Saturday, 25 September 2010


Apologies for my lack of posting, that is. I have currently been teleported back to the Victorian era, where there is no internet, and will be in such era until the 30th September, with new writings and ramblings :)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Slade, 2010)

I'll admit now, I'm certainly no 'Twi-hard' - I thought the first film was dreadful, and can't stand the whole attitude that comes with the crazy Twilight fans. Robert Pattinson is an actor, Edward Cullen is a character - and a pretty horrific one at that. Anyone who fails to observe this fact is a moron of supreme proportions in my eyes, and hopefully the eyes of anyone with half a grain of sanity. The whole fan culture of Twilight baffles me, as it seems to be everywhere, and if I see one more 'Team Edward' t-shirt, I might have to puke on it.

But now that's out of the way,  I'm going to put aside any feelings I have towards the whole phenomenon of Twilight, and base this review on the film itself. Hopefully this one will generate some discussion, as it certainly splits opinion.

In the opening scenes, we see new character, Riley Biers (Xavier Samuel), leaving a bar on a conveniently dramatic rainy night, where he is attacked by an unknown creature. It turns out later in the movie that it was Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), planning to turn him into one of the fanged ones. Her purpose is to raise an army of 'newborns' - freshly converted vampires, to set upon the Cullens and to get to Bella (Kristen Stewart), seeking vengeance against Edward (Robert Pattinson...see...character, actor..) for killing her lover, James.

After this quite exciting opening, we've got some very pretty shots of countryside and trees and things accompanied by a Bella voiceover of some poem about fire and ice and stuff. Edward and Bella are sitting in their 'romantic moments' field when Edward brings up the subject of marriage - something Bella disagrees with at her young age. But she wants Edward to 'turn' her - and marriage is his compromise. His old-fashioned nature is something that pops up throughout the film, particularly in an 'almost-sex' scene, where he talks some babble about 'courting' and 'stealing a kiss'.

Thankfully, as opposed to in previous films, Bella seems to have grown into a more likeable character in Eclipse. Instead of being a mardy loner, she socialises and seems to mope about a lot less. Edward is being his usual possessive self, trying to keep his grip on Bella, but shows that she's no longer willing to pander to him, demonstrated by her jumping on the back of Jacob's motorbike, despite Edward's attempts to prevent her from seeing him.Unfortunately, in the end she agrees to do the 'life' things his way - marriage, sexytimes THEN becoming a vampire. Siiigh. Despite moves forward, the Bella character still seems to be there for 'normal' girls to be given the hope that they too can find someone as 'perfect' as Edward. A prime example of unrealistic romance films.

A much better choice from where I'm standing is friend, werewolf and Edward's love rival, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). As with his appearance in New Moon, he spends plenty of time without a shirt on (something I quite enjoyed...), prompting a  rare moment of humour from Edward - 'does he OWN a shirt?'. His attempts to win Bella round are futile, and her seeming inability to let him down gently is frustrating.

Although Edward and Bella's relationship features centrally to the saga, Eclipse thankfully gives us more from the Cullens - who are much stronger and interesting characters. Although brief, insights into Rosalie (Nikki Reed) and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) are welcomed. The former gives her story of being raped and left to die, but becoming a vampire and taking revenge, the latter his tales of training newborns to fight, but being 'saved' by Alice Cullen (Ashley Greene). Alice has the power to see visions of the future, and is therefore invaluable to the group - although Victoria manages to 'hide' behind the newborns to prevent Alice having full knowledge of her plans. This exploration of the characters surrounding the central love story colours the film and is something I'd actually have liked to see even more of.

The fight between the 'newborns' and the strange Cullen-werewolves alliance is actually well choreographed and exciting - the one thing about the earlier Twilight films I did enjoy were the more action-based scenes. If there were more of these, and less whining in meadows, perhaps the films would have been more appealing. The script at times seems is rather cringeworthy - although I've never read the book series, I can imagine much of the writing being down these lines.

Despite the mysogynistic undertones of the story, pushing the romance aside Eclipse is actually not a bad film. Visually, it delivers, with a beautiful setting and some well-thought out sequences. It's not brilliant, has a very annoying central character in Edward, and it won't be accepted by the film snobs of the world. But, for mainstream 'romance' drama, it delivers a watchable two hours.


Monday, 6 September 2010

September's Big Tellyvisual Round Up - Across The Pond.

Okay, I am officially excited. This month, not one, not two, but FOUR of my favourite US shows start new seasons. So I expect my University workload to be greatly lessened - worrying, considering this is my third year and I should really be concentrating on essays instead of show songs, badass vampires, exhumations and monster-fighting. Not all in one show, I hasten to add. But that would be a damn awesome show...

Let's kick off with a series that divides opinion - Glee. And I absolutely love it in all its cheesy, too-bright jazz hands glory. Season 2 starts with a new year, and some new characters, including pop star Charice (no, I've never heard of her either. Finn and Rachel are still going strong, although Puck is being his usual self and causing mischief. Tina is apparently dating Mike Chang, the one who dances but doesn't speak after giving Artie the push (sob!). And the new man in Emma's life, played by John Stamos drops in to throw a spanner in the 'Wemma' works. Yeah, I hate those 'couple names' too.

The new season premieres in just two weeks on Tuesday 21st, and here is a lovelywonderful promo introduced by none other than Emily Deschanel and Tamara Taylor from Bones!

Speaking of Bones, the premiere of Season Six will be with us very soon too. After the (in my view, a little underwhelming) end of Season 5, we'll catch up with the characters seven months on. They've all been living their seperate lives doing their own things, and we get to see how the team have changed individually - and what this does to the group dynamic. There's little in the way of spoilers floating around, they seem to be keeping a lot to their chests, and no promo yet, but the new series hits on Thursday 17th.

Next up is another series going into its second season, The Vampire Diaries. Don't worry, no sparkly emo fangsters in sight. Based on a series of books by L.J Smith, Elena Gilbert has her life turned upside down by the arrival in town of the Salvatore brothers, Stefan and Damon (the latter played by Ian Somerhalder aka Boone from Lost) - who are very, very pretty for members of the undead. The end of the first season left us on a cliffhanger with Katherine (vampire scarylady and ex-lover of both brothers and a spitting-image ancestor of Elena) in Elena's house. The second season looks to pick up from here, with a promo video which features some new scenes (and annoyingly, quite a few from the last season. I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED, NOW I WANT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!)

Season 2 premieres Thursday 9th September.

And this leads me on to the new season I'm most excited about, oh yes, SUPERNATURAL IS BACK!! Unfortunately the promo vid has no new stuff (not impressed, CW), however, the end of S5 revealed Sam to have copied his bigbro and made his way out of Hell. Hopefully to do more than just stand gazing in windows and making streetlamps die.

Supernatural producers have always been pretty hush-hush when it comes to spoilers, however, here are some tidbits. Mischa Collins will be back as Castiel - although what he'll do now the angels have retired from Luciferduty is unknown - does heaven provide JSA for unemployed Lord's messengers? Whatever the case, we're told that Castiel will be 'different'. Samuel Campbell, Sam and Dean's grandpa is set to return - despite the fact he's quite long dead. And Dean's ladyfriend Lisa will be a recurring character, in the first half of the season at least

Anyway, here's the (coughcop-outcough) promo CW currently have up on their site. With the first episode entitled 'Exile on Main Street', bring on Friday 24th, please.

And I'll end this on a quote that's made me a little happy in the pants, from this article...
'We're pretty sure one change won't escape our attention: "I'm naked a lot more," Padalecki says.'
Thank you TV God.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Piranha 3D (Aja, 2010)

During Spring Break, thousands of kids flock into town to party at Lake Victoria, with the bikini brigade out in force and putting on a show. But this year a new crowd are taking over the water - and it's not just the boobies they're after. When a tremor hits, a secret lake opens up underneath Victoria, releasing the long-extinct piranhas and unleashing chaos upon the festivities.

Pirahna 3D could be described as 'a remake of a remake', with the original released in 1978 and a remake in 1995. However, whereas the 1995 version was very much the same as the original Piranha, Aja has taken the plot and given it an update - with the crew of 'Wild Wild Girls' hitting the lake to film some hot lady action. Yes, really. Jake (Steven R. McQueen) does a bunk on babysitting to take any teenage boy's dream job as the crew's location scout, along with his crush, Kelly (Jessica Szohr). As the camera rolls, the group are unaware what's brewing in the depths of Lake Victoria. Meanwhile, his mother, local Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) teams up with seismologist Novak Radzinsky (Adam Scott) to save the town's partiers from becoming fish food.

The cast is a generally strong ensemble, with a mixture of lesser-known and established actors - including a cameo from noted horror director Eli Roth. The appearance of Richard Dreyfuss as fisherman is a nice little homage to his role in Jaws - a film which the original Piranha parodied, and this can be seen clearly in today's offering. The film also features Blighty's very own Kelly Brook, who spends much of her screen time in no more than swimwear, which likely explains the high percentage of males in the cinema. Her acting leaves much to be desired - but really, does anyone care when she's frolicking butt naked in the sea with another woman?

Not being particularly a 3D fangirl, I wasn't expecting it to add that much to the film, but I was pleased to be mistaken. The horror genre is one in which the 3D works well - when used right, at least. Rather than an over-the-top 'LOOK! 3D!' display, it was used to complement the visuals and give the movie a new level of depth. This being said, there were choice moments where the effect was emphasized - especially one that might make the males wince - but they were generally well thought out and visually appealing. On the subject of visually appealing, there's plenty of female flesh on show for 'the lads', in glorious three-dimensional form .

Another aspect greatly benefitting from the 3D was the gore - something there was definitely no shortage of, with imaginative deaths left, right and centre. When the beach partiers come under attack, the SFX team shine with realistic-looking severed limbs and dyed-red water. Unlike some films, the bloodbath is in context, so it didn't just feel like gore for gore's sake.

Piranha 3D is a fast paced and highly enjoyable horror with a sense of humour, mixing old-style horror and panic scenarios with an attitude of tongue-in-cheek and not taking itself too seriously. The 3D aspect definitely adds to the experience, but even without it, this would still be a watchable, fun-filled movie.