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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Resident

Mobile phones have changed horror films. While the Scream series used them in new and frightening ways, for most others they present a big problem - being chased by a psychotic murderer is less scary if you can just pull out your iPhone and dial 999.

New Hammer horror The Resident has a brilliant and unique way of getting round this problem: It is CLEARLY STATED in the first 10 minutes that mobile phones don't work in the block of flats where the film is set. PROBLEM SOLVED.

Anyway - imagine you had a stalker - and NOW imagine if that stalker lived in your house!

That's exactly what happens to poor Juliet (Hilary Swank)

Here's what we know about Juliet:
1) she likes jogging and taking baths (toned and likely to take her clothes off often)
2) she's an E.R. doctor (she may like taking her clothes off, but she's intelligent and important too)

But which of Juliet's two new landlords do you think is the crazy stalker obsessed with her?

Could it be the strange lonely old August, peering through th door cracks with his spooky eyes, OR is it his grandson Max, who has a lovely beard and a nice smile?

For people who've never watched Scooby Doo / or have a brain, the revelation that is is, in fact, the seemingly charming Max, may have been an exciting development - for everyone else, it's utterly boring. (August dies quietly a few minutes after this 'twist' and, having served his purpose, is never mentioned again.)

Jeffery Dean Morgan plays Max - a sort of sexier but slightly less mad Dave Lee Travis - who's psychotic tendancies are never satisfactorily explained. All we know about himm is this:
1) he likes drinking wine and hiding in cupboards (cultured but a bit evil)
2) he's good at DIY (useful for putting two-way mirrors into your tenants' flats)

His stalking kicks off quite innocently with a quick visit to Juliet's flat to brush his teeth her electric toothbrush, his face contorting with ecstacy as he works those back molars. Then, it's time to pop fully clothed into the empty bath and pleasure himself. However, his obsession with Juliet quickly esculates into hiding under her bed and licking her fingers while she's taking a nap.

When Juliet finds out, they have a big fight and she shoots Max in the brain.

If only her mobile had worked then she could have just called the police and had him arrested instead of brutally murdering him with a nail gun.

Still, he did love DIY so I'm sure that's the way he would have wanted to go.

The Resident is perhaps the most unorginial, linear film I have ever seen. With no surprises and no scares, it commits the ultimate sin for any horror film - it's dull.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

There's no point in actually reviewing G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - just look at this poster and imagine it -

It's exactly like that. Would-be reviewers might as well just write 'G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. Watch it if you like that sort of thing.' (In fact, I would suggest replacing EVERY film review with this simple phrase.)

Based on the 80's toy-line/cartoon show, GI Joe's are a bit like the SAS - some super-hard nutbags, a couple of ninjas and a token IT consultant - all saved for the extra hard missions the army can't handle.

There's Snake Eyes, a quiet ninja
Scarlett, an emotionally retarted super-brain
Heavy Duty, a gruff cockney with a soft centre
General Hawk, the team's leader who's not afraid to break the rules
and Breaker, the resident computer expert.

The film follows new recruits Duke and Rip-Cord as they try and save the world from a terrorist group lead by evil Scotsman Christopher Ecceleston.

(At the end, both Christopher Eccelston and side-kick Joseph Gordon-Levitt are given almost identical special metal faces. I think this is primarily so if there's a sequel, Christopher and Joseph don't have to turn up, and their parts can be played by any old cheap actor with a CGI metal face. In future this should be done at the end of all films. All the most famous actors will suddenly put a paper bag over their heads.)

Anyway, it's all very exciting and a bit like James Bond but completely de-sexulized and with no on-screen violence.

Sound rubbish? Well, despite having special effects only marginally better than these...

...G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra is probably the most perfect film ever made (for a 13 year old boy) - lots of guns, some sexy ladies -but nothing too saucy Mums!- and the complete destruction of the Eiffel Tower.

In fact, If you could project the contents of a child's mind as s/he played with the toys in the 1980s, it would probably look EXACTLY like this film - shit CGI and all.

But NO child's mind, no matter how twisted, could ever imagine anything as horribly wrong as Christopher Ecceleston's Scottish accent.

That's GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Watch it if you like that sort of thing.