Prom Night (2008) Halloween Advent

Rating 15
Length 1h30
Release 6.6.2008
Director Nelson McCormick
About Donna’s senior prom is supposed to be the best night of her life, but a sadistic killer from her past has different plans for her and her friends.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix
Trailer:

Trick

  • The story is lacking, so much. It’s economical in how it tells the story, but I’m left feeling a bit underwhelmed as a result.
    My biggest issue with this is the film’s killer. Idris Elba’s Winn mentions that the jury felt he was insane and so didn’t opt for the death penalty. With what’s presented, I can see why. There really needed to be a little more to the prologue to show how it escalated to the point that it did; what was their relationship like? I understand throwing us in at the point they did was a creative choice, but I want to be in the position Winn is and know that he’s a bad guy, that he wasn’t just insane. The way its presented, it’s almost as if there’s another film preceding this. 
  • Plot choices. Like, seriously, you’re going to have Winn pull the fire alarm and still have the lifts in action? It’s stupid that I’m annoyed, but everyone knows that is what happens to lifts. Hell, you could have had the killer on the lift with one of the friends and it be at the point that the alarm is pulled, she realises who he is. It could also be that the lift doors had only just closed, so there’s not questioning how he got out.
    Oh, and the dream fake-out to only go and have her do the exact same thing when she’s awake. The girl has been through a traumatic experience. Don’t know about anyone else, but I’m sure as shit getting that boyfriend to come with me.

Treat

  • Idris Elba. Damn it, this man could be in the world’s worst film and I would still watch. Beautiful, smart and someone you would absolutely want on your side if a mad man was after you.
  • Brittany Snow really holds her own as the lead, and final girl. She is one of a few actors that stop this being a complete loss of a film. 

Final Thoughts

Great concept, boiled down to a mindless slasher. It’s a one watch wonder that really should be better.

The Bank Job (2008)

Rating 15
Length 1h 51
Release 28.2.2008
Director Roger Donaldson
About Martine approaches Terry, a car salesman who faces serious financial issues, to form a gang and rob a bank. However, things are not as easy as they seem.


The Good

  • It’s a heist movie and checks all the boxes. There’s double crosses, bumbling coppers and scandals a plenty.
  • It’s based on true events. There’s something rather exciting about the web of scandal and corruption in the UK. Okay, names aren’t mentioned in all cases, but you can work it out.
  • There’s a pretty decent cast involved. Jason Statham, Daniel Mays and Stephen Campbell Moore all bring there A game and Saffron Burrows isn’t as annoying as she usually is.
  • The Music is a pretty decent selection of 1970s tracks.

The Bad

  • There’s so much nudity. Like from the second it starts. I’m not a prude, but I do hate gratuitous nudity. I will say, though, gratuity in this film is subjective I guess, given the content of the security boxes.
    I just felt it was ‘hey, we’ve got to have one set of tits out, so we might as well have twenty’, and I just wanted to get to the heist.

The Ugly

  • It’s a rather complex plot as there are so many people involved. Even breaking it down to the three key groups; authority, villains and Michael X is head scratching and over simplified. If you don’t engage from the first moment, you can quite easily get muddled.

Final Thoughts

It was an alright movie, but if you want a decent London bank heist where some of the people got away with the goods, check out King of Thieves.

X Files – I Want to Believe (2008)

Rating 15
Length 1h 44
Release 1.8.2008
Director Chris Carter
About Though FBI special agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and his partner Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) once chased things that go bump in the night, his tireless search for the truth out there has led to his professional exile. However, a missing-persons case leads to the agents’ reunion, along with an encounter with a priest (Billy Connolly) who may or may not be experiencing psychic visions.


First Things First

Right now, I’m sat kicking myself for not seeing this in the cinema. I worked there, for Mulder’s sake. I actually have a vivid memory. An almost ‘Sliding Doors’ moment in which I was done for the evening and the last showing of the day was about to begin. I passed up on the opportunity.
Now, it’s at this point I should clarify, I was possibly one of the strangest ‘fans’. I was such a fan that I wore a Mulder and Scully watch for at least 4 years, even though I’d probably only seen a handful of episodes.
Yeah, I was 8 years old when Scully was sent to spy on Mulder, so I was only allowed to press record on the VCR and watch up until that distinctive theme song. It wasn’t until 1996 or so when it had moved to Saturday nights, that I saw my first full episode. Can you imagine it; being banned from watching the show, but being bought the merch by the same parent?! Then again, this was the same person who, without fail, would buy me a board game every Christmas and refuse to play it with me. Go figure.
Much like a lot of my teens fandoms; Buffy, Star Trek and Angel… I fell a little out of love with X Files. I’d not taken it upon myself to do a rewatch (or a first watch) and I just felt very disengaged in 2008.
However, it’s now 2021. I’ve spent the last few months watching all 9 seasons, and one movie, leading up to this one. I’d been dreading it, I won’t lie.

The Good

  • It’s X Files. Even with its flaws, I’m in. You’re giving me Mulder and Scully. You’re in theory giving me together Mulder and Scully. What’s not to love. It certainly has its moments that will have any fan happy. When they’re together on screen, its frigging awesome.
  • It’s a story that is that perfect middle ground. It’s the supernatural rather than the mythology that, at times, bogged the show down. I love the alien shit, but I think the fatal flaw of the franchise is that it wavered too much on that line of ‘are the aliens real?’. At least this keeps it conspiracy lite. Well, except for the priest with a taste for choir boys.
  • Speaking of the whole pedophilia subplot. It was a powerful thing to address considering this would have still been a rather raw subject, for American viewers in particular. The Boston sex abuse scandal was only exposed in 2002. I’m sure Carter was trying to say something profound about this dirty secret of the Catholic Church. I’m not sure it works completely, but damn I’m still impressed he tried.
  • The editing in the opening was excellent. It was unsettling and lacking context, but it worked. It was something very different to what we’ve come to expect of X Files and it really got my attention.
  • Billy Connolly, while giving me the creeps, was a delight to see on screen. Rather strange to see him without his beard, but given his character I was glad of that disassociation.

The Bad

  • I struggled with Scully’s B-Plot storyline. It felt a little too contrived and almost a plot device hiding in plain sight. The film needed a bit of a change in editing (Like, don’t give me shifty looks to the Father, when the other one was a convicted pedophile, and not give me a resolution to that either way). It’s a shame, because when Gillian Anderson’s scenes worked, it was powerful.
  • This is the ‘ship that coined the term ‘shipping’. So why the fuck does the film play them off against each other for most of the movie?! Why, after EVERYTHING Scully has seen, is she still a skeptic? Both the relationship, and Scully herself are completely devolved to fit the narrative. It does all fans a disservice.
  • Our new Mulder/Scully, Dogget/Reyes. I don’t get them and they’re booted out of the script halfway through. While I adore Amanda Peet and she does an amazing job, put Agent Monica Reyes in that role and it blows the whole thing open and adds investment.
    Then there’s Xzibit as Agent Drummy as the overly-aggressive skeptic. The biggest problem being that there’s no chemistry between him and Mulder…. so he just ends up shouting.

The Ugly

  • That fucking beard! What the fuck, man?! I get that the film was trying to show that Mulder was not the same, but did we really need him to wear such a bad joke-shop stick-on beard?! It was cheap, it was tacky and it lasted so much of the movie.

Final Thoughts

There are worse episodes that feel way longer than this outing. It is flawed and I did shout “Oh, fuck off Scully.” At the tv screen. Something I’ve not done since mid-series 3.
As much as this was made as a stand alone to bring in the uninitiated, I doubt the franchise would gain any fans from watching this first.

Bolt (2008)

Rating: PG
Length: 1h 36
Release: 6.2.2009
Dir: Byron Howard & Chris Williams
About: Bolt is a dog who stars in a superhit television show in which he possesses superpowers. However, things change when he believes his powers are real and embarks on a purposeful mission.


The Good

  • Rhino! Who doesn’t love that crazy bastard in the ball. He’s a maniac, he’s outrageously deluded and I am here for it. He has some of the best moments in the film and provides some of the biggest laughs.
  • The plot is quite savvy. It’s essentially Planes Trains and Automobiles meets Galaxy Quest with the cast of Homeward Bound. What is not to love about that elevator pitch?!
  • The relationship between Bolt and Mittens will win your heart. Bolt has you from the very start as he’s a Disney puppy. That’s like cinematic kryptonite for the audience. Then you are introduced to a street cat who is not all she seems. It’s the age old buddy pairing in which they’re chalk and cheese, but they learn to get along.
  • I do feel like John Travolta was a unconventional choice to voice Bolt given it could be argued at the time he didn’t have the box office pull he once did and doesn’t have an overly distinctive voice either. However his voice does work for Bolt. He has charm, innocence and, when required, authority.

The Bad

  • It’s a bit unclear from the opening act as to whether Bolt was picked to be part of the film, or if Penny picked him as a family pet and then they were both picked up. It’s not something that really matters, but I’m curious.
  • Penny gives up way too quickly when the dick PR guy brings her the replacement dog. She put more effort into trying to get Bolt home for the weekend than the rescue.
  • Some of the visuals, mainly the backgrounds that are trying to have dept of field, haven’t aged too well. Not too much of a problem, but it certainly not long has the ‘state-of-the-art’ feeling to it.

The Ugly

  • The subtext within this film is really dark. In my early 20s it went over my head, so little ones should be okay, but Mittens and Bolt are both victims of animal cruelty. Watching it this time, I really struggled with the fact that the plot does come at the expense of Bolt’s abuse at the hands of the tv network.

Final Thoughts

I love this movie. It has so many ‘I love this bit’ moments and the script really makes you chuckle.

MCU Retrospective: Incredible Hulk (2008)


Length: 2Hr 15
Rating: 12
About: Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately seeks a cure for the gamma radiation that contaminated his cells and turned him into The Hulk. Cut off from his true love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and forced to hide from his nemesis, Gen. Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), Banner soon comes face-to-face with a new threat: a supremely powerful enemy known as The Abomination (Tim Roth).

The Good

  • Ed Norton, upon reflection, was quite a good Bruce Banner. He brings the angst and turns it into a fine art; guilt, longing and regret are high and it gives you all the feels. While he’s not as good as Mark Ruffalo’s Assemble/Ulton Banner, he’s much better than the clusterfuck that is Infinity War. Norton’s strength comes from him being able to show how much of a toll the change takes on his physical self; something I feel has been shelved in Phases 2 and 3.
  • I love how the film ends; yes it feels like he hasn’t made any progress by being back on the run, but I love that he seems much more at peace with himself; that smile and green tinged eyes say it all.
  • We get that Tony Stark sting. It doesn’t fit for me with what I know of SHIELD and what’s to come. That said, its Rob D J! I’m not going to sniff at that.
  • EASTER EGG!!! We get Stan Lee (Obviously), but the geek touch that adds to this is having Lou Ferrigno in a small cameo.
  • Liv Tyler is a brilliant addition to the film as Betty Ross which makes me feel like a traitor as I loved Jennifer Connolly in the original. Tyler makes the character her own, brings an element of ‘bad ass’ Connolly’s version lacked and I had a chuckle at her freak out that is reminiscent of the melt down she has in Empire Records .

The Bad

  • Tim Roth makes for an excellent anti-hero, and I welcome his presence for *most* of the movie. Unfortunately, he makes for a piss poor villain. More on this later.
  • Well, General Ross is beyond a dick and I really hate that there’s no resolution of the character. He isn’t redeemed, he isn’t completely vilified. By the end of the movie he’s asked to join Stark on a SHIELD project. This would all be fine if there was a payoff in a later movie, but there’s not. I’m just so frustrated.
  • The story is decent enough; there’s the McGuffin of Mr Blue and Banner’s desire for a cure. However, the execution feels a little too “been there, done that” when it comes to the villain, especially after watching Iron Man directly before it. Again, I’ll come back to this in a moment.

The Ugly

  • I really didn’t like Bruce Banner testing the size of a pair of pants on the backside of a larger lady. Not cool, Banner, not cool!
  • Abomination! Its an ironically apt name. As I said before, Tim Roth is a good choice and a brilliant anti-hero, but Abomination is a CGI nightmare. Riffing Iron Man’s final act; it’s the ‘bigger, scarier, more teeth’ version of the Hulk.
  • Emil Blonsky is set up as loyal military man so I just don’t understand why he goes against General Ross so quickly. When he becomes Abomination, he retains his thoughts and understanding (or at least that’s what is implied) so he is exactly what Ross wanted. So why on earth does he go on a rampage. Hulk has more motive to attack General Ross. I also don’t understand his motivation for attacking Hulk. Yes, before he doesn’t like what Hulk represents, but as Abomination they’re fucking brothers.
  • There’s no explanation of what modifications have taken place for Abomination to be so different. Why is he talking and why is the voice so shit?! And why, oh why, is it only Banner who takes responsibility for the actions that led to the existence of Abomination?!

Final Thoughts

Ed Norton isn’t too shabby as Bruce Banner, but on the whole it really isn’t the best installment in the MC universe.

Love Han x

Marvelous Movie Reviews: Iron Man (2008)

“Let’s face it, this is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.”

Tony Stark

Release: 8 May 2008
Rating: 12
Length: 2Hr 6min
About: A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him to force him to build a devastating weapon. Instead, he builds an armored suit and upends his captors. Returning to America, Stark refines the suit and uses it to combat crime and terrorism.

First Thought

I was VERY hungover when I first ever watched this film. I missed a lot as I dipped in and out of sleep. Up until watching it to review the film for this new series, I considered it a rather disjointed mess of a film that I never wanted to see again. It didn’t help that each time I’ve watched it since has been because its been found on TV mid film.
I actually wasn’t looking forward to this watch and I’ve put it off all month.

The Good

  • While my poisoned brain did not appreciate the way this film opened, I loved it this viewing. Being thrown into the action can seem a little disorientating and certainly not something done often in cinema, but it’s a device used in many tv shows to great effect. Here it gives you a snap shot of who Tony Stark is, before finding out how he got himself into the situation.
  • It’s an economically told origin story. When I compare this to others, it would have been easy for the first 40 minutes to be stretched to the full 2 hours, leaving the remainder of the plot to a sequel movie. I’m so glad that didn’t happen.
  • The relationship between Stark and Yinsen is something I slept through the first time, and it’s the strength of the movie. It gives Stark his motivation to become ‘Iron Man’ and change the mission statement of Stark Industries. It’s sincere and emotive; I only wish there was a look back to him at some point. Perhaps there is and I missed it; this rewatch will answer that.
  • What a good bad guy. It’s the one thing I don’t think Marvel gets quite right in subsequent movies. No long-winded explanation as to why, no sob story to make him an anti-hero. Just pure greed. The moment in which Jeff Bridge’s Obadiah renders Stark vulnerable is really chilling and the most sinister scene of the whole franchise.

The Bad

  • It really bugs me that Yinsen lists off all the languages that The Ten Rings speak and the one they don’t, is English. Surly if your main aim is to hold a demographic to ransom, you learn to communicate with them. However, I do like the fact that the film gives us Yinsen to translate and eliminate the need for subtitles.
  • Not sure if it’s because I’m so used to his replacement, but I’m not a fan of Terrence Howard. He doesn’t seem to gel with the rest of the cast and his scenes with RDJnr fall a little flat for me.
  • While the CGI of the suit and its construction is some of the best in the franchise, I found the CGI during the ultimate showdown a little old and ropy.

The Ugly

  • Watching it now, it makes me realise that the franchise started on such a high. It set a tone and standard that I fear I am going to watch slowly degrade as I go through my re-watch.
  • There’s not enough Happy Hogan. I’m sure directing was time consuming and explains Jon Favreau’s presence being reduced to nothing more than a cameo, but I’m certainly looking forward to him having more screen time in later films.

Final Thoughts

I’m glad I gave the film a second chance. I’ve really been missing out with not giving this installment my full attention. Perhaps I would have been Team Stark outright when it came to Civil War had I really, properly, watched Stark’s humbling journey.

Next week in Phase One of the MCU rewatch is 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, which sees Edward Norton taking up the mantel of the Toxic Avenger.

Have a Marvelous week.
Love Han x