Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Rating PG
Length 2h07
Release 16.7.2004
Director Sam Raimi
About Peter Parker is dissatisfied with life when he loses his job, the love of his life, Mary Jane, and his powers. Amid all the chaos, he must fight Doctor Octavius who threatens to destroy New York City.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Now TV

The Good

  • The visual style is much improved and it’s a lot less ‘primary colours in your face) and is much closer in tone to the X-Men films of the same era.
  • I love Doc Ock and his origin story. What does suck is the fact that in all of Maguire’s outings, the villain dies often after becoming aware of what they’ve done and the monster they’ve become.
    I mention this because Alfred Molina is so good, I’m sorry to see him go. Molina, much like Dafoe before him, is able to take on the duality of the role and provide depth as well as a little ham.
  • I really love the arms of Doc Ock. They have that personality quality to a Disney familiar. Each one seems to take on its own characteristics and its quite awesome to watch.
  • Aunt May! Oh, I do love this Aunt May. Yes, it is a likeable character (there isn’t an Aunt May I don’t like), but Rosemary Harris is just … She’s adorable.

The Bad

  • Tobey Maguire cannot cry. Oh god, it just makes me cringe so much.
  • I mentioned this for the first film, but for fuck’s sake does Kirsten have to scream so god damn much?!
  • I hate the plot point of Peter wanting to stay away from MJ to ‘keep her safe’ when both MJ and his Aunt May are both in danger in both films without anyone knowing Spider-Man and Peter Parker are one in the same. It’s shit, and boring, and either Maguire cannot act, or he’s playing Parker like *he* cannot act. Either way, no one, literally NO ONE, is buying it.

The Ugly

  • I don’t like how the character of Peter Parker has been reset in this film. He’s back to being pre-bite doofus and it really doesn’t help strengthen the character or the story arc at all.
  • Spider-Man having performance issues?! I get that this seems to be a common fear of men, but do we really need it constantly projected onto our superheroes to massage the ego of the toxic masses?! (Not aimed at all men dearies)

Final Thoughts

In some ways, a much better film. However, its still not brilliant. I hate saying this because I love Raimi. I love that he’s someone who grew up making movies on a Super8 and fell in love with telling stories. I also know that he loves superheroes and comics, but this just isn’t an enjoyable watch.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) Halloween Advent

Rating 15
Length 1h39
Release 9.4.2004
Director Edgar Wright
About Shaun is a salesman whose life has no direction. However, his uneventful life takes a sudden turn when he has to singlehandedly deal with an entire community of zombies.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix


  • The biggest thing for me is the lack of a Bond actor. It’s a really stupid complaint given how little money this film was made on, but with both Hot Fuzz and World’s End both prominently starring a Bond, it just would have been a brilliant touch.


  • Where do I start? I must admit that the first time I watched this movie, I wasn’t too enamoured. That said, I hadn’t watched too many zombie films at that point, so I couldn’t appreciate the homage. It’s all there; from camera angles to lines, it is a love letter to the zombie sub-genre.
  • The cast is spot on. Simon Pegg as the lead, Nick Frost as his best mate. Everyone who supports. Stunning! This film wouldn’t be the same without any of the people involved.
  • There’s so many sequences that really just… work. The record tossing in order to kill the invaders in their garden is genius and I love the ‘action’ sequence to Queen with the follow up of Your My Best Friend leadingus out to the credits.

Final Thoughts

I love this film. Not as much as I love Hot Fuzz, but this is what a spoof should be. Not the Scary Movie type.

Blades of Glory (2007)

Rating 12A
Length 1hr 33
Release 6.4.2007
Director Josh Gordon and Will Speck
About After being stripped of their medals and banned from single-men events, two Olympics ice skaters decide to team up and compete as an all-male pair.

The Good

Pam!!! Seriously, I love that The Office’s Jenna Fischer is in this. She’s perfect as the sister, Katie.
I’m still on the fence about whether this film is trying to be super progressive or super offensive, however I do like the idea of the same-sex partners on the ice being done with sincerity.

The Bad
What’s worse than a Will Farrell movie where Will Farrell is doing his shouty shouty ‘I’m so funny routine’? When Will Farrell joins forces with Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder.
It really isn’t as funny as it thinks it is. Farrell is trying way too hard and it shows. Painfully.

The Ugly
The bathroom scene is vile! The only other film that’s gotten me as close to physically vomiting like this one has is whichever Saw movie has the people drown in a vat of rotting pigs.
Incest is never funny, even if the siblings are played by a married couple. No! Just no! Gross.

Final Thoughts

It just isn’t as funny as I remember and I’m struggling to see what I ever would have found good about it.

Thunderbirds (2004)

Rating: PG
Length: 1hr 35
Release: 23.7.2004
Director: Jonathan Frakes
About: When young Alan Tracy’s entire family is trapped by an evil being, the Hood, it is up to him and his friends to come to their rescue.

First Thoughts

Summer 2004 was one of the best summers; me and my best friend in the world had gotten into a routine of going the cinema once a week and summer 2004 was peak cinema going; Woolworths was still open for pick and mix, London Road still homed the Liverpool Odeon and tickets were still cheap.
It was just me and him and he never once complained about my ‘my spot’ eccentricity. However, Thunderbirds marked the one and only time we let someone join us.

The Good

  • The wonderful Ron Cook steals every scene he’s in as the beloved Parker. He’s the benchmark for what the film should have been. His tone and humour hit the right notes; from the sarcasm to the near car crash cheer for the football win.

The Bad

  • It’s too CGI glossy, which unfortunately hasn’t aged well. It’s not the only film from this time like this. There’s no depth or shadow on the integrated image so it sticks out like a sore thumb.
  • The Tracey brothers lacked any individuality, charisma or character. We’re not given any time with them, that’s true. However, with careful film work and scripting, it was possible.
  • Lady Penelope is… problematic. We’re introduced to her with a seductive “hello boys.” to a room full of boys who will undoubtedly add her to their spank bank. The gratuitous child-friendly dip in the tub is followed by a boob grope to retrieve a bone, which alone is fine. However, the reaction of the room would make it seem she used her bare-breasted nipple to open the door. To add insult to injury, we’re treated to a “I didn’t need it anyway.” nod and wink.
  • The usual issues with filming in London; the Bank of London is not the Bank of London, travel in one direction but end in a location that baffles. Oh and then there’s a random monorail because even with all the fucking bridges across the Thames, you need another way.

The Ugly

  • Where to start?! This film is so problematic on all fronts and most revolving the representation of people within the film.
  • There’s very few people of colour in this movie. Four, actually. One, plays a stereotypical bad guy and the other three are a family of hired help for the Tracey family.
  • Ben Kingsley once again wins the award for cultural appropriation. This time Kingsley channels Yul Brenner and hams up the oriental wizardry with a swish of his kimono.
  • However, you’ll be forgiven for still rooting for Kingsley’s over-acted The Hood because the lead we’re meant to connect with, teen Tracey, well he’s a bit of a twat. That’s putting it lightly. His toxic masculinity fuels his early-noughties angst that will have you tearing your hair out. Oh and the little shit at his most twatish thinks its okay to mimic his best friend’s inherited stutter.
  • Rose Keegan perhaps is given the worst treatment possible as hench-woman Transom. From her introduction, i’m on edge. There’s the ‘she’s sexy’ close-up of her animal printed arse, followed by the camera physically pulling back to mirror the man’s ‘disappointment’ that she doesn’t have the socially ‘hot’ face. Fuck you Thunderbirds. Simultaniously objectifying her and making her a focus of repulsion?! Not okay.

Final Thoughts

Not the colourful but boring film I remember but a complete hot mess of offence. I’d love to say I’ll never watch it again, but I am pretty certain I said that to Michael as we left the cinema.

The Hollow (2004)

Rating: 15

Length: 1Hr 23

Release: 25.10.2004

About: The presence of Ichabod Crane’s descendant (Kevin Zegers) in Sleepy Hollow conjures the Headless Horseman, and slaughter ensues.

The Good

  • Kaley couco is a decent watch. While watching this I felt she was a little reminiscent of SMG in the early years of Buffy. I’d say she’d have been even better, had she been given a little more to work with.
  • It’s an alright plot and is certainly a good idea for an updated Sleepy Hollow without Ichabod being Steve Rogered into the modern age.
  • The death scene of the second couple is hilarious. Illogical, but oh so funny.
  • It’s a short movie, so while the bad and ugly might outweigh the good, you won’t be in celluloid hell for long.

The Bad

  • The character of Ian makes no sense. He has the vibe of Max from Hocus Pocus and I do don’t buy him commanding an audience within the month of arriving in town. I also don’t get why Brady has it out for the coach’s son?! That relationship would have worked well if they flipped it, made them friends but had that conflict of them both liking the same girl.

The Ugly

  • Guys, Game of Thrones has nothing on this! Even in the day time scenes it’s dark, dark, dark. I suspect it was to hide the fact it had a very little budget.
  • The sound mixing was atrocious. At its most basic, the score was too loud and the audio low and tinny. However, when you then consider the sound effects it’s simply lazy and wrong; a sound more frequently associated with a stab rather than a swipe.

Movie Review: Raising Helen (2004)

That’s right. Shoe-tying is tough. Why do you think Jesus wore sandals?

Length: 1Hr 59
Rating: PG
About: Single and self-involved, Helen Harris (Kate Hudson) has a thriving fashion career and a lavish lifestyle in New York City. Helen is shocked to hear that her sister and brother-in-law have died in an accident, and alarmed that they have named her the guardian of their three kids (Hayden Panettiere, Spencer Breslin, Abigail Breslin). As the children struggle with the change, Helen has to decide whether she’ll cling to her old ways or come to terms with her new family role.

The Good

  • It’s an upbeat alternative to Beaches with an Uncle Buck vibe to it. Kate Hudson and John Corbett are beautiful leads. I’m not sure why I avoided Hudson’s films when they were being released; I certainly missed out.
  • It’s crazy to watch this film 15 years after the fact and see the young faces of the three orphaned siblings; while I’ve not caught Spencer Breslin in much since the early thousands, Hayden Panettiere has very rarely left the screen and Abigail Breslin was most recently seen alongside other child stars in Scream Queens.
  • It has a happy enough ending. What more do you want from this romantic comedy that has cameos from the director’s stable.

The Bad

  • This film is coming at the end of the romantic comedy roll out. As a result, it feels a little cliqued and tired. It’s a paint-by-number plot with very little variation.
  • As much as I love both Hudson and Corbett’s characters and their individual delivery, there’s zero chemistry and it really shows.

The Ugly

  • It’s a personal thing, but why have someone as amazing as Felicity Huffman cast to not use her fully. Man, I am gutted that she’s the sister that died.
  • Joe Mazzello was not in nearly enough to justify me watching this. One scene and then zip, nothing.

Final Thoughts

This really isn’t one of Gary Marshall’s best offerings and even playing “Whose from his acting stable?” Was enough to rescue this film and make it one that i’d watch again.

Love Han x

Christmas Film Advent- The Polar Express (2004)

This bell is a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas – as am I. Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.

Length: 1 Hr 40

Rating: U

About: Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”; “Cast Away”) reunite for “Polar Express,” an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

Nice List

  • It’s a wholesome story that has many layers; the journey is physical, philosophical and spiritual. What child at heart wouldn’t want to spend Christmas Eve onboard a steam train going to see Santa?
  • The protagonist’s journey from sceptic to believer is quite beautiful. He’s a logical child and the beginning shows him using his intellect to collect information so it’s understandable that he questions Santa’s existence. Following his journey and watching him experiencing the magic of Christmas is heartwarming.
  • The film has diversity without feeling forced; yes, the young boy is who we start and end with but it can be argued that the young girl makes up part of the ensemble. While it had the feeling of being set in the 50s, choosing not to root it in an era allows the film to focus on the spirit of Christmas without bogging itself down in social politics. Which makes a nice change.
  • The music is something that keeps the film progressing and much more of a traditional score that fits Zemeckis’ catalogue of films.

Naughty List

  • The animation style is just not for me. It comes across more as computer game play, especially in those scenes that look like the characters are on theme park rides; something which is done one too many times for my liking.
  • The stereotype of the Know-it-all Kid is like fingers on a chalkboard. So overkill annoying that I spent the film wanting to beat the shit out of him.
  • I’m not sold on the casting of Tom Hanks. He’s the modern answer to Jimmy Stewart and I’m not sold on him as the impatient and cranky train attendant. He’s perfect when insightful and kind, but anything else is just lost on me. This is one where I think Jim Carrey would be perfect for the role.
  • It feels way too long. Once the film had finished I was certain it had been on for a little over two hours. This could be due to certain scenes being style over substance.
  • The thing about trains… it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.” There’s just so much wrong with this statement! So, so, wrong. I’ve gotten on a train before and not paid attention to where it was going. It buggered up my day royally.

Final Thoughts

This film is not for me. I can’t get past the animation that pulls me out of the story. I’m sure there is an audience for it, and my nephew’s love of trains will see it part of my regular viewing for years to come.

Christmas Film Advent- Surviving Christmas (2004)

“Some things cannot be unseen.”

Length: 1 hr 31
Age: 12
About: A wealthy executive, Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) has no close relationships and becomes nostalgic for his childhood home as Christmas approaches. When he visits the house and finds another family living there, he offers the residents, Tom Valco (James Gandolfini) and his wife, Christine (Catherine O’Hara), a large sum of money to pretend they are his parents. Soon Drew tests the couple’s patience, and, when their daughter, Alicia (Christina Applegate), arrives, things get increasingly tense.

The Naughty List

  • Little heavy on the incest and porn jokes. Which is funny, for the first one or five. For such an uplifting film, it just seems unnecessary to lay it on so thick. Either it needs to be toned down, or diversely amped up in order to earn a 15 rating.
  • Thank god Jennifer Morrison realised these dipstick princess were not how she wanted to spend her acting career and landed two plump roles on prime time TV. She’s just not believable as the pampered Legally Blonde wannabe and is nothing more than fingernails on a blackboard the entire time she’s on screen.

The Nice List

  • James Gandolfini is a grumpy delight in this comedy. He’s the perfect chalk to Ben Affleck’s cheese. He’s downright perfect and, in all honesty, I’d happily have had more of him in the film.
  • Catherine O’Hara is the Queen of Christmas. I couldn’t think of anyone better in the role of the mother. She is able to roll with the unusual scenario and sass everyone while doing so.
  •  The plot has a heart underneath its strangeness. At the root of the plot is family and while playing pretend, something real came home. Working with what could perhaps be considered a clique, Surviving Christmas manages to make something new and charming. Even with Ben Affleck circa twat in the lead.
  • Its really funny and the chuckles don’t come from the ruder portions of the film. 

Checking it Twice

I’m still not sold on Ben Affleck in the lead. He works well with the cast and there’s a nice chemistry with Christina Applegate, however I want to punch him in the face most of the time he’s on the screen. I think I would have enjoyed it better had someone like Adam Sandler or Jason Bateman. That said, Affleck handles the heartfelt reveal really well and does show potential that’ll recognised fully in 2012 with an Oscar nod for his role in Argo.

Final Thoughts

It’s a fun film that is a little flawed, but will always be charming enough to stay on the festive watch list.

Han x