Sunday, July 25, 2010

a couple of movie reviews

hey everyone

apologies for those who visit this site and whack refresh to see if there's anything new! i just haven't had the time or inspiration to post much of late, sorry. let me try and make amends since i've managed to see one or two (well, two) new films. actually, 3 - watched Wolverine on TV last night, but as many of you will have seen that last year (mostly, i suspect, the dodgy, incomplete copy that surfaced) it's not particularly worth discussing!

first up then would be what is expected to be one of the biggest films of the year, if not the biggest, Toy Story 3. whereas a lot of people were excited about this, i was somewhat dubious given Pixar's track record of late. whereas i loved Wall-E, i still struggle to work out who it was aimed at other than 2001 fans. Up i refuse to watch because it looks depressing and strikes me as being a rather dubious attempt to proclaim some sort of "artistic integrity". and the less said about Cars the better - i have yet to meet anyone who found it to be anything greater than dull and boring, and the stores being packed with unsold toys from the film tells you that children - surely the main target audience of Disney films - were unimpressed with it.

i am delighted to say, though, that Pixar have got it right with this one. Toy Story 3 sees Pixar do what they do best once again - dazzling animation, engaging and emotional story and, most importantly, entertains the audience.

the plot sees the owner of Woody, Buzz et al, Andy, being of an age when he is ready to head off to college. a bit of a mix up, however, sees his beloved toy collection being first tossed as rubbish and then donated to a daycare centre rather than safely being stored in the attic as he wished. Woody is the only toy convinced that this is a mistake, and thus eventually he leads the remainder of the gang on a quest to return home.

no major surprises in the plot, then - this would be the third time they have played on the variation of "toy gets lost - toy gets home". well, rehashing the same plot hasn't exactly hurt something like the James Bond series, and much like those films (barring the awful Pierce Brosnan years) you don't go to see them for dazzling creativity and originality, you go for entertainment. and entertain this one certainly does.

not that it is entertainment without being flawed, mind. on numerous occasions in the film we had to explain to James that the "big boy in Andy's room" and the "big boy with Andy's toys" was indeed Andy himself, now a bit older. note to Pixar - a large section of your target audience doesn't necessarily "get" this whole aging business as such. characters, to the eyes of a child, are timeless.

a big surprise to me, having now seen the film, is the lack of the usual outcry over the way anything remotely gay is presented in films these days. Ken is rarely, if ever, present in the film without overt or implied references to his sexuality; and clearly not all of them are intended as tolerant, "understanding" comments. considering the rather misguided protests and parades against films like The Silence Of The Lambs and Basic Instinct, where a lunatic minority got it into their heads that both films were trying to say "gays are killers", i am surprised they have kept so quiet about clear digs at gay people in what is essentially a film intended for children. ho hum.

moving on, and a film that both excited and scared all those of us who grew up in the 80s. yes, The A Team. excited because it was an awesome TV show that everyone seemed to love; scared because of the absolute mess some very much loved 80s TV shows became when turned to film - and yes, Miami Vice, this is a reference to you.

thankfully, the only connection this film version of The A Team has to that horrible, insipid film version of Miami Vice is that you wished the makers of the big screen version of Crockett & Tubbs loved and understood the source material as much as the makers of this film clearly do. it's excellent!

do i really have to give a rundown on the plot of The A Team? i think not. it's as you know it, at least from an "origins" point of view, as this shows how the four came together and were, in the words of the famous theme "sentenced to prison for a crime they did not commit". a little bit of tweaking here and there - most notably, and understandably, moving it from Vietnam to Iraq, but it's essentially what you remember.

a word of warning, though - some of the oddities from the TV show are gone. people do get shot in this world, and indeed die. whereas it is not gratuitous violence, it's a step up from the comparatively innocent world of the TV show - probably not viewing suitable for the whole family, then.

as they were sticking to the basic principles of the TV series, all the film makers really had to do was not make a mess of the casting to get this film right. there were an awful lot of people who scratched their heads and went "huh?" when the actors for the four pivotal roles were named, it has to be said. well, a lot of people did that when Heath Ledger was named as the man to play The Joker in The Dark Knight, and let's remember what a success that was. whereas there's no performance as great as Heath, the casting is just about as perfect - they may not particularly look like carbon copies of the originals, but they are familiar enough and bring an extra dimension to each character.

anyway, would you want someone doing a lame imitation/parody of, for instance, Mr T? i think not! on that note, by the way, there's an excellent and ingenious way in which they manage to bring BA's well known catchphrase into the proceedings - eyes peeled, everyone!

The A Team
is two hours of ridiculous fun and things blowing up. i wouldn't want to give away too much in the way of spoilers, but the "flying tank" is a particular favourite, mostly because of the dialogue during that scene. if you fondly recall the TV show, see it without fear of disappointment!

well, there you have it. two films watched in the last week, and two above-average, entertaining ones they were too. which makes a very nice change!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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