Project 365 – Week 8 – Feb 19th to 25th

February 26, 2010

These “classic” films just keep on impressing! A great week despite not having seen the most films ever. My Name is Khan is possibly the best film I’ve seen so far this year and is still on at certain cinemas, so go see it if you can!

103. Annie Hall
104. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
105. Solomon Kane
106. A Serious Man
107. Cocoon
108. Wolf Creek
109. Stormbreaker
110. Some Like it Hot
111. Right at Your Door
112. My Name is Khan
113. Severance
114. Balibo

Highlights: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Right at Your Door, My Name is Khan
Lowlights: Cocoon, Stormbreaker, Severance


Episode 12 – Never Been Cast

February 21, 2010

Never Been Cast

Love is in the air folks! That’s right it’s our (slightly late) Valentine’s Day special! Featuring reviews of Ponyo, the Wolfman, Invictus and Valentine’s Day as well as a feature on, what else, rom coms!

Check it!

Project 365 – Week 7 – Feb 12th to 18th

February 19, 2010

Wow, I’m back on form and I’ve hit over one hundred! “So how long does it take to watch a hundred movies Chris?” I hear you cry! Well no fear, thanks to my trusty excel spreadsheet (yes I’m a loser…)  I can tell you that the first hundred films took me a total of one hundred and eighty one hours and thirty three minutes. Or Seven days, thirteen hours and thirty three minutes. Meaning that so far this year I’ve spent at least a day a week watching movies.

Should that be celebrated or lauded?

Well obviously…

So enough babbling, here are the fifteen films I watched in week seven:

88. 2001: A Space Odyssey
89. Rocky II
90. The Graduate
91. Rocky III
92. Manhattan
93. Rocky IV
94. Hotel Rwanda
95. Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief
96. LA Confidential
97. The Wolfman
98. The Jacket
99. True Romance
100. Rocky V
101. The Manchurian Candidate
102. Sahara

Highlights: Rocky II, The Graduate, Hotel Rwanda

Lowlights: Manhattan, The Wolfman, Sahara

Remember fact fans that the highlights and lowlights go solely off my enjoyment watching that film – no ouright comment on quality (although The Wolfman was totally rubbish). Suggestions welcome as always – stick them on a comment here or on the facebook group.


Review – Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

February 18, 2010

You know what, I can tell you for starters that this film is going to be mercilessly ripped apart by critics because, cinematically speaking, it’s really not very good. Taking off the arse-bag hat and locking it away safely in a cupboard where it belongs, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is a real fun teen action film which ticks all the right boxes. There’s a funny sidekick, angst, romance, adventure and peril (“Contains moderate fantasy violence and threat” according to the BBFC classification) as well as a whole pantheon of Greek mythological characters (you like that?) to keep proceedings alive and entertaining.

Despite the list above not really being completely exhaustive or encapsulating all the elements of the movie, it is hard to delve into anything even slightly more specific as to why this film isn’t completely terrible as it all just hangs together quite nicely. No one person really shines in this cast, (featuring such heavyweights as Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Catherine Keener and Uma Thurman) in fact a couple of the casting choices seem somewhat misinformed (but I’ll get onto that in a minute) and at no point does the film really do anything that would rate anywhere close to “Kablamtastic” on my Entertainometer – but all that goes to show is that you can have a perfectly average entertaining experience from an all round perfectly average cinematic outing.

So the gripes then, well there are always gripes aren’t there? Okay so to take a break from the usual “blah blah narrative” kind of gripes I usually have let’s first (as alluded above) talk about casting. I literally have no idea what Uma Thurman did to secure her role as Medusa but I’m just going to put this out there and say she was god awful –  by far one of the most misinformed turns by a big Hollywood name since most things that Samuel L Jackson has done. I mean seriously, if any of you guys go and see it, just ask yourself what she did in her audition to get that part. That compounded with the really quite god awful CG snake hair makes the whole Medusa scene one of the more embarrassing elements of the movie and it’s a real shame when, for the most part, the rest of the CG is pretty good. This then raises the question of whether, as a potential new franchise, big star names have been tacked on just to give this fledgling outing that ounce of gravitas or kudos that will get the punters in to see it.

Another strange casting choice lied in having Steve Coogan portray Hades – this guy is supposed to be a real badass, lord of the Underworld – not an aging rocker Mick Jagger type and although that very same joke is used in the movie itself (with Percy questioning Hades’ appearance upon their inevitable meeting) It still feels like the film is poking fun at itself which, considering that critics will probably do enough of that themselves, certainly doesn’t do itself any favours.

I think my only other real gripe comes with the pacing of the story – it continues at a fair pace throughout until suddenly, ten minutes from the end, everything happens at once and the identity of the titular lightning thief is, somewhat clumsily, revealed. This wouldn’t matter so much apart from the fact that although the theft of Zeus’ lightning bolt serves as the key instigator for proceedings, it’s duly ignored for most of the movie whilst the characters embark on a totally non related quest. Numerous questions regarding the theft of aforementioned bolt are never answered and whether this is because they crop up in later Percy Jackson novels or just because the filmmakers thought that no one in the audience would care enough to enquire about them isn’t made clear; but you know what? I cared and was left wanting answers – after all is Zeus’ lightning bolt is so precious that he’s willing to go to a potentially world ending war with the other Gods over it’s theft, you think he’d have left it slightly better guarded…

There are a couple of other head scratchers through the proceedings (notably for me was how Pierce Brosnan fits into that wheelchair and why the hell they all needed to wear such old fashioned armour) but if you’re prepared to buy into the whole mythological universe, these concerns can largely be swept under the carpet.

To wrap up then, at the risk of stating something that I’ll later come to regret, if anything I hope that this first installment is successful enough to warrant the production of the subsequent Percy Jackson stories. If you really think about how good the first Harry Potter film was compared to the latter ones you’ll notice a notable jump in quality as the series progresses as the young actors fit and grew into their characters. That may not prove as necessary for the Percy Jackson crew with them all being mid to late teens already but there is definitely room for them to grow into. I just hope we don’t have a repeat of the Eragon, Alex Rider or His Dark Materials franchises where we get one quite watchable entry then nothing further because of small box office receipts.

Future concerns aside, take it for now that Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is a fun, fast paced franchise starter that should please its teen target audience well enough – as long as they stop drinking white lightning on the rec and get their arses down to the cinema to see it.

Tag Team Review – The Princess and the Frog

February 17, 2010

Every now and then both of us will see a film that we either don’t have time to review properly in the show or think that by the time we get round to recording might be becoming a little difficult for you guys to catch at the cinema. This then is the perfect time for a written review.

However, as you all undoubtedly know, we’re both egotistical maniacs and so don’t want to leave the honour of writing some of these reviews to the other without sticking our own two penneth in. Well where does that leave us in such situations? Right here fact fans! The Tag Team Review.

In order to try and keep this as relatively pain free as possible for you guys we’ve set ourselves a three hundred and fifty or so word limit each to get to the point pronto! First up are thoughts from my good friend Chris W:

Disney’s first hand drawn animation to be released in theatres since God knows when is finally upon us and it’s a treat from start to finish. Taking inspiration from the American electorate by animating their first African-American princess The Princess and the Frog moves away from the typical Fairy Tale settings of castles, rainbows and valleys and throws its cast into the deepest darkest reaches of the Louisiana bayou circa 1930’s.

Those of you tempted to presume that by breaking down racial borders Disney are ushering in an era of change will be disappointed to learn that much like their political counterparts in Washington have found…it’s business as usual. A President is just a President, and a fairy tale is still a fairy tale.

The Princess and the Frog fits nicely into that category of Disney films which hits all the right notes in all the right places (song and dance numbers, adult humour, morals & message and the scary bits that have kids gripping onto their parent’s arms) but doesn’t have a hook catchy enough to make you whistle the tunes days after you’ve seen it.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still great entertainment, and it’s fantastic to see an old technique dusted off and put through the wringer once more, but when talking Disney Greats in years to come it’s hard to imagine The Princess and the Frog being anything else than ‘that time Disney showed they still knew how to draw’.

All the classic Disney caricatures are present and correct, the message of love and family and all that crap is rammed down our throats at every opportunity, and the animation and voice work is top notch too, but unlike with previous Disney classics (take a bow Aladdin and Emperor’s New Groove) I didn’t come away from The Princess and the Frog desperate to know when it is released on DVD, which kind of says something.
And before you say anything it’s not like I’m getting too old for this shit either because the new Toy Story 3 trailer and character introductions are turning me to jelly each time I see them!

Is it my go? Is it? Huh? Huh?

Oh, it is? Okay then! Thoughts from me (Chris M) then:

In order to avoid echoing too many of my esteemed colleague Ceedub’s thoughts here, take it first that I enjoyed the hell out of this movie and the eight year old moviegoer inside of me is overjoyed to see Disney back doing what I always thought they did best. The twenty six year old real me also nods approvingly.

My only real major gripe is that Disney seem to be so intent on prescribing to their old formula of standard scenes interjected by songs that the musical numbers occasionally feel forced, almost as if they have been harshly crow barred in at regular intervals. This in itself isn’t too much of a problem but when, as mentioned above, the songs lack any real hook throughout and are so forgettable, I would have preferred dialogue to continue the proceedings rather than another requisite musical number.

The other thing that has gotten me slightly is over the fuss that’s been caused about Tiana being African American, as it really bears little significance on proceedings. I mean no one kicked up a fuss the first time they used an Arabic princess did they? This really isn’t as big a cultural event as people seem to think it is. Get over it.

The long and short of it is that The Princess and the Frog is a great return to traditional Disney animation and has both the wholesome heartwarming values at its core as well as an honest to goodness sense of humour that’ll mean you’ll be happy for your kids to grow up with it much in the same way I grew up with Robin Hood, The Jungle Book et al, although you might not necessarily feel obliged to sing its praises from the rooftops.

All in then, The Princess and the Frog is a fun filled family treat that, whilst falling short of peak Disney brilliance in the early-to-mid nineties (Beauty and the Beast followed by Aladdin followed by The Lion King anyone?) is still a welcome step in the right direction for Disney and hopefully a sign of good things to come.

Lastly, I concur with Brother Wakeman regarding Toy Story 3. Squeal!

Project 365 – Week 6 – Feb 5th to 11th

February 12, 2010

Wow, quiet week this time around but hey, I’ve been hella busy so shush up! I think there’ll be more weeks like this to come so I’m glad I’m so far ahead already. Well anyway…

83. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
84. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
85. Heat
86. The Princess and the frog
87. 12 Angry Men

For highlights this week take it that Heat and The Princess & the Frog were very good, the 2008 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still was pretty bad and 12 Angry Men was all out excellent.

Episode 11 – The Casta La Vista Social Club

February 8, 2010

The Casta la Vista Social Club (right click and “save as” for download)

It perhaps would serve you best to read this post before listening to this episode. It stands as a testament to our dedication to you, the devoted followers, that we managed to re-record this episode mere hours after fucking it up royally the first time around!

Anywho be prepared to spend the best fifty minutes of your fortnight on our latest little slice of Casta La Vista Goodness.



(oh and apologies for Chrazza Wazza’s volume throughout – it was my not so subtle way of trying to drown him out – we’ll try and have it sorted for next time :D)