Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Episode 95 - I’ve Got The Protection From Your Infection

That's right folks this week we discuss all manner of nasty little bugs that get into your system and kill you, or worse yet zombiefy you! We talk about 28 Days Later, Outbreak, REC, Virus, I am Legend and many more movies featuring man made or naturally occurring viruses.

As usual we had our challenges:

Steven – Pontypool (2009)

Matt – 12 Monkeys (1995)

Take a listen below:

You can find, listen or download all of our past episodes over at B Grade Movies Online! You can also hear us live on 99.3FM in Hobart or streaming live at Edge Radio at 10pm AEST every Sunday evening!

If you like us, why not join us on Facebook, we are generally stuffing around on the book of face whilst we do the show.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cars 2 (2011)

I always regretted not seeing the original Cars movie in cinemas, the trailer didn't do anything for me so I decided to give it a miss and when I did get around to watching it on DVD I really quite enjoyed it.

A similar thing happened to me with Cars 2, the trailer didn't inspire me, but as I was asked to review it I went along anyway.. I mean it is a Pixar movie so how bad can it be?

I certainly find the story of Cars 2 an interesting choice for this sequel, it sees Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) relegated to a bit part whilst Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) steals the show in what can only be described as a James Bond homage. Secret Agent Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) is on a top secret mission to find out who is behind a massive secret oil drilling operation in the middle of the ocean. By an unlucky twist of fate Mater is confused for an American spy and together with Finn and his associate Holly they head off to Paris in search of a spare parts dealer that might help them. Meanwhile Lightning McQueen has taken up a challenge to race in a world cup using a new environmentally sustainable fuel known as Allinol, but as race cars start to explode on the track, there are some doubts as to weather the fuel is as safe and friendly as first thought!

Cars 2 reminded me in some ways of the Bill Murray film The Man Who Knew Too Little from 1997 in which the main character is mistaken for a secret agent and yet, by pure luck and further misunderstandings ends up being better than the real thing, much like Mater in the former, but I found that throughout the movie I was constantly asking myself, why is this a Cars movie? John Lassester made a fairly major executive decision when Pixar moved in with Disney, he stopped them from making any further sequels to all of their classics and whilst that was great, I can't help but feel that Cars 2 makes him a little hypocritical and I also can't help but feel it could have been done with characters other than cars.

Cars 2 is the complete opposite of its original counterpart in that here we have cars behaving more like humans and in an environment that makes little sense when compared to the first. I do enjoy Pixar movies and I don't think Cars 2 is the worst film they have made, but I certainly didn't enjoy it as much as I have their other films and I think it is a shame to see them now making so many sequels to their titles rather than creating original content.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bridesmaids (2011)

ahem... yes I did go and see Bridesmaids and whilst I did not hate the film, it does have some very bad issues. For a start it is overly long, in fact it is just over 2 hours (which seems to be increasingly popular now with comedies) and regrettably feels like it outstays its welcome. The film also just seems to be a number of comedy sketches conjoined by a flimsy story arc about a wedding plan, this is evident by the number of plot points that garner no resolution or explanation (why is there an Irish cop, or for that matter how is there an Irish cop working in Milwaukee?). For the most part the acting is fine, there are some genuinely funny moments, but on the whole the film left me a little dry.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Episode 94 - The Masters of Horror / Fear Itself

In this week's show we discuss the awesome Masters of Horror series created by Mick Garris and bringing together some of the biggest horror directors in history featuring the likes of John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Dario Argento Takeshi Miike and many many more! As a bonus we also discuss the short lived Fear Itself series also created by Mick Garris and featuring a number of well known directors.

We had challenges for each series of the Masters of Horror and Fear Itself:

Masters Of Horror Season One Challenges:
Steven – Cigarette Burns Directed By John Carpenter
Matt – Deer Woman Directed By John Landis

Masters Of Horror Season Two Challenges:
Steven – The Damned Thing Directed By Tobe Hooper
Matt – Valerie on the Stairs Directed By Mick Garris

Fear Itself Season One Challenges:
Steven – Eater Directed By Stuart Gordon
Matt – Community Directed By Mary Harron

Take a listen to the episode below and enjoy!

You can find, listen or download all of our past episodes over at B Grade Movies Online! You can also hear us live on 99.3FM in Hobart or streaming live at Edge Radio at 10pm AEST every Sunday evening!

If you like us, why not join us on Facebook, we are generally stuffing around on the book of face whilst we do the show.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jurassic Park Collectibles

So I am a bit of a nut when it comes to movies, I collect most things associated with the ones I like, from the obvious DVD and soundtrack releases, to the less obvious marvels from the merchandising profit machine. With that in mind I have decided to start posting a few pictures from my collection of individual film merchandise, promotional items, oddities and collectibles starting with the 1993 Steven Spielberg blockbuster Jurassic Park.

Aside from the U.S limited edition DVD release of Jurassic Park and its sequel The Lost World (as seen above and below), I also own the individual DTS releases of both titles on DVD, the soundtrack CD's (which were also included in the set below), toys, posters, magazines, books and all kinds of other goodies....


Hungry Jacks promotional watch collection.

Buttons & Badges

Children's Story & Activity Books

Official Books & Magazines

Jurassic Park would have been one of the biggest merchandising machines in the history of Hollywood (probably second only to Star Wars), they had everything you could think of branded with the JP logo, and whilst my collection is far greater than just the images above, I will only be giving you a taste of some of things that are around. I was a quite the Spielberg fan boy in my youth, so a vast majority of my collection extends his many great films, so next week I shall bring you some of the goodies I have from E.T so stay tuned for that!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Little White Lies (2010)

Max owns and runs a successful hotel and restaurant. Every year, he and his “new age” wife invite a group of their friends to their beach house in the south of France for a vacation, only this year tragedy has struck mere days before the start of their holiday. Ludo, one of their long standing friends is injured in a horrific scooter accident and the group must decide if they should cancel or at the very least cut short their annual pilgrimage. After deciding to spend only 2 weeks at the beach house while Ludo recuperates the holiday ends up being anything but relaxing as each of the guests deal with all of the little lies and truths that unravel amongst them… so many secrets kept for so long and as tensions mount things start getting a little out of hand.

First thing I will get out of the way here is the films running time. Yes it is about 1/2 an hour shy of a 3 hour epic and for most of its duration the film is nothing more than faces and dialog, but the question I would ask of any criticism regarding this is what would you cut? Whilst I felt the film was a little slow to get on its feet, once you have established who is who and what is what things start to fall into place and the film is able to make use of the breathing space it has afforded the characters. All of the actors are perfectly cast and you truly believe that this group of people have known each other for years.

However films of old have been there and done that and Little White Lies reminded me a lot of films like Peter’s Friends or The Big Chill in which a group of long term friends meet and greet and everything falls apart, but whilst it may not be the chocolate biscuit in the jar it certainly has a lot to offer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Latest Acquisitions

So Alice: Madness Returns finally hit our shores last week, and whilst I have not been playing it religiously it is certainly a beautiful game to look at. I am also pleased that we get the original game to play!! I look forward to re-playing that when I get a cajillion hours free!

I also grabbed a couple of Blu-rays last week... namely Easy A and Minority Report, both great discs stacked with extras and brilliant transfers! This week I am looking forward to Sucker Punch extended edition and a few flicks at the cinema!! (Hopefully Sleeping Beauty, but I won't hold my breath)

I will also be posting a review of Little White Lies tomorrow so stay tuned for that!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Episode 93 - Found Footage & Mockumentaries

This week on How B Grade Movies Saved or Ruined My Life, Matthew and I discuss movies claiming to be documentaries or "found footage". Think, Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, This is Spinal Tap and the many many others....

The challenges (and there were 2 each!!) were:

Matthew: Best in Show (2000) & Lake Mungo (2008)

Steven: Behind the Mask (2006) & The Last Horror Movie (2003)

You can find, listen or download all of our past episodes over at B Grade Movies Online! You can also hear us live on 99.3FM in Hobart or streaming live at Edge Radio at 10pm AEST every Sunday evening!

If you like us, why not join us on Facebook, we are generally stuffing around on the book of face whilst we do the show.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Super 8 (2011)

Steven Spielberg and writer / director J.J. Abrams comes the latest in the U.S. Summer blockbusters.

Set in the summer of 1979, Super 8 follows a group of school kids shooting a zombie film on Super 8mm in the hopes of getting it into the amateur film festival. During a night of guerrilla film making they witness the crash of a U.S Air Force freight train travelling through their town in the cover of night. Over the next few days a series of unexplained events begin to occur and despite their best efforts the kids are landed smack bang in the middle of a fight between the government and whatever has escaped from the train wreck.

I was hoping that Super 8 would be a return to the 80's kids movies I grew up with (E.T, The Goonies and Stand By Me) and in some ways it is a homage to them, but the film is targeted to a more adult audience, which makes me question why the main characters are school kids? It is not difficult to spot that J.J Abrams was influenced by the early 80's and more specifically the films of Steven Spielberg, take for example that the two leads come from broken homes, they live in a small town where there is very little for them to do and that the whole film is basically an action movie version of E.T.

As was usual for these films the adults take a back seat and let the kids drive for a change and the performances and casting of the kids is spot on. The two main leads Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning give believable and engrossing performances, whilst the rest of the geeky crew slip into their roles with relative ease.

During the second half the film turns into more of a creature feature and it is during this time that it suffers most. Whilst it has become somewhat cliche to hide your creature from the audience until the last minute (again we can thank Mr. Spielberg for that!) Super 8 gives us a fairly good look at what exactly is causing all of this destruction and mayhem, but by doing so takes some of the mystery away from us. The last 20 minutes or so seem a little rushed and the explanation for what exactly is going on seems a little forced.

Having said all of that, Super 8 is still quite the adventure and certainly provides the sort of thrill-ride Hollywood used to give is with its Summer blockbusters and whilst it may not be the most original thing out there so far this season it is refreshing reprieve from comic book adaptations and sequels.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oranges and Sunshine (2010)

Australia has had a very rough past, from our convict settlement days, bush rangers, the stolen generation and our general mistreatment of the indigenous population, we certainly don't have a lot to be proud of. Oranges and Sunshine brings to the screen another often unheard story of our sordid past in the form of the "home children" scandal. As early as 1816 the British Isles had a habit of relocating children to the varying colonies of which they were assosiated for use as labourers. Oft times these children were no more than just slaves with very few being given a loving family environment or any form of education.

In 1987 social worker Margaret Humphrey's uncovered material that would lead to the exposure of the British child migration scheme that saw some 7000 children sent to Australian children's homes, institutions, orphanages or foster care, many of whom were lied to and experienced neglect and abuse while in institutional care.

The film focuses on the first few years of Margaret's discovery of child migration to the setup of the child migrants trust and the continued work and commitment she displayed despite the cost to her personal health and the time away from her family.

As usual with films of this nature, I am not sure how much of the drama is artistic license or based in fact and I am not sure how much of a hand the real Margaret Humphrey's or any of the former children may have had in the production of the film. With that said, the film is remarkably restrained in its telling of a situation that could very easily have been over-dramatised and instead lets the story and characters speak for themselves.

There are some very impressive performances from all involved. Emily Watson truly carries the weight of the pain and suffering she hears about and the psychical change is quite visible as the film progresses. Hugo Weaving and David Wenham give two very different performances both revealing how each of their characters has dealt with what has happened to them over the years and the way in which they deal with that on a day to day basis.

For a first time director Jim Loach has clearly learnt a lot from his father Ken and his next project will certainly be one to look forward to.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Film Central & How B Grade Movies Saved (or Ruined) My Life

As if I didn't already watch enough films during the week (Clearly you can never watch too many), I have just joined the ranks of Film Central on Edge Radio 99.3FM here in Hobart! Basically I will now be reviewing more mainstream fare as well as the regular B-Grade Movie updates. You will find my reviews both here and on the Film Central blog (and obviously by tuning in at 5pm on Tuesday evening!)

Speaking of radio shows though...

Episode 91 - Actor Special: Arnold Schwarzenegger
This week Matt and I review movies by The Govenator himself from his Conan origins to his awful comedies and everything in between!

Challenges were:

Matthew: Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Steven: End of Days (1999)

Episode 92 - Actor Special: Jean-Claude Van Damme
Next cab off the rank in our Actor specials is the muscles from Brussels, star of many a B grade action flick (some of them are even quite good!). Jean-Claude Van Damme recently escaped his stereotype by starring in JCVD, but we will be talking about his entire *ahem* range of movies.

Challenges were:

Matthew: Hard Target (1993)

Steven: Replicant (2001)

As usual you can find, listen or download all of our past episodes over at B Grade Movies Online! You can also hear us live on 99.3FM in Hobart or streaming live at Edge Radio at 10pm AEST every Sunday evening!

If you like us, why not join us on Facebook, we are generally stuffing around on the book of face whilst we do the show.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oceans (2009)

Disney Nature presents a documentary by French filmmakers Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud with narration by Pierce Brosnan. Ocean's starts by asking the question "What exactly is the Ocean?" to those who aren't familiar with it, it is apparently something you cannot find out about it in a book and must therefore see it for yourself. Well, watching a documentary about it does not exactly mean you have seen it for yourself either. The film is a complete mish mash of various marine life, facts and anthropomorphism which is becoming all too common in documentary films of late. The sad thing is, the film has some incredible footage and could quite possibly have been one of the better documentaries made in recent years! It is let down by an inconsistent storytelling technique that lacks conviction in the message it is trying to send and quite frankly an awful commentary by Pierce Brosnan.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

X-Men: First Class (2011)

So the first of the "BIG" summer movies has hit our wintery shores. X-Men: First Class promises to give us all the low down on the origins of our favourite band of mutants, what it does instead is alter our past and provide a decent set of actors the opportunity to "Act" the part (see the pictures above and below).

Set at the beginning of the Cuban missile crisis in the early 60's, our young Professor X and his good pal Magneto set about collecting mutants for the CIA to help stop Kevin Bacon from starting World War 3 in his attempt to wipe out the human race. Oh and Kevin Bacon is a mutant too (who knew?)

If the film had spent far less time providing fan service and self referencing the previous films and more time on focusing on the actual stories behind the mutants, which lets be honest, is the only reason you go to see an X-Men movie, this could have been quite a contender. Instead it is an overly long, overly loud and overly convoluted comic book movie that puts otherwise good talent to waste. Still, it is not as bad as X-Men 3.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Julia's Eyes (2010)

From producer Guillermo Del Toro and first time feature film director Guillem Morales comes a new Spanish thriller in a similar vein of 2007's The Orphange. Starring Belén Rueda and Lluís Homar the film follows the journey of Julia, who has just been devastated by the suicide of her twin sister Sara seemingly as a result of her inability to cope with a debilitating genetic disease that leads to permanent blindness. A disease that will eventually inflict itself on Julia. Not believing for a second that her sister would commit suicide, Julia and her husband Isaac set out to investigate Sara's death and in the process discover some secrets that may have been better left alone.

The film is striking to look at with some very impressive use of close up shots and odd camera angles, the colour palette is mostly dark and foreboding giving the images a constant claustrophobic tension that, as the movie progresses, emulate Julia's loss of sight with the use of blurred or seemingly insignificant focal shots and occasionally complete darkness. The sound design is immersive and atmospheric and it is good to see that a film which could have leant itself to many a cheap "loud noise" scare, for the most part avoids doing so. As Julia's sight worsens the sound design really kicks in, giving the audience the opportunity to experience her heightened auditory perception and of course ramping up the tension.

Sadly though, the film is not without flaws and regrettably the biggest flaw is the story itself. Lacking conviction in the journey Julia is making, the audience finds itself subjected to exposition that we are already aware of or worse repetition. This actually made me feel as though the film had been deliberately dumbed down for a "western audience", still this is not a Hollywood feature and even if it is a little predictable, there is enough originality in the film to reward the most discerning viewer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Goodies & Things from the collection

Here is the latest round up of aquisitions added to the ever growing collection:

Sleepy Hollow (UK): Whilst not the best transfer and certainly not the best release for extras, it does at least present the film with a much better presentation than any previous efforts.

The Orphanage (UK): Basically a reference disc all around - you can read me review of this very disc here.

Goldfinger & Thunderball: Finally managed to pick these 2 up for a steal... now they just need to release You Only Live Twice and I will be a happy camper!

Donnie Darko - I am just going to pretend that this only features the theatrical (or original as the disc suggests) version and say the 2nd disc is just extras. Great film and a fairly solid presentation.

A little while ago I also stumbled upon this fellow:

All your monies is belong to me!!

He has replaced my Stiggy Bank (well, the Stig is not exactly what he used to be) with pride place on my whatsits shelf (you know, one of those shelves that houses things you have nowhere else to put!)