Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Project X - Review

Director:Nima Nourizadeh

Cast Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Alexis Knapp

Certificate: 18

Rating: 3/5

We all love a party don’t we? Each and every one of us has in our minds an image of ‘the ultimate party’: whether it includes bouncy castles, piƱatas, and ice-cream, or alcohol, strippers and drugs (or all of them), we all have a dream of one day that party becoming a reality. The latest film produced by Todd Philips and directed by Nima Nourizadeh fulfils this dream, putting all of your twisted party ideas into one ninety minute film: Project X. The film tells of Thomas (Thomas Mann), a just turned seventeen year old boy who, with severe persuasion from his friends Costa and J.B. (played by Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown respectively), holds the party that will change them from the unpopular nobodies, into household college Gods overnight. Through social networking sites and word of mouth, the party grows and grows, becoming everything that the boys dreamed it would be. However, as you can expect, more and more people arrive, and things do not go according to plan.

Now, I was hoping that this film would be, as the trailer suggested,’ Superbad on crack’, and the best party movie I have ever seen. I imagined it to be what you didn’t see in The Hangover, and everything you saw in American Pie. However, the film was lacking something, I am not sure what it was but it just didn’t live up to the hype. Don’t get me wrong it was hilarious in parts, but being produced by Todd Philips I couldn’t help comparing it to The Hangover. Maybe I am wrong to do that, as the films are both completely contrasting, The Hangover is laugh-out-loud hilarious, Project X is just funny; The Hangover is memorable, Project X isn’t.

I am not taking away anything from the fun of the film though, as I would be queuing down the street to get into a party like that. It is, as the poster says, ‘The Party you’ve Only Dreamed about’. The sheer level of chaos at just one party is incomprehensible, with midgets in the oven, smashing windows, cars crashing, motorbike races and flame throwers; the madness ascends from a good time, to chaos, from chaos to stupidity. It brilliant idiotic behaviour, but does that mean it is funny? I was watching this film and realised I had not laughed in about twenty minutes, and for a comedy, that is bad – really bad. However, there are some genuinely hilarious moments, but not funny enough to make you burst out laughing in the middle of the cinema and choke on your popcorn. Maybe I just need to chill and be in the mood for partying when I watch this film.

Overall the film wasn’t terrible, but I will not lie and say it’s the funniest film I have ever seen, because it most definitely isn’t. I would say this is the best comedy of 2012 – that said there haven’t exactly been many comedy films released since January – but I can be certain there will be funnier films to come out this year than Project X. This is a film to see when you are drunk or if you are just about to go for a night out, but in terms of a date movie or a film for watching alone, Project X is not that kind of film.

So have you seen Project X? What did you think of the film? Am I being too harsh? Let me know below or contact me via Twitter.


Monday, 5 March 2012

This Means War - Review

Director: McG

Certificate: 12A

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy, Chris Pine

Rating: 3/5

I am not a big fan of rom-coms: to me they are far too slushy and cringe-worthy, with self-pitying characters that make you want to take a pin and stab both your eyes out like Oedipus – not because of the incest, but the shame of momentarily enjoying something that you know deep down you shouldn’t. However I had high hopes for This Means War as it has the brilliant Tom Hardy in it, who happens to be one of my favourite actors, who is accompanied by Captain Kirk himself, Chris Pine. Both Hardy and Pine play secret agents and best friends who happen to fall for the same woman, Lauren Scott, played by the gorgeous – and seemingly eternally young – Reese Witherspoon. Unsure which of the two she should date, Lauren decides to take the advice of her overtly sexually promiscuous friend and date both men at the same time in a hope to decide which one is right for her.

I wouldn’t exactly call this film a rom-com, as it isn’t especially romantic – not that I am a Casanova or anything (although I have had my moments). It’s just that you know that one of the guys is going to win the woman over at the end, the other will lose, or she will walk away and let them get on with it. Basically, no one will win in a love triangle. The only way that this would work is if Lauren was hit by a bus or taken out with some elaborate espionage technology to punish her for playing two guys for a fool, thus removing the problem and allowing the friends to continue killing terrorists and watching American Football with beer as friends should do. Yet there are some funny moments in this film: admittedly they are not amazing jokes, but what more do you expect from a rom-com. Both Hardy and Pine have good chemistry together, and that is evident from the way in which they bounce lines off each another. The linguistic jousting between them and the one-upmanship attitude they both have is quite enjoyable to watch, which combined with their physicality makes them two very likeable characters.

However I did think to myself while watching the film: would I watch this if the cast was full of unknown stars? The truth is I probably wouldn’t bother. For starters we have Bane and Captain Kirk fighting over Elle Woods, which I think most people would be slightly intrigued to see played out on the big screen – although the linguistic jousting that I praised would be along the lines of: ‘Who was that pointy-eared bastard?’ and ‘zsxdiue slfj dj  ejd askie  djdjs’. So maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but with a cast this good, anyone could have predicted this film would do well at cinemas. One of the main saving graces of the film is the actions sequences, which I thought would be dwarfed by the central love triangle plot. However there as some great shootouts, car chases and hand to hand combat that is choreographed well and executed brilliantly by the two lead characters. I only wished there had been more of it.

So overall I found the film endurable but not amazing. The acting was good but the story line was weak and tiresome. If you are going to go and see this film go with a member of the opposite sex, as this is the perfect date movie: it is not too serious, it has good looking actors and actress for both of you to fantasise over, and it is something that you will enjoy talking about after – even if you loved or hated it.

So what did you think of This Means War? Do you think I am being harsh? Comment below or contact me via twitter.


Friday, 2 March 2012

Taken - Review

I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you: The words that turned Liam Neeson from the cuddly lion Aslan into an absolute bad-ass dad. Taken tells of estranged father Bryan Mills, an ex-CIA agent whose daughter Kim, played by Maggie Grace, is living with his ex-wife and richer new husband. Feeling as though his daughter is growing apart from him, Bryan allows Kim to go travelling around Europe with one of her friends, despite being worried about her safety. However, trouble begins when Kim is kidnapped by a group of sex traffickers in France, forcing Bryan to take matters into his own hands, find the people who took her, and get her home to safety at whatever costs.

The film is a non-stop action extravaganza: from the moment Kim is taken, Neeson steps into action as the heroic father, killing whoever is connected with her kidnapping in a variety of stylish, painful, and – let’s face it – brutal ways. However, the only criticism I would have is the sheer amount of carnage that Bryan causes. I know the film is very tongue-in-cheek, but by the end of the film he has amassed a body count that would make Michael Myers feel guilty – I mean the Michael Myers from Halloween, not the Michael Myers from Austin Powers (Yea Baby!). But you just lap it up, as this level of brutality in any other film would feel out of place. However, in this film the destruction becomes second nature, almost to the point where he is killing the twelfth-million person in the most savage way and you’re just like: ‘yea, ok, I would have done it differently, but no, that’s good’. You just become immune to the sheer madness of the film – which is not a bad thing I suppose.

Neeson is great in the role as Bryan, as his portrayal as the ex-secret was very much a departure from roles we have seen him in before, reinventing him as an action hero for a new generation of cinemagoers. Yea his lines are cheesy, and at times you role your eyes due to the stupidity of some of the things he does, but Neeson just oozes charisma and testosterone that you just do not care. The array of imaginative ways in which he takes people out switches between genius and repetitive, however, after he’s killed more people than the Black Death, you just don’t care and even register that he is causing that much destruction. Let’s face it when it comes to beating the living snot out of a bunch of sex traffickers, Neeson is your man.

Shortly after the success of Taken it was announced that there would be a sequel, with filing beginning in September 2011. I am not sure where they can take the sequel, as the first was simple, but felt concluded and finished with when the credits rolled up. I can’t see how they can carry on the story without making a carbon copy of the original. So this may be like The Hangover Part II of the Hangover series, with the second film being exactly the same with only a few minor changes: instead of Europe, it is in Asia; instead of his daughter, it is his ex-wife; instead of killing people, Bryan gives them all Chinese burns – ok maybe not, but you see my point.

Well what do you think will happen in the next taken film? Do you think it will live up to the original? Will they give it some awful punned title like ‘Taken 2 Asia’? Let me know what you think below, or contact be via twitter.