Sunday, 27 February 2011


So, here goes then! It's what some people believe is the "top" accolade to have in the film industry - everything else is just an ornament to put in the toilet.

For the first time ever (in my history anyway) I shall comment on the ceremony and see if my predictions posted back on 13th February are correct. I will attempt to stay awake throughout the whole thing whilst trying to play an Oscar drinking game... the rules of which are yet to be defined. That will happen when my fellow Oscar Watcher's arrive and we thrash out the specifics.

My idea's include such things as - drink when the word Oscar is said; drink when they mention his age (83); drink if I get a prediction spot on OR if my "should have won" wins; drink if someone fluffs their intro speech; drink if someone cries; and many other things! I will put this up now first of all to see if anyone has any suggestions for the drinking game - 8:45 pm GMT....

pm GMT - Whilst watching Top Gear, the first can of 1664 (other beers are available) is opened in preparation for the possible up-and-coming onslaught. Plans have been made to meet at 9:30pm to stock up on grub at the only local Sainsbury's still open (other food retailers, sod it, you get the gist right?) so there's nothing left to do but hope I can still type and make sense as the night, and day, and speeches and back-slapping stretches on...

HOUR 1 (ish)
11:30 - 01:00 GMT
After waiting on tender hooks to see if the bloody live streaming of the oscars would work on the pc (I dont have Sky or such-like) the countdown has finally clocked and we are making up new rules for the drinking game - if any of us are bitchy OR sarky, drink; if any one thanks their parents, drink; if anyone thanks God, drink.....

Zach Levi (Chuck) is on the red carpet! DUDE!!!!!

Amy Adams is on the red carpet and on my 42"....TV!!!!

The cast of The King's Speech have appeared on the long distance camera shot and everyone has gone all "darling, British!"

It's all going abit weird as the group are making up their own rules of what constitutes a drink - so far its if anyone who's British appears, if anyone thinks they see an oscar, or if anyone feels that they need a drink because they've been bitchy despite whether it is deserved or not.

Helena Bonham Carter says it's about film and not fashion. And has a Union Jack garter!

01:00 - 02:00 GMT
The broadcast of the red carpet was ONLY for the red carpet! Cue massive panic of trying to find the continuing broadcast so that this night could carry on... Then we find another site and the clock says 25 mins until the oscars.... we're running out of booze already! Sh*t!

Argument No "God knows!?!" Kirsty and I are still "arguing" about her shouting "darlin'" to anyone she loves, whether they're English or not! It should only be used for English or British people and NOT American actors/actresses! It's just common sense! Surely?!?

It's 01:15am GMT and Alex has commented "Drink".... Geez, like we need the command! Or a reminder!!!

Spielberg does impromptu comedy!

01:31 They finally fucking start! Cool intro - and with a delorean! How 80's is that!?!

Award 1 - Art direction
Balls! My first incorrect guess! Alice In Wonderland and NOT Inception! WTF!!!

Award 2 - Cinematography
Sod it! My 2nd loss and everyone else got it correct! Have just become 2 pints sober in one minute.... Inception got this one and not the other - surely that counts for something... surely???

Award 3 - Actress in supporting role
Oh sh*t!!! After a wait of god knows how long it goes to the bitch in The Fighter! That's 3 for 3 incorrect!

Award 4 - Animated film
Thank God! I got something! Toy Story 3

Award 5 - Animated short
This is getting ridiculous! It goes to The Lost Thing and not Night & Day.

Award 6 - Adapted Screenplay
That's one in my camp, but it was such an obvious one it shouldn't count... but I need every point I can get at the moment
. The King's Speech.


Award ? - Foreign Film
Another one bites the dust! Not Biutful
2:17am GMT people are yawning but I'm just kinda fuming! Bloody broadband, and Sky, and BBC and anyone else involved in this live stream flaming sh*t!!!

Award 7 - Supporting Actor
Bale wins. Rush doesn't. I'm not firing on this at all am I?!? I blame the booze that I'm having now!

02:46 - Ed and George (Jo) are upset coz they haven't been mentioned yet. Happy now?

Award ?? -

02:00 - 03:00 GMT

It's 03:07. I have won another point with Alice In Wonderland. And people are making up their own awards and points for drinking!!!!

04:30. So, that's it. God knows who won in the points category and who won in the booze category but I'm sure I'll work it out before the next 24 hours expires. Some people were richly rewarded and some were definitely robbed.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


According to any trade magazine, every Hollywood studio is looking for the new "Harry Potter" or "Twilight" or such... Well, here is the newest hopeful franchise entry...

After a few successful novels, the world of teenage angst is yet again brought to the screen, but now riddled with huge complications that even the likes of Dawson's Creek couldn't handle! The question of whether the cute young thing on the table opposite from me in class likes me or not is dragged screaming and kicking into "brooding" territory with an alien element rather than "Twilight's" vampirec roots.

But, thankfully, the story is told from the non-human point of view rather than the slant that "Twilight" took with the human full of heart-breaking desires and alienation issues. Here, desire and danger are displayed verbally and physically - the last quarter of the film delivering action that will satisfy even the most hardened geezer after sitting through all the lovey-dovey stuff... Before that kicks in though, you will have to put up with a surprising element that director Caruso has allowed in his film- the distinctly American TV teen soap practise of telling us how we should feel as viewers by using emotional songs to hit home the message of anguish or whatever the protagonists are feeling at that moment. It's a cheap tactic at best and makes it feel like a TV pilot rather than a possible silver screen franchise when it occurs.

Pettyfer, who last tried the young Bond franchise of "Storm Rider" to no avail, rests comfortably with the weight of the film upon his shoulders whilst "Glee's" Agron switches easily between eye-candy and plot motivation at the drop of a photograph. From it's opening scene involving a jungle hunt-and-kill scene, to it's football stadium-wrecking finale, all is presented with enough levels of fun, fantasy and seriousness to leave anyone viewing it with at least minimum a smile on their faces. What they should also leave with is a strong desire to see the return of the surviving characters as, whilst not as good or strong as "X-Men," it makes enough of a mark to have you wanting to see the continuing exploits of them in a sequel.

The last point to make about the film is that it is available to view in the IMAX format. Having watched it that way, don't worry that you might be missing out if you're not near an IMAX-equipped cinema as really there's no "The Dark Knight" or "300" spectacle to see.

And for those of you still unconvinced, please note that "I Am Number Four" has undoubtedly one THE cutest cinematic dogs in a long time - the stray beagle is a diamond performance and needs his own spin-off story on the DVD release, ala Pixar, when it appears. Make it happen!

UK release date: 23/02/11
Certificate: 12A

Sunday, 20 February 2011


Is there nothing that Hollywood won't try and dazzle with the spectacle of 3D nowadays? Underwater caves; non-super heroes; flesh-eating fish.... escaped from Hell revenge-mongers???

There are movies that come along once-in-a-while that are so Marmite-flavoured, that they can fuel endless pub discussions or arguments. Cage's latest is such a film with it falling into the "love it" or "hate it" category very dependent on what frame of mind you're in when you sit down to experience it.

What we have here is a welcome anomaly - Cage's hair, or lack of it, is not the talking point throughout the short but delirious running time. Instead it's the "fit on the back of a matchbox" story that covers up plot-holes or non-existent characterisation with insane dialogue or increasingly OTT stunts and deaths. Cage, who has recently not faired well with his movie choices (apart from his "Bad Lieutenant" where he was un-reined and gave a glimpse of the old crazy dude that made him famous) suits the role of a escapee from Hell to avenge his daughter's murder and save his grandchild from Satanic sacrifice. Yep, that's the plot!

He brings the intense stares and anguish whilst Heard, breaking away from slasher victim roles, delivers the sass, the incredible looks and a fair share of comedic timing alongside him. The highlight of the film rests squarely with William Fitchner. As The Devil's right hand man, known simply as The Accountant, Fitchner has a blast playing one of the best villain / adversary in recent history. From his graceful profanity through to his stepping out of a moving tanker truck onto a stationary car, his presence on screen lifts the fun factor ten-fold, especially if anyone gets in his way.

The only down point in the film is it's title and the expectations that come with it - there's no angry driving or exciting car chases. When a film has an RV out-run and out-manoeuvre a Dodge Charger, you know that there's something wrong somewhere. Luckily there is enough sh*t going on to make up for that... more than enough!

This is a Friday nite flick that, if watched with friends, won't let you down. Hell yeah!

UK release date: 25/02/11
Certificate: 18

Saturday, 19 February 2011


Just like nervous parents, we ready ourselves for the first effort of our two favourite kids as they step out on their own... will we be sticking their report card proudly on our collective fridge doors?

Of course we will. "Paul" is Pegg and Frost's first venture without director Edgar Wright involved (he who gave us "Scott Pilgrim VS The World) so to hold it up to the trio's previous works - "Shaun Of The Dead," "Hot Fuzz") is unfair and pointless. For many that may be hard to do, but it is a necessity if you are to enjoy it fully.

The boys have scripted what can be described as an above-average American comedy but with a decidedly English view on events. Which is no mean feat. Infact, the dialogue and it's delivery should put you in mind of their first collaboration rather than their last - TV's "Spaced." There, fave films were parodied, quoted and shamelessly put upon a pedestal, and here in "Paul" there is more of the same. However, the spotlight is firmly directed towards the works of Spielberg and Lucas this time round. From a background cinema playing "Duel" through to the funny explanation of how the idea for "E.T." came about, it's a nirvana for film geeks who know and can quote lines such as "smile you son-of-a-bitch" and "boring conversation anyway."

Pegg and Frost play ever-so-sweet and nice guys with their real-life friendship cementing the performance but therein lies the movie's only flaw. With only a brief moment of jealousy separating them, there's no friction or emotional journey for them to experience on their cross-country road trip.

What could have been the flaw of the film thankfully is one of the highlights - the titular Paul. Like Gollum and Yoda, Paul is a wonderfully crafted character that you forget is CGI after about being 2 minutes on screen. Of course the seamless graphics is helped along by the profanity-laden Seth Rogen who's laid back acting will guarantee smiles throughout.

Bateman and Wigg hold up their ends admirably in the Brit Flick along with Lynch in a small cameo but it all rests, and succeeds on the shoulders of Pegg, Frost and Rogen as the new Three Amigos. "Paul" - a close encounter you should take.

UK release date: 14/02/11
Certificate: 15

Sunday, 13 February 2011


So, with all the major players, award-wise, out of the way - BAFTA, Golden Globes, Screen Writers Guild etc - it's the 83 year old man himself left.

On 27th February, the world, and anyone who's interested, will be put out of their misery as hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway lead the congratulatory back-slapping award show through what some people have already called "predictable" in the recipient category.

But Oscar is nothing but surprising in some awards so nothing can be taken for granted across the board. So, here is a breakdown of the hopeful "gong-getters" and who I think will win and, just for fun, who I think should win. Any bets placed because of my predictions are placed at your own risk - remember, guesses can go down as well as up...

Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

Oscar Winner - The King's Speech
Shoulda Won'er - The King's Speech

ACTUAL WINNER - The King's Speech

Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Colin Firth (The King's Speech)
James Franco (127 Hours)

Oscar Winner - Colin Firth
Shoulda Won'er - Geoffrey Rush but since they've put him in Supporting Actor, then Jesse Eisenberg.


Christian Bale (The Fighter)
John Hawkes (Winter's Bone)
Jeremy Renner (The Town)
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right)
Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)

Oscar Winner - Geoffrey Rush
Shoulda Won'er - Since Geoffrey should have got Best Actor, Supporting should go to Christian Bale.

ACTUAL WINNER - Christian Bale

Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Oscar Winner - Natalie Portman
Shoulda Won'er - Natalie Portman

ACTUAL WINNER - Natalie Portman

Amy Adams (The Fighter)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Oscar Winner - Helena Bonham Carter
Shoulda Won'er - either Amy Adams or Hailee Steinfeld... can't decide!


How To Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Oscar Winner - Toy Story 3
Shoulda Won'er - Toy Story 3... but only just! Which is something I'd never thought I'd say!


Alice In Wonderland
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1
The King's Speech
True Grit

Oscar Winner - Inception
Shoulda Won'er - Inception

ACTUAL WINNER - Alice In Wonderland

Black Swan
The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Oscar Winner - The King's Speech
Shoulda Won'er - True Grit


Alice In Wonderland
I Am Love
The King's Speech
The Tempest
True Grit

Oscar Winner - Alice In Wonderland
Shoulda Won'er - Alice In Wonderland

ACTUAL WINNER - Alice In Wonderland

Black Swan - Darren Aronofsky
The Fighter - David O. Russell
The King's Speech - Tom Hooper
The Social Network - David Fincher
True Grit - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Oscar Winner - David Fincher
Shoulda Won'er - David Fincher just pipping Joel and Ethan Coen

ACTUAL WINNER - Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)

Exit Through The Gift Shop
Inside Job
Waste Land

Oscar Winner - Exit Through The Gift Shop
Shoulda Won'er - Inside Job


Killing In The Name
Poster Girl
Strangers No More
Sun Come Up
The Warriors Of Quigang

Oscar Winner - Poster Girl
Shoulda Won'er - Poster Girl

ACTUAL WINNER - Strangers No More

Black Swan
The Fighter
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network

Oscar winner - Black Swan
Shoulda Won'er - 127 Hours

ACTUAL WINNER - The Social Network

In A Better World
Outside The Law (Hors-la-loi)

Oscar winner - Biutiful
Shoulda Won'er - Biutiful

ACTUAL WINNER - In A Better World

Barney"s Vision
The Way Back
The Wolfman

Oscar Winner - The Wolfman
Shoulda Won'er - The Wolfman


MUSIC (Original Score)
How To Train Your Dragon
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network

Oscar Winner - The King's Speech
Shoulda Won'er - Inception

ACTUAL WINNER - The Social Network

MUSIC (Original Song)
Country Song ("Coming Home")
Tangled ("I See The Light")
127 Hours ("If I Rise")
Toy Story 3 ("We Belong Together")

Oscar Winner - Tangled
Shoulda Won'er - Tangled


Alice In Wonderland
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1
Iron Man 2

Oscar Winner - Inception
Shoulda Won'er - Inception


SHORT FILM (Animated)
Day & Night
The Gruffalo
Let's Pollute
The Lost Thing
Madagascar, carnet de voyage

Oscar winner - Day & Night
Shoulda Won'er - Day & Night

ACTUAL WINNER - The Lost Thing

SHORT FILM (Live Action)
The Confession
The Crush
God Of Love
Na Wewe
Wish 143

Oscar winner - Na Wewe
Shoulda Won'er - Na Wewe


Toy Story 3
Tron: Legacy
True Grit

Oscar Winner - Tron: Legacy
Shoulda Won'er - Inception


The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Oscar winner - Inception
Shoulda Won'er - Inception


WRITING (Adapted Screenplay)
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

Oscar Winner - The Social Network
Shoulda Won'er - The Social Network

ACTUAL WINNER - The Social Network

WRITING (Original Screenplay)
Another Year
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech

Oscar Winner - The King's Speech
Shoulda Won'er - Inception

ACTUAL WINNER - The King's Speech

Care to challenge me or question why I've made the choices that I have? You've got until the 27th to put your money where your mouth is... bring it!


The Coen Brothers return once again but this time there's no original material from them - they're taking on a treasured classic.

Going back to the source - Charles Portis' popular novel - The Brothers have scripted the screenplay and brought their camera's upon "The Western" that it seems they've been been dying to do. From their modern attempt ("No Country For Old Men") to their various versions of good gunslingers ("Blood Simple") they have been forging connections to bring a modern masterpiece to the screen.

Some of their best collaborative actors return to do a combination of strong and out-standing performances - Brolin is good and solid as the cause of events for the film and Bridges knocks it out of the park where he not only matches his tour-de-force of The Dude, but dare I say it, also matches The Duke who won the Oscar for his interpretation of the drunk, grizzled Marshall in 1969. His gruff delivery of wisdom is finely balanced with deliciously devilish quips - "I do not know this man" throughout the running time and lavish vistas.

The outstanding surprise though is Hailee Steinfeld. As the old-before-her-time 14 year old who hires Bridges to avenge her father's death, she literally bends the camera towards her every time she appears on screen. At times it feels that Damon and Bridges have to fight to be seen when she gets to do her thing - a relentless barrage of stubbornness and determination that sees her swing between mother and boss.

For those who have resisted the films of The Coen Brothers due to their quirkiness and idiosyncrasies, this is the perfect vehicle to get onboard. One of their most mainstream movies, it still has enough of them in it for fans and followers of their work to still recognise their stamp on it. Beautifully shot, fiercely acted, wonderfully scripted and delightfully entertaining, "True Grit" is a True Movie. Go see it. Now.

UK release date: 11/02/11
Certificate: 15

Friday, 11 February 2011


Definition of bravery: attempting to bring to the silver screen a film based on what's been called "the best book written." But screen writer Alex Garland is no stranger to challenges...

How to describe "Never Let Me Go"? To paraphrase Dr McCoy, "it's science fiction Jim, but not as we know it!" It straddles two very different genres with one foot in English romance and the other in alternate reality sci-fi. And, strangely, it works!

The reason it does is the sci-fi element is never made more than a small thread running through it all - with the youngsters scanning their wrists being the infrequent reminder that there is something not quite right with this particular reality.

What does come to the foreground, triumphantly, is the triangle of love involving Mulligan, Garfield and Knightley. Told in flashback by Mulligan, we see the three forge the bonds that will unite and then tear them apart over 20 years; from their "art is pointless" school days up to their designated roles/jobs in society. It's here where the thread pulls the plot together AND pulls at the heart strings - love may face many hardships in life but this is a challenge that eternal love cannot hope to win.

The three main leads do themselves proud, handling the tenderness and confusion of youth with a heavy burden but the true surprise is their pre-teen counter parts who hook you in allowing the more accomplished actors to finish the job of making you question morality, mortality and what you could do for love.

Shot with, and displaying equal amounts of tenderness and love, "Never Let Me Go" is a slow-burning movie where a lingering look speaks as loudly as the withheld dialogue between lovers. You may feel during it's running time nothing seems to be happening, but therein lies the cunningness - with moments of delight such as the awkwardness of them not knowing how to order food in a cafe to the gift of an audio cassette from an adolescent boy to a glance-giving girl - it creeps under your skin to saturate your soul. Beautiful.

UK release date: 11/02/11
Certificate: 12A

Sunday, 6 February 2011


Are we stupid enough to be duped by adding a big name to the title of a new film? Did books ever go by the phrasing of "CHARLES DICKENS presents.... a novel by..." NO! So why should a movie do such? In a word, money!

James Cameron - self-professed "King Of The World" since "Titanic" and "Avatar" - has his name plastered all over this "based on a real story" but please don't be fooled by the advertising... this is no Cameron Classic. Not by a long shot.

Admittedly, we have a thinly-veiled script with not much characterisation in it at all, and dialogue that makes you think that George Lucas is a contender for 'the Bard's" replacement - but Cameron always gives something that warrants his global domination. This has nothing at all.

In a survival movie, you have to root for some of the characters to make it through otherwise why bother investing your time, let alone your money, in the endeavour? Yes, some will be assholes, but you expect that to offset the gits who deserve to die during the experience. Hackman's grumpy priest in "The Poseidon Adventure" was not a hero but by God you followed him and his crew to the ends of the earth because he and they deserved it - here not one, and I mean not one, of them deserve our respect or pity because they are the most selfish, self-centered and annoying individuals to grace the silver screen in a long time.

Why waste time watching a group of individuals bicker, second-guess and kill each other when you couldn't give a damn who survives or not? And that's where "Sanctum" mis-fires, big-time. From it's aggressive, cold-hearted leader in the form of Roxborough, down to the cocky entrepreneur Gruffud who has funded the expedition, not one of the characters is worthy of our concern or attention. And if you think that the title "3D" and Cameron will up the ante to make it worth your while, think again... 3D is glorious when there is foreground AND background to create depth to help immerse you in - if there is nothing but darkness and small holes where you can't see anything infront of or behind, then the element of 3D is a waste of time.

A reminder that names and technology are NOT a guaranteed mix for a great film but the building blocks of a possible major letdown - this is not an 'Avatar" or "Titanic" sequel so do not be fooled by the advertising campaign. Nor it's mature swearing - it's a child's attempt at what they think is exciting... but it isn't. New depths plumed!

UK release date: 04/02/11
Certificate: 15

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


Let's go for the KO question shall we: is this a "Rocky" for a new generation?

The answer is both yes and no. The comparisons are inevitable, and as it stands, deserved. It's a man fighting his way, literally, through adversity to rise to his potential with it all hinging on one big fight. There is the standard montage moment and just for good measure, a second one is thrown in to show how Bale's crack head brother has turned a corner. There are six boxing matches shown with the last two able to enter the ring and hold their own against anything that Stallone gave in his "Rocky" franchise. But that's where the lines between them must be erased.

Just as Matt Damon had to leave those behind who held him back in "Good Will Hunting" and Ben Affleck in "The Town" Wahlberg has his, to be frank, awful family to rise above - they nearly beat Swank's sickening relatives from "Million Dollar Baby" And it's this thread that separates director David O. Russell's film from other sports films. This is because the story gets to deliver three great roles of which two are powerhouses from their actors. Wahlberg is solid as the pushed around, kept in the shadows son/brother which deserves notice, but the accolades must be placed whether you like it or not, squarely at Bale's feet.

His character and the portrayal are larger-than-life but that's the way it has to be for Wahlberg's eventual victory to be all-the-more sweeter. Much may be made of his physical look in the film - drawn, pasty and haunted eyes - but his constant referencing of his shot at fame and subsequent manipulation of others using it along with the physic is the one-two combination that will floor audiences.

The other KO performance is from Amy Adams as the girlfriend who becomes the kick start and then the momentum for the events that unfold. If you don't feel like punching the air when she goes head-to-head against the mother on their first meet, or when she squares up to the sisters, then shame on you!

Rising above it's well-worn story roots, "The Fighter" is definitely a contender for your attention.

UK release date: 04.02.11
Certificate: 15


The world of documentaries has become more and more of a revelation. Some try to change the world whilst others want to turn it on it's head.

Then one comes along that will resonate with alot of people... if they see it. Who hasn't had or heard of someone who's been duped by a stranger on a social network? Following the seeds of a possible romance, "Catfish" shows what happens when 2 film maker friends turn their camera's on one of their brothers who's being drawn into a family halfway across the States via Facebook and mobiles.

The 3 guys who lead the documentary start off as young and slightly childish - over questioning each other; ignoring what the other says - but by the end of their "journey" the realisation of what has happened, and more importantly why, brings with it maturity for them and respect towards them.

It's hard to explain about the film without giving away the ending but it's worth the trip. Audiences weened on Hollywood movies will no doubt expect some terrible dark secret revealed with a splash of violence and loads of drama thrown in but this isn't a blockbuster. It's a documentary. Admittedly, the 3 do set things up so as to heighten the tension - a night time visit to a property that they keep calling "creepy" - but it's a truly emotional reason that leads them to take the 370+ miles to confront their fake family.

Brave and bold, "Catfish" shines a light on how the various social networks can connect people and what some are willing to do to make that connection to help them cope with their lives. I originally dubbed this as "The Anti-Social Network" but that would be doing it a dis-service having now seen it. You should do the same.

UK release date: 17/12/10
Certificate: 15
UK DVD release date: now