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Eye Candy

Welcome to "Eye Candy" our film reviews page. You should be able to find reviews for most recent movies that are still playing at theatres, as well as reviews of video releases and some great classsic movies. These pages are updated (very‡) perodically! Were trying to get another review together to publish this week so hang on!

‡ at the moment

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Written by: Sean the Irish Bastard Published on: 25 Dec 2001

The first of Joanne Rowling’s seven projected Potter books reaches the silver screen at last, in two and a half hours of family entertainment. Shooting is already underway on the first sequel, but how does this first instalment fare?

Well, overall it’s a great film, true to the book, and a worthy adaptation. The grandiose Hogwart’s setting is well realised with some fantastic CG work, and effectively lit sets (we’ll forgive the painted backdrop outside the Dursley’s front hall).

The film isn’t without its flaws. Despite the long running time (although it doesn’t feel that long at all), the content of the book has been about as mercilessly treated as Warner Bros could probably get away with. The lead up to Harry’s arrival at Hogwarts is too brief and many memorable parts of the book are excised completely from the screenplay. However, the inclusion of just one Quidditch match was probably a sensible move. In general the decision seems to have been taken to remove certain whole sections rather than have a greater number of over-edited scenes, which in film-making theory is the correct path, especially in a family film.

And this is well and truly a family film, with only five bloodies, one bugger and an arse. Don’t look for subtle jokes, knowing winks and double entendres though, because there aren’t any.

The casting in the film is just about perfect. If you can forgive Emma Watson’s (Hermione) matter-of-fact drama school diction, the three child leads are spot-on. Daniel Radcliffe excels in the role of Harry which he was born to play. The interplay between they and Rupert Grint (Ron) shows great promise for the sequels as we watch the characters develop.

It’s a shame about having a peroxide Draco Malfoy, who is not quite the nemesis of Harry’s that he is in the book. As he gets older though, I’m sure he’ll become more menacing. A few of the cameo roles, like those of John Cleese and Leslie Philips (I kept waiting for the sorting hat to say “Ding, dong”) push a little to far towards all-star casting abuse, but none detract from the action, nor spoil the mood.

There’s some Spot-the-Actor fun to be had elsewhere, with Vernon Dursley played by Richard “Uncle Monty” Griffifths, John Hurt as the wand seller and Harry’s mother may be a familiar face to viewers of Cracker (speaking of which, Robbie Coltrane, made even bigger by computer, is a definitive Hagrid). And see if you can spot Warwick Davis and Verne Troyer in the Gringott’s Bank sequence.

Overall, I would recommend this film to anyone who’s curious to know what the fuss is about, but do yourself a favour and read the book first!

Planet of the Apes

Written by: ChilliBear Published on: 13 Aug 2001

Movie poster The week before last whilst in Las Vegas I had the opportunity to see Planet of the Monkeys Apes on opening night. Well this being the Eye Candy section I thought I’d best do a bitch review of the thing, besides our UK readers won’t have seen the film yet - I promise not to spoil the rather obvious story :)

Well our story starts with some wizzy title graphics and then plunges us straight into deep space, err somewhere. Our hero (Wahlburg) works here with monkeys. Then in true Star Trek Voyager style a spatial anomaly pops up on the horizon, Wahlburg wants to rush off into the pretty swirling colours, but instead they send a monkey. Sure enough Wahlburg unable to let a monkey be the star of this movie hops in a ship to follow him. Que the crash on the “Planet of the Apes!”…

I'm not lost - honest Okay so Wahlburg wanders around looking lost for most of the movie, which is probably what most of us would do if we ended up on a planet ruled by monkeys who bear a striking resemblance to Helena Bonham Carter. Needless to say Wahlburg leads the escape of the Human slaves and they end up at the place where it all started for a big battle, a bit of ape love and a quick bit of science come religion. Like I said I’ll try not to spoil the story, but I will say that right at the end the chaps in the row behind us in the flicks (that’s the theatre/cinema if you don’t speak ChilliBear ) said “I bet it’s a horse” which cracked us up - okay I know you had to be there, but if you think “I bet it’s a horse” right at the end when Wahlburg is doing his wandering up the steps you might get the joke.

So what is the movie like from a technical point of view… Well the props and costumes/makeup are great (loved the Ape army tents), the movie does have a good realistic feel to it, however Ape city does just seem to be slapped down in the middle of nowhere. The different Apes are great, each has their own character and you can actually see the emotions on their faces (one up on Wahlburg then g). The orang-utan slave master is absolutely great - true comic genius. The Apes are a lot more monkey like than in the original they’re hanging off walls, running on all fours and bouncing of just about everything in the case of Thade (Tim Roth).

Charlton Heston has his little cameo playing a damn dirty ape - general Thade’s father. A nice touch and the film in general has lots of little references to the earlier movies, looking for them passes the time :)

Okay so did I like it? I would have to say yes. I enjoyed the film - no I didn’t think it was a great film, its a good action movie not a great deal more. The story is good, but the execution of that story leaves it a bit flat - it looks rather like they had all the right ingredients, but the cake just didn’t rise. Will I see it a second time (normally my test of a good film) - well I’m not going to go out of my way to see it again, but I wont object if I go again with other friends. Is the movie another Tim Burton classic - no. Actually I don’t think you would know it was a Tim Burton movie (apart from the very end of the film), it has hardly a touch of his normal comic book style fantasy gothic flavour to it - something I had hoped would make this film sufficiently different from the originals to make it stand completely on it’s own.

Anyway I’ve probably had enough of a bitch now, so I’ll leave things there. A final note for those of you who want to read the original novel, it was La Planete des Singes, a novel by Pierre Boulle.

Army of Darkness - Evil Dead 3

Written by: ChilliBear Published on: 16 Feb 2001

Video cover Well firstly I guess I had best clarify which Evil Dead movie I’m talking about here… why you ask well the movie has gone under the following names (to the best of my knowledge)

  • Evil Dead 3
  • The Medieval Dead
  • Army of Darkness, the Ultimate Experience in Medieval Horror
  • Captain Supermarket
  • Army of Darkness: Evil Dead 3

and not forgetting of course…

  • Bruce Campbell vs The Army of Darkness

Well this is the third Evil Dead movie to be made. The first was a classic, the second was really a remake of the first and was great and the third, well it has to be seen to be believed! This is a perfect blend of horror and comedy, a truly great movie which you can enjoy over and over again. Not that I’m biased towards it. I figure that’s enough of my frantic praise so lets move onto a look at the actual plot. Which by the way means that the following could somewhat spoil your enjoyment of the movie. So why not go and buy it now watch it and then read the rest of the page, that way you get to see a great movie, and we get 2 hits more on the page!

Video coverHero Ash is being sucked into a swirling vortex thingy‡. Ash is transported to ancient times along with his car and trusty chainsaw and shotgun, he is quickly mistaken for a spy and rounded up to be thrown into ”The Pit”, a black hell whence in lurk untold terrors. Anyway to cut a long story (well 86 minutes to be precise) Ash fights back and becomes somewhat of a champion for the people. Being a champion who wants to get home the wise men tell him that be must quest to find the Necronomicon (The book of the dead, as seen in the previous movies) as only this book has the power to return him to the present day.

Our hero goes questing, and runs into some trouble along the way – namely himself! When Ash finds the book he must speak the words told to him by the wisemen…. Well its goes slightly wrong and the Army of Darkness awaken from their graves.

With the Army marching on the Castle all that stands between utter oblivion and hope is Ash, as “Bruce Campbell vs the Army of Darkness”. The battle is a wonderfully filmed part of the film, with skeletons running amok through the castle and scaling the walls. Finally however our hero wins through and returns to the present day… or does he. This is where things become amusing because there are at least two endings for the movie and I’m not going to spoil either. I do however urge you to try to find a copy of the movie that includes both endings (the current release by 4 front video does) as they are priceless.

Well that’s me done raving about one of my favourite movies, I hope you enjoy the movie as much as I do. In summary the movie tagline will do:

Trapped in Time, Surrounded by Evil, Low on Gas…

‡ this is a technical term defining funny things.

The Patriot

Written by: ChilliBear Published on: 05 Jan 2000

I'll never fight I have a family Our movie takes a look at the American war of independence, seeing that war through the eyes of widower Benjamin Martin and his family.

The film begins with the state of South Carolina about to join the war against the British, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) argues against fighting, having seen what war can do to men during his infamous service during the French and Indian war. However the town decides against him and South Carolina joins the war.

Benjamin’s eldest son, Gabriel (Heath Ledger) enlists despite his father’s misgivings and life would appear to return to normal for a while. However all is to change when his own house is burnt down and the British Green Dragoon commander Colonel Tavington (Jason Issacs) kills one of his seven children.

Well okay, just one small battle - if you insist Benjamin now packs the children off to his wife’s sisters where they will be safe until the movie plot calls for them to be endangered again. Free of his children there is nothing stopping our hero forming the locals into a guerrilla combat unit to harass the local British general Cornwallis’ (Tom Wilkinson) army. He then goes on to almost single-handily win the war for the Americans‡ - well what did you expect he is Mel Gibson.

So my opinion of the film then? Well the actual movie is most enjoyable and you shouldn’t notice as the time flies by (three hour movie). However the feel of the movie is a little too much like “The last of the Mohicans” (1992), and I feel that “The Patriot” suffers because of this (sorry The last of the Mohicans was better). The general flow if the film was a little predictable, for example within two seconds of meeting our villain we know he must survive for a final apocalyptic battle with Mel.

Visually the movie was very good, and the images of warfare were gritty and realistic (of course if you’re a named character you can expect to survive a wound long enough to rattle off a death spiel) enough to make you squirm occasionally.

Tavington - Me, A nasty piece of work - surely not! Arrr well onto characters then… Firstly our chief villain the British Green Dragoon commander, Colonel Tavington; well isn’t he a nasty piece of work, but what do you expect after all he is the chief protagonist. A rather modern character who doesn’t follow the rules of war, much to the continued annoyance Cornwallis and I’m sure all his victims!

Now our hero Benjamin Martin. Well he a man who has seen horror, “O’ the horror, the horror”, during the war with the French, and he is now a hero because of the rather unsavoury things he did then. Still he does show some reserve before leaping into battle, and seems primarily a ‘family man’. On a more personal note; what is it with Mel Gibson and movies in which British chaps get a right kicking? Is it just me or has Mel Gibson been in just about every movie to feature the Brits losing a battle, Braveheart for example features Mel happily wading into Brits with a giant sword. Never mind, just my tupence.

Hmmm, well just time for a quick roundup of the rest of our usual suspects. We have Gabriel, who I believe is the ‘Patriot’ of who the movie title is taken. He is our general headstrong young fellow who is more like his father than he would care to admit. Aunt Charlotte (Joely Richardson) plays Benjamin’s wife’s sister and is the blatant love interest for Benjamin the second her corset encased heaving bosom appear on set. She does play a reasonably strong character, but at the end of the day this is a bloke movie and hence her role is not the strongest. The rest of Benjamin’s troops are mostly old soldiers, without too much of a part to play.

Should you go and see it? I would say if you’re at the theatre then by all means go and watch it, and you will enjoy it, but don’t go out of your way to watch it unless you’re a big Mel Gibson fan.

‡ That was not a spoiler, any fool know who won the American war of independence.

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