In Bruges

Brendan GleesonA pair of hitmen, Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell) have been sent to Bruges by their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes). We learn that they are waiting for instructions following their last job which involved Ray shooting a priest, and accidentally killing a boy who is standing behind the priest when the last shots are fired. Wracked with guilt, Ray can’t live with what he has done. Bruges does little to distract him, until he meets Jimmy (Jordan Prentice) and Chloe (Clémence Poésy), the girl he hopes to woo.

It’s all funny and enjoyable. I suppose it’s realistic that a professional hitman would be quite good in a fight – Ray hits a Canadian and his wife in a restaurant when they complain about Chloe blowing cigarette smoke in their faces.

The plot is suitably interesting – nothing too epic, but enough to engage you. For me the most painful moment in terms of storytelling is when Ray manages to not be ripped off by Chloe’s boyfriend who wields a gun containing blanks. Ray then finds the real bullets for the gun and takes it away with him – we later learn because he intends to shoot himself because of the guilt he feels from killing the boy. The thing is, it’s such an artificial moment in the plot that it’s hard to ignore, and I found myself temporarily unable to suspend disbelief.

In terms of acting I think Brendan Gleeson is the most believable character. He seems the most real – when he says things you’re not focusing on the actor – the character he is playing is really there. Maybe it’s something to do with the eyes – great film actors have a world of depth behind their eyes, they can say so much with great economy.

Of course Ralph Fiennes is fantastic, but I really feel he’s an actor waiting for his next epic role – someone who could so easily pick up an Oscar at some stage, but alas not for this film. I think it’s just a matter of time.

I was left with a mixture of emotions after watching this film. I rented it, but it’s a film I would be happy to own on DVD – I would watch it again, but probably not too frequently (by contrast, I can watch Ronin and Layer Cake every three to six months no problem). It’s a good example of the idea that you can generally make a film from a short story – you don’t usually need a complex novel as your starting point because there’s not enough time to convey all the twists and turns. I felt that it was generally quite real and believable – such as when Ray has to accept the reason he manages to pick up Chloe is not that he’s a great lover, but that she plans to rip him off.

Full cast list: Susan Ateh, Olivier Bonjour, Ann Elsley, Sachi Kimura, Ran Yaniv, Michael Bennett, Robbie Kay, Bonnie Witney, Theo Stevenson, Jean-Marc Favorin, Clemence Poesy, Ciaran Hinds, Emily Thorling, Thekla Reuten, Jérémie Renier, Angel Witney, Anna Madeley, Stephanie Carey, Zeljko Ivanek, Jordan Prentice, Ralph Fiennes, Eric Godon, Rudy Blomme, Louis Nummy, Elizabeth Berrington, Mark Donovan, Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Jamie Edgell and Inez Stinton.

Matrix Reloaded DVD review

Randall Duk Kim and Carrie-Anne MossThis undeniably is an almost impossible follow-up to the pure brilliance of The Matrix and its running along the corridor scene, and while I was waiting to see it for the first time I nervously waited to see if Reloaded met the heady heights of the original. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s as good as The Matrix.

What it does have is so many great moments that it match any film ever for coolness! We have in the cast Keanu reeves as Neo, Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, Carrie Anne-Moss as Trinity, Gloria Foster as the Oracle and the brilliant Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith – still I think the best actor in the film.

It starts with a meeting in the Matrix where a group of captains with their crew are discussing a huge threat of 250,000 sentinels that will reach Zion in 72 hours. Shortly afterwards Neo meets Agent Smith with two other agents that he promptly beats up, and Smith says some strange things about Neo setting him free.

Afterwards Morpheus’ group return to Zion where that afternoon there is a huge dance with brief scenes of semi-nudity and great music. The next morning Neo is invited to see the Oracle and gets some much needed answers, but with the traditional dollop of confusion thrown in. Afterwards Neo gets in a huge fight with Agent Smith who has copied himself a couple of hundred times.

The film is less talkie more killie than the last, involving a much needed car chase for about twenty minutes. The CGI is great but they just don’t attain their previous standards when they filmed Neo beating up the army of Smiths, however in every scene when they don’t have a CGI Neo it is as good as you might hope. The sets in my opinion were far better funded then those in the original Matrix film, with no more of the cardboard and polystyrene set nonsense (at least, that’s what it often looked like to me).

They have some brilliant punch lines in Matrix Reloaded, like “we are getting aggravated” and “Yes we are”. It was just funny for no proper reason at all. This all adds up to an absolutely brilliant film that just outperforms the first Matrix film in many ways

The general storyline is that the prophecy should be fulfilled soon, so the twenty five thousand sentinels should never make it to Zion, but Neo hasn’t got a single idea what he needs to do to stop them. Also he is having a recurring dream about Trinity, jumping out of a building firing two mini Uzis at an agent chasing her with a Desert Eagle pistol. In the dream she is then shot in the heart and she hits a car below. Is this really going to happen, and if so can Neo save her?

Full cast list for the Matrix reloaded: Adrian Rayment, Alima Ashton-Sheibu, Andrew Valli, Andy Arness, Anthony Wong, Anthony Zerbe, Attila Davidhazy, Austin Galuppo, Bernard White, Carrie-Anne Moss, Chris Mitchell, Christine Anu, Christopher Kirby, Clayton Watson, Collin Chou, Cornel West, Daniel Bernhardt, Daryl Heath, David Franklin, David Kilde, David No, David Roberts, Don Battee, Essie Davis, Frankie Stevens, Genevieve O’Reilly, Gina Torres, Gloria Foster, Harold Perrineau, Harry Lennix, Helmut Bakaitis, Hugo Weaving, Ian Bliss, Jada Pinkett Smith, John Walton, Josephine Byrnes, Joshua Mbakwe, Keanu Reeves, Kelly Butler, Kevin Scott, Lambert Wilson, Laurence Fishburne, Leigh Whannell, Liliana Bogatko, Malcolm Kennard, Marlene Cummins, Matt McColm, Michael Budd, Monica Bellucci, Montaño Rain, Nash Edgerton, Nathaniel Lees, Neil Rayment, Nicandro Thomas, Nick Scoggin, Nona Gaye, Noris Campos, Paul Cotter, Peter Lamb, Randall Duk Kim, Ray Anthony, Rene Naufahu, Robert Mammone, Robyn Nevin, Roy Jones Jr., Rupert Reid, Scott McLean, Shane C. Rodrigo, Socratis Otto, Steve Bastoni, Steve Morris, Steve Vella, Stoney Burke, Tahei Simpson, Terrell Dixon, Tony Lynch, Tory Mussett, Valerie Berry.

Hellboy II on DVD

Selma Blair as Liz ShermanTo be honest after seeing Hellboy I wasn’t so sure about seeing number 2 and it seemed my fears were well founded in the first five minutes when the background story is given in a shadow puppet style. However after the titles I was soon corrected, with a great piece of timing comedy that you will not see coming.

After that the story boils down to three different story lines – bad person wants power and needs completed artefact (and tries to complete it while good guys try to stop him), love-story lines, and a “dealing with the brand new boss” story line.

To be honest after seeing Hellboy I wasn’t so sure about seeing number 2 and it seemed my fears were well founded in the first five minutes when the background story is given in a shadow puppet style. However after the titles I was soon corrected, with a great piece of timing comedy that you will not see coming.

After that the story boils down to three different story lines – bad person wants power and needs completed artefact (and tries to complete it while good guys try to stop him), love-story lines, and a “dealing with the brand new boss” story line.

To be honest after seeing Hellboy I wasn’t so sure about seeing number 2 and it seemed my fears were well founded in the first five minutes when the background story is given in a shadow puppet style. However after the titles I was soon corrected, with a great piece of timing comedy that you will not see coming.

After that the story boils down to three different story lines – bad person wants power and needs completed artefact (and tries to complete it while good guys try to stop him), love-story lines, and a “dealing with the brand new boss” story line.

The Matrix – on DVD!

I’ve watched the matrix about half a dozen times and every time I thought “Wow that is just the coolest thing ever!” seeing a guy in a black trench coat running along a wall with two Uzis and a woman in a black shirt running along another wall ready to kick a man in the face in slow-mo, and a tone of cool scenes like that.

Carrie Anne MossKeanu reeves as Neo, Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, Joe Pantoliano as Cipher, and my favourite character Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith. It’s the first of the three films and could not have gone better.

It starts with Neo being told by his computer to follow a “white rabbit” which leads him briefly to trinity. The next day he goes to work where he is chased by some agents and he is eventually caught. With the agents he enters a world of horror and his mouth seals itself shut and a small robot climbs into his belly button – he then wakes up back to normal, or so he thinks.

He then is phoned and meets Morpheus’ team under a bridge in a car where they suck the robot out of his bellybutton. Afterwards they drive to a large tattered building where he meets Morpheus who offers to let him know the truth about the matrix and be freed, he then has to face that he has to save the planet from the robot’s rule.

This film is full of action and strange ideas. The CGI was futuristic for its time, the sets I have to say sometimes looked like cardboard and polystyrene but overall they were good, they chose perfect music for the situations including Rage Against The Machine for the credits!

Some of the acting wasn’t the best, like the point when Trinity is kicking ass with a shotgun she seems like it’s too heavy for her to hold. However the quick punch lines like “dodge this” will last forever in media history.

The story itself is based around the Matrix which is a computer simulation made by robots with AI that is our world, they grow humans plugging them into the Matrix and use their bio-electricity to power themselves. This means that the world isn’t real and they can bend the system’s rules such as gravity, Letting them fly, jump further and run on walls!

The full cast is: Keanu reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, Julian Arahanga, Anthony Ray Parker, Marcus Chong, Matt Doran, Gloria Foster, Belinda McClory, Paul Goddard, Robert Taylor.

Sleeping with the Enemy film review

Julia Roberts as Laura BurneyOne of my all time favourite films was recently screened on E4; Sleeping with the Enemy starring Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergen and Kevin Anderson. As a fan of Julia Roberts this one probably one of the first films I saw her in (other than the obvious Pretty Woman) and despite its sometimes flawed plotlines I can’t help but find myself still enjoying it just as much as ever.

The storyline revolves around Julia Roberts character Laura Burney and her abusive husband Martin (Patrick Bergin). Laura struggles to live with the demands of her violent and obsessive husband who to the outside world seems like the perfect catch. Laura finds herself living life in a constant state of fear, and is waiting for the perfect opportunity to escape the evil clutches of her husband.

When she finally gets her chance to break away, she fakes her own death and flees the town going undercover with a new name and soon finds a completely new way of life.

She begins to make friends and becomes close to drama teacher Ben, the complete opposite of her ex husband he’s everything she has ever wanted but when Martin later learns that he wife is not dead he begins to start a search for her that will not end until he finally gets her back home with him where he believes she belongs.

The film has some great “feel good” moments such as the “Brown Eyed Girl” scene which livens things up midway through but also deals with some much darker issues surrounding abusive relationships and domestic violence.

Patrick Bergin plays the menacing Martin very well, actually making you believe at times that he is the monster that his character represents. Julia Roberts also does a fantastic job of playing Laura, who changes from someone too scared to be herself into a confident and happy young woman as the film takes its journey.

If you are a fan of Julia Roberts, chances are that you will probably have already seen this film, but if you haven’t managed to catch it yet it may be a little dated now but is definitely still worth a watch if you have a spare hour or two on your hands!

Full cast list for Sleeping with the Enemy: Bonnie Johnson, Claudette Nevins, Elizabeth Lawrence, Graham Harrington, Harley Venton, John Lindley, John Ward, Julia Roberts, Kevin Anderson, Kyle Secor, Marita Geraghty, Nancy Fish, Patrick Bergin, Patt Noday, Ron Reedy, Sandi Shackelford, Sharon J. Robinson, Tony Abatemarco.

Freddy Vs Jason on Film 4

Freddy vs JasonIf you have been watching Film 4 lately you may have caught Saturday’s showing of one of the latest and most anticipated horror sequels ever. Providing a great mix of comedy and slasher horror Freddy Vs Jason is a movie that horror fans had been dying (excuse the pun) to see made for years.

What has been created is a kind of bizarre world that combines Jason Voorhees reality and Freddy Kruger’s all in one.

With the townsfolk now plying their unsuspecting children with dream suppressant pills to keep Freddy at bay he must find another way to break out of the Purgatory he finds himself trapped in. Of course that’s where Jason comes in, Freddy manages to tap into his energy and get Jason to do his nasty work for a while, once again installing fear into the hearts of teenagers and adults alike allowing him to break into “Or world” once more and stalk the dreams and reality of his chosen victims.

Freddy vs JasonThe best thing about this movie has to be the fact that it gives the fans exactly what they wanted. They didn’t want to see some long drawn out storyline, instead they preferred to see Jason and Freddy fight long and hard to see who would come out on top.

The movie certainly delivers, with some great scenes involving Jason and Freddy together it is almost more comedic rather than scary to watch as they tear chunks out of each other in some brutal and yet fun shots.

The supporting cast in the movie is made up largely of “trendy” young teenagers including Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland in her feature debut and Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps) alongside Monica Keena and Jason Ritter. Robert Englund once again resumes his role as Freddy (no-one could do it better) and we see Ken Kirzinger a well respected stuntman take on the role of Jason.

Freddy Vs Jason definitely pays homage to the 80′s slashers we associate them with, bringing back that almost cheesy dialogue and a storyline that although manages to keep us entertained isn’t exactly going to win any awards for originality, but let?s face it, did we really expect it to?!

In my opinion the movie is well worth a watch for the Freddy Vs Jason fight scenes alone, as well as the wonderfully OTT ending which is not to be missed. In short, if you are a fan of horror and loved Friday The 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street you have no reason to dislike this movie!

Full cast list for Freddy vs Jason: Alex Green, Alistair Abell, Anysha Berthot, Blake Mawson, Brendan Fletcher, Brent Chapman, Chris Gauthier, Chris Marquette, Claire Riley, Colby Johannson, Colton Shock, David Kopp, Eileen Pedde, Evangeline Lilly, Gary Chalk, Jacqueline Stewart, Jamie Mayo, Jason Ritter, Jesse Hutch, Joëlle Antonissen, Katharine Isabelle, Kelly Rowland, Ken Kirzinger, Kevin Hansen, Kimberley Warnat, Kirsti Forbes, Kyle Labine, Laura Boddington, Lochlyn Munro, Monica Keena, Odessa Munroe, Oscar Gutiérrez, Paula Shaw, Robert Englund, Robert Shaye, Sarah-Anne Hepher, Sean Tyler Foley, Sharon Peters, Spencer Doduk, Spencer Stump, Taryn McCullock, Tom Butler, Tony Willett, Viv Leacock, Zack Ward.

Wedding Crashers on Film 4

Owen WilsonOwen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star in this brilliantly over the top comedy about two men who spend all of their free time crashing other peoples wedding parties.

The basic aim of this and their twisted logic is that weddings are the perfect place to meet women and along with the free food and party atmosphere it never seems to grow tiresome for the two of them.

Things soon begin to change however when the pair crash an exclusive bash and meet up with treasury secretary William Cleary (played brilliantly by Christopher Walken) and his attractive young daughters Gloria (Isla Fisher) and Claire (Amy McAdams).

Whilst Jeremy has to attempt to fend off the advances of Gloria, a completely crazy and immature but gorgeous young woman John finds himself falling head over heels for the other daughter Claire, who seems to be feeling the same way about him until she reveals that she has a boyfriend. Determined to find out more about Claire and win her over John and Jeremy manage to bag themselves an invite to the family home where they end up in various different uncomfortable and often (in Johns case at least) embarrassing situations along the way!

Vince VaughnThis is definitely one of those films that you can just sit down and watch without having to concentrate or worrying that if you nip out to grab a drink you will have missed a vital plot point. It’s a simple, great fun comedy that has some genuinely hilarious laugh out loud moments that will appeal to both men and women.

Most of the fun revolves around Gloria and Jeremy, Isla Fisher does a fantastic job of playing this clingy, kooky and downright scary girl whose attraction to poor Jeremy never gives him a minute’s peace.

There is a definite chemistry between the two of them that really works and manages top be sweet and jaw droppingly funny at the same time! The romantic element of the film is more focused on John and Claire as they start to grow closer despite her overbearing and often chauvinistic boyfriend.

Christopher Walken delivers a flawless performance as usual and is a real asset to the film there is also a great cameo from Will Ferrell which is worth watching out for. All in all Wedding Crashers is the perfect movie to watch when you’ve finished work and just want to sit down and chill out!

Full cast list for Wedding Crashers: Al Cerullo, Amber Matthews, Arnold Chun, Beau Bowden, Betsy Ames, Brad Newman, Bradley Cooper, Camille Anderson, Carolyn Robertson, Carson Elrod, Chao Li Chi, Charles Kahlenberg, Christina Lindley, Christopher Walken, Cindy Taylor, Claudia Barroso, David Conrad, Diora Baird, Dwight Yoakam, Dylan James Turner, Ellen Albertini Dow, Frank Ray Perilli, Geoff Stults, Gill Garci, Henry Gibson, Holly Traister, Ina Haybaeck-Rogers, Irene Roseen, Isla Fisher, Ivana Bozilovic, Jacob Newman, James Carville, James McDonnell, Jane Seymour, Jed Bernard, Jeff Fields, Jennifer Alden, Jennifer Massey, Jesse Henecke, Jewel Donohue, Joe Koons, John G. Pavelec, John H. Tobin, John McCain, Joshua Wheeler, Jules Mandel, Juting Tsang, Karen Miller, Kassie Pinegar, Kathryn Joosten, Keir O’Donnell, Kelsey Wedeen, Larry Joe Campbell, Laura Orrico, Lindsay Schoneweis, Lisa Beach, Lou Cutell, Lovelynn Vanderhorst, Maria Arcé, Mark Duane Anderson, Melanie Hawkins, Michael McKennitt, Michelle Woods, Mike Bellesfield, Mike George, Naureen Zaim, Ned Schmidtke, Neil Patil, Noel De Souza, Norma Michaels, O.J. Watson, Owen Wilson, Pamela Fischer, Paola Perla, Patricia Place, Phyllis Samhaber, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Sterling, Rebecca De Mornay, Richard Riehle, Rita Rani, Robert Neal Marshall, Robert Randolph Caton, Ron Canada, Roopashree Jeevaji, Schuster Vance, Shawn Barber, Sophia Blouin, Sparkle, Stephanie Nevin, Stephen J. Downs, Steve Carson, Steve J. Termath, Summer Altice, Tanaya Nicole, Tiffany Turner, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, William F. Smith, Z.M. Nan Khan.

Interview with the director of Stardust

Matthew VaughnWe’ve got a link to a video interview with Director Matthew Vaughn, who talks about his experience of making the hit blockbuster film Stardust.

The DVD release of Stardust comes after the successful release of this epic fantasy at the cinemas. This fairytale includes wicked witches, magical spells, daring sword fights, black comedy and a cast that includes Robert DeNiro and the stunning Michelle Pfeiffer.

StardustCharlie Cox plays the unlikely hero who falls in love with a falling star, and the film includes great performances from Ricky Gervais, Sienna Miller and Claire Danes to name but a few.

In the interview, Director Matthew Vaughn describes how this star-studded classic was created. Find out how Robert DeNiro felt about cross dressing, why Vaughn chose an unknown for his leading character and just how much make-up it takes to make Michelle Pfeiffer look ugly!

Full cast list for Stardust: Adam Buxton, Adam Fogerty, Alastair MacIntosh, Ben Barnes, Bimbo Hart, Carlos Besse Peres, Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Coco Sumner, Darby Hawker, David Kelly, David Walliams, Dexter Fletcher, Elwin ‘Chopper’ David, Frank Ellis, Geoff Bell, George Innes, Grant Burgin, Henry Cavill, Ian McKellen, Jake Curran, Jason Flemyng, Joanna Scanlan, Jordan Long, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Kate Magowan, Mark Burns, Mark Heap, Mark Strong, Mark Williams, Melanie Hill, Michelle Pfeiffer, Nathaniel Parker, Olivia Grant, Peter O’Toole, Rab Affleck, Ricky Gervais, Robert De Niro, Rupert Everett, Sarah Alexander, Sienna Miller, Spencer Wilding, Struan Rodger, Terry Murphy.

Hide and Seek on Film4

Hide and Seek starring Dakota Fanning and Robert DeNiro was shown on Film4 Friday 14th December.

Now this is a film that critics have completely slammed, with most saying that it was absolute rubbish. Well as usual, I completely disagree with what they think and I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

Granted, it’s not one of those movies that will blow you away completely, but it has a decent pace, a great cast and some very good twists and turns all the way through which makes it really entertaining.

Robert DeNiro plays David Callaway, a psychiatrist and father to a young girl called Emily. After her mother’s sudden death Emily creates a seemingly imaginary friend named Charlie who always gets the blame for anything strange that happens in the home.

Soon however, things begin to take a more sinister twist and the events surrounding the family become increasingly serious. Could Charlie be more than just an Imaginary friend and if so what exactly does he want?

Both Robert DeNiro and Dakota Fanning manage to give great performances and it’s interesting to watch how young Dakota measures up to be equally as good in the movie as DeNiro and I have to admit that I think she even outshone him in places!

We are used to seeing Dakota play the cute, happy go lucky kid in most of her recent movies but Hide and Seek sees her take on an entirely different role completely. Gone is the trademark long blonde hair and in its place is a short brown lank look that completely adds to the intensity of the character.

Although the film is definitely a bit of a slow burner, if you persevere through the sometimes slow start you will be rewarded with a tense and psychological movie that really knows how to play on the small details and leave you guessing.

I enjoyed the ending of the movie, and didn’t see it coming until just before the big reveal, but it has been openly criticised by others for being a little predictable in places. All I can advise is that you watch it for yourself and enjoy this creepy psychological horror without listening to critics and without taking it too seriously.

Robert DeNiro is one of my favourite actors and after recently seeing him in Stardust it is refreshing to see that he can still shine, even in such a different role to those we usually see him in!

Full cast list for the 2005 film Hide and Seek: Amy Irving, Brendan Sexton III, Dakota Fanning, David Chandler, Dylan Baker, Elisabeth Shue, Famke Janssen, Jacqueline Lovell, Jake Dylan Baumer, Josh Flitter, Melissa Leo, Molly Grant Kallins, Robert De Niro, Robert John Burke, Rose Pasquale, Stewart Summers.

The Vicious Circle on Film4

On a Sunday afternoon in late November when the chill has started to set in and you’re feeling a bit coldy, a black and white thriller starring John Mills is the perfect way of working off a big roast lunch.

The Vicious Circle features John Mills as Doctor Howard Latimer, a Harley Street doctor whose supposed friend turns out to be the head of a nasty German gang and who frames him for the murder of an undercover policewoman.

The story owes a lot to the style of John Buchan’s The Thirty Nine Steps – an action packed romp where you are better of not lingering to think too long over the many twists and turns that the plot takes, but instead just sip a cup of hot tea, eat a toasted and buttered muffin, and enjoy the ride. Preferably wearing a pair of slippers.

The stars of this film are the treasure trove of quality British actors who you feel so lucky to experience all on screen at the same time, including Wilfred Hyde-White and Roland Culver, while Derek Farr, Lionel Jeffries and Mervyn Johns put in admirable performances.

There were a couple of really enjoyable scenes for me, one being when John Mills opens the door to his house revealing background scenery that is so unrealistically painted that it is just plain funny.

But my favourite scene was when the baddy tries to escape from London Airport at the end of the film and a sign lights up in the plane saying “Fasten Lap Straps”. It is so easy to forget what must have happened for society to settle on the phrase “seat belts”. We spent an enjoyable couple of minutes considering how different our world would have been if we had standardised the names as “tummy bands”, “chair restrainers” or “waist leashes” instead.

Full cast list for 1957 film The Vicious Circle: David Williams, Derek Farr, Diane Lambert, Gillian Moran, Hal Osmond, John Gordon, John Mills, Lionel Jeffries, Lisa Daniely, Mervyn Johns, Noelle Middleton, Rena Ray, Roland Culver, Wilfrid Hyde-White.