zone' I should probably write my review of The Dark Knight, just to let everyone know exactly what I thought of it. Not much. He're my review:

The Dark Knight was the film I was most looking forward to seeing in 2008. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Batman series, and I thought Batman Begins was incredibly well done, so I figured that The Dark Knight would probably turn out to be my favourite movie of 2008. HOW WRONG I WAS!
Let’s start with the plot, shall we? It starts out well, with the introduction of the Joker as the new villain in town. The Joker robs a bank, and in the process of doing so, kills every one of his own henchmen, and Bill Fichtner, so we know he’s got to be crazy! So far, so good. We then see Batman interrupt some kind of deal for drugs/biological weapon and get attacked by a bunch of Rottweiler’s. Batman beats the dogs into submission, then goes and hog-ties the bad guys. Mission accomplished! Still, so far, so good.
After his incident with the Rottweiler’s, Bruce (Batman), decides that he needs to make his armour less bulletproof, and more dog-proof. For some reason. Seriously, dude: How many times have you been shot at? Hundreds of times? How many times have you had dogs set on you? Once? That’s what I thought. Still, I’m not really complaining. If Batman wants a new suit, he wants a new suit. No big deal. We know from American Psycho that Christian Bale has a bit of a suit fetish, so this pointless plot element didn’t really bother me that much either.
Then comes the introduction of Harvey Dent, District Attorney. Dent’s introduction is nothing short of awesome, with him managing to keep his cool as a mob witness in court tries to shoot him with some shitty Chinese pistol. After the assailant is subdued, Dent even manages to break out the line “you should have bought American” in reference to the gun, a line which no doubt won him a standing ovation in every movie theatre in Alabama (and possibly Texas) when the movie was shown. I would just like to point out, however, that European guns are far superior to American ones, and the line would have been far more appropriate had Dent said “next time, buy Austria, German, Swiss or Italian. Preferably Austrian. Glocks never jam! Haven’t you seen US Marshals? You really should, it’s far better than this film”. At this point, I would also have liked them to change the reel in the cinema and actually put on US Marshals. But they didn’t, so I’ll continue with The Dark Knight.
From here on out, my memory gets a tad hazy. I remember the mob was annoyed at the Joker for stealing their money, so let some Chinese guy take it all instead, and fly to china with it. Batman (with his new suit) decides to follow him there, and does something possibly related to finding out where the money is? I really don’t know, I couldn’t bear to watch this film again... Anyway, Batman goes to China, and the mob employ the Joker to kill Batman when he gets back, or something. Bruce holds a fund raiser for Harvey Dent, and while he is there, the Joker storms in and starts brandishing a knife at various people, paying special attention to Rachael whatever-she’s-called, who for some reason is not Katie Holmes... Anyway, the Joker throws her out the window, while Dent hides somewhere, and Batman is forced to save her. At the same time, some other important dudes are killed by poisoning or a car bomb or something. The Joker vanishes.
We then cut to some kind of parade being held for the mayor or something, and Batman is on the lookout for the Joker, whom he suspects will try and assassinate the mayor at this high-profile appearance. This he does, but accidentally shoots commissioner (at this point in the film, Lieutenant) Gordon instead of the mayor, who apparently dies. The Joker, annoyed at his failed attempt to kill the mayor, then demands Batman turn himself in. Bruce decides he must turn himself in to stop the killing, but as he goes to do so, Dent steps in, claiming he is Batman. Bruce is annoyed that his glory is all being stolen, but decides to let it slide, because he’d rather let Harvey Dent die instead of him. My kind of Hero! Still, so far, so good.
Dent is then handcuffed and transported away to go prison, or meet the Joker, or something. I really can’t remember. Anyway, along the way, the Joker and some goons appear and shoot some missiles and shit at the armoured car which Dent is in, but before they can destroy it, Batman appears in his Batmobile and gets between them. The Joker destroys the Batmobile, but Dent gets away. Bruce then pushes a button, which makes a motorcycle detach from the main body of the Batmobile, which explodes (as in the body of the Batmobile explodes, not the motorcycle). Bruce then goes after The Joker on his bike. At this point, The Joker isn’t too happy, and gets out a big assault rifle to kill Batman. Before he can do so, however, commissioner Gordon appears from nowhere are arrests him, even though he was supposed to be dead. This was the point at which I started to realize the film might not be quite as good as I had hoped, because it was becoming one of those generic “oh, the good guy wasn’t really dead, he was just pretending to be so he could surprise the bad guy” films, instead of the dark, gritty action movie the trailers and critics had promised me.
The film seemed to recover soon after, however, with the capture of Dent and Rachael by The Joker’s goons, and Batman having to interrogate the Joker to find out where they are. The Joker tells him, and Batman goes to save Rachael. The Joker tricks him, however, and Batman finds himself in Dent’s building, which is filled with explosives (so is Rachael’s’, in fact. Should have mentioned that...). Batman saves Dent, and the two buildings blow up, killing Rachael, and setting half of Dent’s face on fire. “Awesome!” I think to myself “Two Face’s origins! This must lead into Batman forever. How ingenious!”.
Unfortunately, The Joker then escapes from his cell by calling a phone connected to a bomb hidden in a fellow inmate’s stomach, and we realize that everything that just happened was all part of The Joker’s plan. Wait... WHAT?!? How could he have planned all that? All the things that had to happen for it to work clearly renders it too stupid to have been planned out, and yet – that’s what happened! Here’s an extract from the website, describing how the Joker must have pitched this plan to his associates:

"First, we find two empty buildings. Without the cops noticing, we'll secretly sneak in hundreds of drums of explosive liquids, and wire all of them to explode. Next, we'll orchestrate an attack on the convoy transporting Harvey Dent. This will involve blocking busy streets, blowing police helicopters out of the air and launching missiles at the armoured car. All of this will be done, not to kill Dent (though that could happen at any moment) but to cause Batman to intervene so that he will throw me in jail. Then, while the whole town is on alert, we go ahead and have our henchmen kidnap both Dent and Rachel Dawes and strap them in with the bombs in the two abandoned buildings. Then I'll send Batman after one of them, knowing that this will result in Rachel being killed and Dent being a certain distance from the explosion as to become grotesquely injured and disillusioned. Then I'll blow up the jail without accidentally killing myself. Gentlemen, it couldn't be simpler." (Danny Gallagher; The Six Most Pointlessly Elaborate Movie Plots)

All I can say is: I’m glad that of the 8 Oscars this was nominated for, they don’t include one for “best screenplay”, because it appears to have been written by a retarded 5 year-old with no concept of probability whatsoever. Seriously, guys: Halloween Part VI had a more sensible plot than this. What the fuck????
As if that wasn’t bad enough, we then have the first scene with Dent in after his accident, when we see him lying in a hospital bed, bitching about life. At first, this scene didn’t seem so bad. I was still looking forward to seeing him go crazy and turn into Two Face, and was hoping this was going to be the moment he snapped. My hopes were ruined, however, when Dent turned, and we saw the burnt part of his face in all its shitty CGI glory. After seeing this, I decided that the less we saw of two face from this point on, the better the film would be. The CGI on his face was cringe-inducingly terrible, and was about on a par with the effects in Shark Attack 3. Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK? Did they get a college student who had only just started his media studies course to animate it or something? Nothing ruins a movie like absolutely shit CGI, and this was some of the worst I have ever seen – and this movie has been NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR OR BEST VISUAL EFFECTS for fuck’s sake! What the fuck is the Academy thinking?
From that point on, I found it near impossible to watch any scene with Dent in, because the poor CGI was too distracting. Why they didn’t just use make-up, I don’t know. You may be thinking “make-up never looks realistic, I think the CGI works much better than make-up ever could”, in which case I would direct you to watch Punisher: War Zone. If you can honestly say that you thought Two Face’s CGI face looked more convincing than Jigsaw’s made-up face; congratulations, you’re retarded. That could be an unfair comparison to make, however, given Jigsaw’s face was shredded, not burned. But if you want to see how realistic burn make-up can look, go and watch We Were Soldiers! If you think Two Face’s CGI face looked even close to being as convincing as the Post-napalm burn effects in that, please go and drown yourself now – you don’t deserve to pollute the human gene pool any further. Sure, the rating would have been higher, probably a 15 rather than a 12 if they used more realistic effects, but come on! It would totally be worth it! And if the producers wanted it to look fake so that a younger audience wouldn’t get too scared, why not do the make-up to look like Tommy Lee Jones’ in Batman Forever? A far superior Batman film in my opinion... I just don’t understand...
Not only is the make-up on Two Face absolutely shit, but his storyline is terrible as well, and the character is boring and 2 dimensional. I never read the Batman comics, but I’ve been informed that Two Face in the comics was very similar to Tommy Lee Jones’ performance in Batman Forever, going from 0 to Psycho in less time than Joe Pesci in this scene ( at the flip of a coin. Yet in The Dark Knight, he remains completely calm when he flips a tails, and never really changes his expression or tone of voice. Come on! We’re watching a fucking comic book movie! We want to see psychotic super villains, not tragic heroes turned evil through a horrific event. On top of this, they decide to kill Two Face off at the end of the film, to ensure that if a sequel is ever made, they can’t correct the terrible mistakes they made in this one. But it gets ever better! I’ve now been informed that Two Face did not in fact die, and he is still alive and coming back for a sequel. See my previous comments relating to Commissioner Gordon’s “death” for my feelings on this.
The Joker’s storyline after this point is disappointing as well. Sure, the whole money burning thing was pretty cool, but the bit with the boats could have been so much better. When I saw this movie, I was thinking “ha! He hasn’t put the remote to the bomb in the other ship in each of them! Their remote controls their own bomb! What a dastardly plan!”. After the Black dude threw the remote out of the prison ship, I was expecting the people on the passenger ferry to blow themselves up. But no such luck. I was disappointed to say the least.
The scene leading up to that, with Batman disabling all the police officers before they could harm the civilians dressed as clowns was also very poorly executed, in my opinion. It was badly shot and very confusing, and was more of a drag than a cool action sequence. I just couldn’t wait for a boat to blow up!
But my main complaint about the story has to be the ending, in which Batman tells Commissioner Gordon to inform everyone that Batman is evil and killed the heroic Harvey Dent, and must be stopped at all costs. This ending blows. It’s the sort of thing a Media student would come up with, trying to make his movie all deep and profound, but actually just makes him look like a tool. Fuck you, makers of The Dark Knight! This movie could have been saved with a half-decent ending, and instead I get this schlock? The ending makes or breaks the movie, everyone knows that. This is why Return of the King was shit, and The Empire Strikes Back was fucking awesome. THE ENDINGS! And you fucked it up! Why?!?! A generic ending would have been so much better than this poor attempt at a “twist”. Why not end it in a similar way to Batman Begins? Bad Guys are still on the loose, we need the Batman to protect us, blah, blah, blah. Boring, generic, but SO much better!
But that’s not all – because I still need to comment on the acting. As I said, I felt Aaron Eckhart was boring and a bit monotonous, but that was more the script’s fault than his. However, my main complaint is Christian Bale. I’ve always thought Bale was a fantastic actor – especially in ‘The Machinist’, which contains quite possibly the best acting I have ever seen! But in this, he was awful! There was no emotion to him, and that “I’m batman, I smoke 40 packs a day and gargle with nails” voice is just plain annoying. Give him a tracheotomy or something before that throat cancer kills him! In fact, the only actor who was really up to scratch was Heath Ledger, who completely and utterly stole the show. However, I think his being dead helped his performance, and although I have no doubt everyone would think it was incredible even if he hadn’t died, I doubt they would be ranting about it quite as much as they are. Yes, I felt it was the best performance of his career, and I think he probably deserves the Oscar. But to be honest, Loony Bin Jim in Punisher War Zone made a far better psycho, and he doesn’t get any credit for it. You know why? Cos he’s fucking ALIVE!
Overall, I would have to say that this movie was a massive disappointment. I was expecting something dark and gritty, with a kick-ass plotline, incredible acting, and some fantastic action sequences. I didn’t really get any of those things. If you want to watch a 2008 comic book movie – go see War Zone. If you want something a bit more family-friendly: Iron Man is fucking awesome! Watch that instead – it’s even got Robert Downey, jr in. How can you go wrong with that? Even if you really want to see a Batman film, I urge you to go with either Batman Begins or Batman Forever, as both are far superior to this movie. In fact? You know what’s a thousand times better than this film?
Still, the soundtrack wa pretty cool, so I'll give it extra points for that.




Heath drags this up to being an average movie, but without him, it would have been AWFUL! My recommendation would be to skip this movie unless you’re a die-hard batman fan, and watch this film instead:

Punisher: War Zone - The Review (Text)

First Published Feb 10 2009 (to Facebook)

It's not often I watch a film that completely and utterly blows my mind. The last time this occurred had to be when I watched True Romance for the first time at the age of 16, and witnessed the awe of Tarantino's best ever script being brought to life by Tony Scott and an incredible ensemble cast. I blame that movie for both my inability to hold on to a girlfriend for any reasonable period of time (cos let's face it - there aren't many real-life Alabamas out there, right?), and also my obsession with working stoners into every script I attempt to write (most notably 'Jesus' from "Teenage Wasteland" and that one which was pretty well a rip-off of the Sopranos episode "Pine Barres"). Whilst Punisher: War Zone did not have quite the same impact on me as True Romance did, it was the closest thing to that level of brilliance I have seen since then, and probably ranks #2 on my list of favourite movies.
Punisher: War Zone, for those who don't know (and since I suspect only Ed and Josh are going to read this - you definitely do know), is based on the Marvel comic book character: The Punisher (surprisingly enough). More specifically, it focuses on the Punisher as portrayed in the Marvel "Max" series of comics, which are probably the only comics in existence to use the word "cunt" on a regular basis, and come with an "Explicit Content" warning on the cover. Definitely not kids' stuff.
I was, at first, worried that a woman would be directing the movie. However, having seen the ‘R-Rated’ trailer on youtube(, I decided that even if the trailer had shown every single gore-shot from the movie, that would still be more than enough. It hadn’t! I also later discovered that the director had also previously helmed a project know as “Hooligans”, or as we call it in the UK: “Green Street”. That’s right – the director of fucking Green Street directing a Punisher movie. Two words: FUCK YEAH!
The film opens (I assume – we got to the cinema late so if there was a pre-credits sequence, I missed it) with the Punisher staging a full-scale assault on the Cesare mob family’s mansion , and wiping out almost every member of the family within a matter of minutes, sustaining very little damage himself. Upon leaving the mansion, Castle is confronted by a Police officer who, instead of arresting him, informs Frank that mobster Billy “The Beaut” Rossotti is involved in a deal for “biological material” down at the docks. Frank heads straight over, and messes the mobs’ shit up, knocking Rossotti into a glass bottle recycling machine in the process and horribly maiming him. Unfortunately, during his raid, Frank accidentally kills an undercover FBI agent who was infiltrating Rossotti’s gang, and the rest of the film focuses around Frank trying to protect the dead agent’s widow and daughter from the horribly-mutilated-but-still-very-much-alive Rossotti, who changes his name to ‘Jigsaw’ soon after the accident, presumably to reflect the fact that his face had to be put back together like it was a Jigsaw puzzle...
The storyline is by far the coolest, and also the most believable, of ANY comic book movie I have ever seen, and the action is almost non-stop. Even though it has been altered slightly from the comic books, making Frank younger and shortening his length of “active time” as The Punisher, it still neatly fits in with the keeping of the MAX series. There are copious amounts of blood and gore, which border on gratuitous at some points (for example: the fat dude getting his head blown off in the elevator), and the make-up effects far surpass those seen in blockbusters with ten times the budget (looking at you, Dark Knight).
One of my main problems with The Dark Knight was that the CGI on Two Face looked absolutely shit, and was painful to look at. Jigsaw’s mutilated face, on the other hand, looks utterly convincing, and this keeps you in the movie, rather than throwing you out as The Dark Knight did by distracting you by the absolute shitiness of it. War Zone’s plot is also far superior to that of The Dark Knight (which had possibly the most ridiculous and pointless plot of any movie other than Smokin’ Aces – though Smokin’ Aces pulled it off with a FUCKLOAD more style. For conformation on this, look it up: See what I mean? That movie made less sense than, well, any other movie the whole of could think of! Fuck the Dark Knight!) , and the acting was a whole league above it (I hate to say this, seeing as how I love Christian Bale and everything – but seriously, dude – what the fuck happened to you in that movie???? I’m not saying I could do any better, but having seen The Machinist and American Psycho, I know you sure as hell can!). In fact, as far as I’m concerned, the only thing The Dark Knight really had going for it was Heath Ledger’s Joker who, I’m not going to lie to you, was fucking incredible. However, even Heath’s deranged performance as the Joker was surpassed, in my opinion, by Doug Hutchinson’s turn as Billy Rossotti’s psychotic brother ‘Loony Bin Jim’. If you’ve seen The Green Mile, you’ll know Hutchinson can pull off playing a psycho with ease, but you have no idea just how incredible he is until you’ve seen LBJ – the most psychotic character I’ve ever seen depicted on film. Seriously, this guy makes Tommy DeVito look like Vincent Gambini (Joe Pesci references FTW! Oh yeah! ... and by FTW I mean “for the win”, not “fuck the world”). Ray Steveson’s turn as The Punisher isn’t bad, either – with him adopting the classic “don’t fuck with me” expression the Punisher is known for throughout most of the movie (see the cover of “In The Beginning” for the comic book interpretation of this look). His American accent isn’t bad, either. Though he’s no Hugh Laurie (in House, M.D.; not Jeeves and Wooster).
So basically what I’m saying is: Fuck The Dark Knight! Give Warzone all its Oscar nominations, and build a gold statue of Doug Hutchinson on Hollywood Boulevard. At least I would say that if I didn’t fucking hate the Oscars since discovering they awarded one to Roman Polanski – a know paedophile who faces arrest if he ever sets foot in the US. Seriously, guys – I don’t mind you nominating Mickey Rourke – the odd fight or domestic abuse incident here and there is just about acceptable. But a fucking paedophile? Fuck the Academy! If I were famous I’d boycott the Oscars (unless, you know, I was pretty well guaranteed to win one... apparently being an Oscar winner can triple your salary in the movie business). But back to War Zone... Whilst LBJ is by far the biggest attraction of the film, many of the smaller support characters are also highly entertaining – and the movie has probably the coolest list of support characters ever (with the exception of True Romance – Walken and Pitt totally stole that movie)!
Not only do we get the characters of both Micro (played by “Dennis” from Jurassic Park), and Soap – but we also get a shitload of classic bad guys from the comics, too! Billy Rossotti has been given Nicky Cavella’s bodyguards ‘Pittsy’ and ‘Ink’ from the comics, and although Ink doesn’t have his trademark glasses, and his psychotic tendencies are played down (presumably because LBJ was more than crazy enough for both of them), the two of them are still a welcome sight. The use of “The Slavers” Cristu and Tiberiu Bulat as Russian smugglers is also pretty cool – though you can’t help feeling they should probably have been held back in case the producers want to make a sequel... Introducing Black Irish gangster Maginty as a Parkour master was also a pretty awesome idea, and the two scenes he appears in are both amazing.
So much of this film was influenced by the comics it’s unbelievable: The shootout in the mansion, the dialogue, the characters, everything! Even Maginty’s death scene was taken from the comics (though it was in fact Pittsy who died that way in issue 6 of the MAX series...). This is possibly the only comic book movie which the fans will agree does the source justice – and that is something this movie definitely does. By taking some of the classic elements the fans were expecting to see, and adding in new, better elements – such as the introduction of Loony Bin Jim, this movie managed to surpass my VERY high expectations of it – and I believe deserves to be crowned as the best comic book movie ever.
The ending is also absolutely amazing. Taking the standard set up of “bad guy has 2 sets of hostages and forces good guy to make an impossible choice”, but puts an insane twist on it. While Batman Forever (I know I keep referencing Batman Films, but they’re the perfect comparison...) does this with Two Face setting up an insane, half-baked plan which gives Batman more than enough time to save both hostages and defeat him, the showdown at the end of Punisher: Warzone plays out EXACTLY as you would expect it to in real life! No other movie has ever had the balls to do this, and for this, I have decided I love Lexi (Alexander – the director).
The last thing I want to mention in relation to the movie is the fantastic scene where Loony Bin Jim and Jigsaw set out to recruit soldiers from low-income neighbourhoods, which parodies US military adverts so closely that it actually becomes hilarious to watch. The “be all you can be” speech, combined with the American Flag waving behind the two of them is just a fantastic touch, and the best military advertising parody ever!
I’m also pleased to be able to say that, although the director did not want to at first, she eventually agreed to let the Punisher keep his trademark skull for the movie, which the Dolph Lundgren version did not. A lot of people will say the skull is “stupid” or “comic bookie”. But, in fact, it’s very practical. It’s painted on The Punisher’s body armour, and is designed to attract the aim of the Punisher’s opponents away from his face, and towards his heavily protected chest. SO SUCK IT!
In all, I have to say that this movie deserves a 10/10, and I have in fact rated it as such on imdb, which I believe everyone with a shred sanity should do right now. This movie is almost too awesome to exist and I will definitely be buying the DVD (though since I already have the other 2 Punisher movies, I probably would have anyway). I may even see it in the cinema again. IT’S THAT GOOD!
To summarise: See this movie! Fuck The Dark Knight!



5/5 - by far my favourite comic-book movie, it's a solid 5/5 if you like comic book or revenge films. Even if you don't - check it out, because I highly recommend it.

EDIT: Since writing this review, I have gone on to watch the entire series of "The Wire", and would like to just point out how awesome Dominic West is - I didn't even realize he was British until I watched The Wire, so his accent in this must have been pretty damn good.

Old Reviews Comin' Atcha!

Being the lazy guy I am, I havent really been keeping up with this Blog (I have seen "The Men Who Stare at Goats" and "Harry Brown" since I last posted a review, but just haven't gotten round to reviewing them). In light of this, I have decided to post my old text reviews (that I posted on Facebook orignally) just to keep this Blog going. Also, I acknowledge that I haven't done anything music related in a while, but I'll see what I can come up with that's interesting - maybe i'll get some new albums over christmas to discuss). But in the mean time, enjoy my original text reviews!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Super Spooky Halloween Review (Video)

It's Halloween, and I thought I would review for you a couple of things I feel are essential holiday viewing. This includes one of my favourite Halloween-set movies (though as I type this I am currently watching "Fallen" as my Halloween movie, rather than the one mentioned) as well as the Halloween special from a certain 90's TV show. Enjoy!

Note: Unfortunately, this video took so damn long to render and then upload, I appear to have missed Halloween entirely. For this, I apologize. Also, despite my best efforts, I have been unable to get my videos to appear in Widescreen on Blip, so it looks like we're stuck with 4:3 for the time being. Still, more reviews to come - so stay tuned!

The Voice.

Friday, 30 October 2009

SAW VI Review (Video)

I went to see Saw VI on Wednesday evening, and couldn't believe how packed the cinema was. Here I review both the newest film in the Saw franchise, and give my opinions on all the other Saw films as well.

Having looked on Wikipedia, I discovered that Saw II was in fact a reworking of Darren Lynn Bousman's (the director's) script, The Desperate, which explains why the feel is so different to that of Saw's 3 & 4, which were both by the same diector. I also forgot to mention, when discussing the new direction style for the 6th film, that I missed some of Bousman's camera and set tricks deployed in the 3rd and 4th films for transitions between scenes. e.g. The scene where Officer Riggs (Remembered his name - Just thought "Lethal Weapon") throws the blonde girl through the mirror, and as it shatters we cut to a scene of Strahm interrogating Jill in a police cell on the other side of the mirror. These tricks really impressed me when watching those 2 films, and I wished they could have been used in Saw 6.
I also noticed that one of the producers is called "Hoffman", and couldn't help but wonder whether or not he is just using the franchise to enact his fantasies, in the same way as Chris Moltisanti did in his Saw based film Cleaver in The Sopranos.

Overall, I felt this movie was very enjoyable, and exactly what you would expect from a Saw film. However, if you didn't like the other Saw films, i can safely say you won't enjoy this one, and you won't undersand it unless you've seen all the others. From a personal point of view, being a fan of the series, I would like to give it 3 stars, but being objective, I don't really feel I can do this - because compelling as the movie was, there were too many flaws in the plot, and of course, it's been done so many times before that there wasn't anything new being brought to the table.




Great for Die Hard Saw fans, a definite must see, but if you're not a huge fan of the series, don't bother with this one, because it's certainly not the best.