Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Angel: I Will Remember You (1999, TV)

Episode 8 of season 1 of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer spin-off Angel is one of the best pieces of television I've ever seen! Having watched the show when it was originally broadcast on Channel Four in 1999, it's been a good 10 years since I last saw this episode.

The Background Story For all of you who haven't watched Buffy/Angel before: Buffy is the 'chosen one', the only vampire slayer in the world and Angel is a vampire with a soul, burdened with the guilt and regret of massacring thousands of humans throughout his long life. As an attempt to put things right, he helps Buffy fight the forces of evil... and they fall in love as only star-crossed lovers can. They spend one night together which results in his curse of having a soul being broken. He reverts to his prior blood-thirsty, arrogant, killer vampire persona and proceeds to threaten Buffy and her friends and tries to release a demon from his cage who will swallow the world. Buffy has the impossible job of killing the man she loves, made worse by the fact his soul is returned the moment before she has to kill him... He gets sent to a demon hell world but eventually returns, recovers and by the end of series 3 of Buffy, has realised that although he and Buffy will always love each other deeply, they can never be together.

So the plot of this Angel episode is as follows: Angel has just returned from Sunnydale. After hearing Buffy might be in danger, he went to help her, but decided not to tell her this as it makes it harder for the both of them to move on. Buffy appears at his detective agency, angry that he didn't tell her he was in Sunnydale. They get attacked by a demon and chase it through the streets. As Angel fights it, he cuts his hand and then manages to stab it, getting it's luminous green blood into his wound at the same time. The demon is dead but the blood has a miraculous healing property - IT MAKES ANGEL HUMAN! He returns to the agency and tells Doyle and Cordelia of the news(eating everything he can from the fridge as he hasn't eaten any food for a good hundred years) and can't believe his luck. So Doyle suggests asking the Oracles, wise, powerful demons, whether they can explain everything. They confirm he is human so he goes to do the one thing he wants most... Be with Buffy! They have the perfect day together - Buffy says how nice it is to feel normal, lying in bed eating chocolate with her human boyfriend. But Angel hears the demon he 'killed' earlier isn't dead so goes out to finish the job leaving Buffy peacefully sleeping. However, now he is human, he's a lot weaker and gets beaten badly by the demon. He is only saved when Buffy turns up and kills the demon. Realising he isn't strong enough to protect Buffy (or anyone else) he returns to the Oracles and asks them to take make his mortality so he can be strong again and help fight evil. Only after they agree does he tell Buffy. She is heartbroken. Although deep down, she realises he is being noble and is doing it for the right reasons, it's another situation where Buffy must sacrifice her own happiness for others'. A clause of the deal with the oracles: only Angel will know of this day as the clocks will be rewound and it'll be as if the day never happened.

My Reaction: It was so good! It was so well written and acted that I was in tears that they couldn't be together again! Angel gains another thing to be tormented about and Buffy doesn't even remember that they had the perfect day as a couple. She also leaves Los Angeles (on the rewound day) still angry at him. A brilliant episode that even those who haven't seen much Buffy or Angel would understand their situation. AMAZING!

Orphan (2009)

Plot Summary:
Kate and John Coleman have recently lost their baby so decide to give their love to someone who really needs it - an orphan. After meeting Esther, a bright, polite and well behaved girl at St Marina Orphanage, they decide to adopt her. That's when things start to get a little strange...

Review: This film is a definite watch for all horror/thriller fans. The idea that a little girl can cause so much chaos within a family, through manipulation and deceit is a scary thought. The biological children of Kate and John are the first to suffer Esther's wrath, initially playful (before her arrival) but gradually becoming frightened into silence by their 'sister' who displays many behavioural traits that normal kids wouldn't have. For example, bludgeoning Sister Judith from the orphanage to death.

Vera Farmiga (Touching Evil, Up In The Air, The Departed) plays the role as a regretful, recovering alcoholic mother brilliantly and you really empathise with her and her desperation to prove Esther is not as sweet and innocent as she seems. Isabelle Fuhrmann, in her first main part, is definitley one for the future as she displays the many varying emotions Esther feels so accurately it made me terrified of this girl.

This is an excellent film and should be watched by all!

RATING: 9/10

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Dark House (2009)

PLOT: A group of actors are hired for the opening night of a 'Haunted House' attraction, set in a house where 17 years earlier, the massacre of 7 foster children occurred...

REVIEW: I'd never heard of this film before, but I thought I'd give it a watch, as I enjoy films like this, such as The Haunting and House on Haunted Hill and the whole premise sounded promising. I felt a little let down however, as it is so similar to these films, there was hardly any originality and so it ended up being fairly predictable.

In comparison to House on Haunted Hill, a renowned 'thrill-master' decides to create an attraction where an unspeakable atrocity has occurred. As you may have already guessed, the attraction soon descends into chaos, as the ghost of the foster mother returns to wreak havoc and catch up with the protagonist Claire, Meghan Ory (Vampire High). In Ory's first title role, she plays a girl haunted by a past visit to the Dorrode House but unable to remember exactly what happened there 17 years ago. The opening scenes depict the aftermath of the massacre, with dead children strewn throughout the house. These scenes are quite gruesome and shocking but the later deaths are dealt with pretty swiftly, with gore being higher on the agenda than shocks or tension.

There were certain plot aspects that seemed pointless to include, such as the attraction between Rudy, Matt Cohen (Boogeyman 2, The Outside), and Claire, which never really got resolved.

However, there was a slight twist towards the end, which I was impressed with as it re-aroused my interest and the story ended well, with a decent enough conclusion.
If you're looking for an outstandingly original horror, then this is probably not for you, but if you just want a quick scare, I'd recommend it!

RATING: 6/10

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Inception PREVIEW

Inception (2010)
The Christopher Nolan directed film, Inception, comes out on Friday 16th in my local Cineworld and I will be the first in line to see it. Inception has been brewing in Nolan's mind for years and stars Leonardo Di Caprio as the protagonist Dom Cobb, a thief trained to rob valuable information from unsuspecting minds. With a supporting cast as famous and reliable as the lead (Joseph Gordon Levitt, Ellen Page, Michael Cain and Cillian Murphy are just a few of the stellar cast), this film boasts not only a great set of actors, but an intriguing idea that dreams could be hijacked for other people's benefits.

Other critics have highly favoured the film calling it 'truly a masterpiece' (Matt, The Film Stage), and 'a brilliantly audacious thrill ride',(

I am really looking forward to this film, and I recommend this to anyone interested in sci-fi or general crime thrillers.

A review will be on its way shortly...

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Get Him To The Greek (2010)

The new Russell Brand film, featuring new popular comedy 'veteran' Jonah Hill as the protagonist music executive Aaron Green, is a blast! Brand reprises his role as Aldous Snow, a stereotypical sex-mad rockstar from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, who has just fallen off the wagon and reverted to his party hard ways after splitting from his long-term girlfriend Jackie Q (Rose Byrne, Damages, 28 Weeks Later). Snow's career has dried up after a controversial album and Green's boss (Sean 'P Diddy' Combs), wants to rejuvenate music sales, so Green comes up with a brilliant plan - get Snow to perform at the Greek Theatre where he first performed 10 years ago and cemented his place in rock history.

What follows is a chaotic, enjoyable adventure made even more enjoyable by cameos from Pink, Lars Ulrich and Zoe Salmon (to name but a few). Green gets dragged to various clubs, is forced to leave his well-behaved, mature nature behind and take part in Snow's debauched activities in order to keep Snow satisfied and get him to the Greek in time for the concert.

The best scene by far takes place in the Las Vegas hotel, which leaves Green stroking a furry wall. This may not sound amazing, but when you see it, you will be stifling tears of laughter.

I haven't laughed so much in a long time and this is clearly a film that doesn't try too hard to be clever or witty, but it is hilarious for its outrageous behaviour.

RATING: 8/10

Friday, 7 May 2010

Heroes Season 4

The finale of Heroes Season 4 was broadcast on BBC2 on Saturday in a double bill 'extravaganza' (I use extravagana in the broadest possible terms). After reading various comments on other websites, I have been gradually persuaded that Heroes has gone downhill since the stunning 1st season, but isn't the worst thing on the box.

The season started brightly, with Claire on her way to college, Hiro suffering from a brain tumour and losing his powers, Sylar believing he is Nathan, Matt realising a part of Sylar is trapped inside his head and the introduction of Samuel Sullivan, leader of a carnival for 'specials'. There was a lot of cliffhangers and mystery created in the first few episodes which generally maintained throughout the series.

POSITIVES: Cliffhanger mystery every week; merging a normal life with the 'special' life - Claire going to college, Matt trying not to use his powers as a police officer; Samuel (Robert Knepper was born to play the 'bad' guy, although his accent was pretty odd);

However, as mentioned before, it was nowhere near as good as the first series. The first one created lots of mysteries, a definite good/bad guy and finished spectacularly. The shot of Sylar stood on the hill having gained the final power needed was the height of drama and tension. His slightly excited and crazed expression shows how good an actor Zachary Quinto is, and although he was just as good in this series, I feel his storyline of fearing to be alone completely disagrees with his previous character, hellbent on becoming the most powerful man alive.

I also feel Hiro has changed in character too easily. Before, he knew not to mess with time as it would couse a 'butterfly effect' ripple which could destroy the universe, but after some gentle persuasion by Samuel, he changed his mind to right all his wrongs. This would never have happened if the old Hiro was still around!

NEGATIVES: Repetitive storylines - the ending with the desire for specials to stop hiding, Sylar confused about whether he's good or bad;

A fifth season?
I'm undecided.

I do enjoy the programme but perhaps am still watching it more due to habit than choice. The fourth season ended with Claire declaring herself to the world, an obvious hint at what the fifth season may entail, but it seems a little too predictable and a little too familiar.

Characters need to be redefined and not be so flimsy in their behaviour. Something Noah Bennett said in one of the last few episodes was similar to 'You mean everything to me Claire' and I found myself laughing because surely he's forgotten completely about his biological son? Wouldn't he mean perhaps slightly more to him than an adopted child?

I am interested about how long Sylar remains 'good' and how long the specials will be at peace with humans but don't think these storylines would last more than a few episodes.

Maybe it's time to call it quits, or maybe it's time to hire some new writers...

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Day Watch (2007)

SUMMARY: Day Watch (Dnevnoy dozor) is the second of two dark Russian fantasy action films, based on a quadrilogy of books by Sergey Lukyanenko and Vladimir Vasilyev.

It has been some time since the grand finale of the original film. Anton continues to fight the forces of Darkness while simultaneously attempting to find and save his son from the clutches of those same forces. But when Dark Others start mysteriously being killed, and Anton is framed for their murders, he must put that goal on hold and try to escape the Day Watch that is looking for his blood. ( (written by Andrew Hunter)

REVIEW: Having watched Night Watch twice before, and enjoying the dark, intense theme of good versus evil, I expected Day Watch to follow on nicely - and it did just that!

In this film, Anton is training up a new member of the Night Watch, Svetlana and is in a relationship with her, frowned upon by Geser. He is also still battling to be a good father, something which has now become extremely difficult as his son has become an active 'vampire'. Torn between the woman he can't readily admit his love to and the son he has never known, he attempts to clear his name after Day Watch members are mysteriously murdered and he is prime suspect. The climactic scene on the top floor of the Day Watch building shows this literally. Svetlana and Yegor (his son) are using him in a game of tug of war, representing the emotional force pulling him to each person and the shard of glass about to severe him in two is symbolic of his love being split in two.

Throughout the film CGI and special effects are used to amazing quality. The film clearly has found its forte in the quality CGI, and I have never seen such a slick, believable looking film. From shards of glass shattering as Anton 'jumps through' a billboard to thousands of balls destroying the city, the art director clearly knows what is needed to make the film stand out from the crowd.

Overall, the actors produce great displays and with a good storyline (albeit a little confusing at times) and excellent special effects, this film is definitely worth a watch.

RATING: 7/10


Hey! This is my new blog for any information, reviews or comments about films, tv, music and whatever else I can think of! Hopefully it will provide a rough guide as to what to expect from the film etc. and provide a helpful recommendation.
Happy reading! :)