The Machines Rise Again.

The story of the Terminator franchise is kind of ironic. At the end of T2, the best installment of the trilogy, Judgment day was narrowly avoided. Sarah, John and the T-101 saved the future of the human race, well temporarily.

Skip forward to the climax of T3 and we discover that judgment day was only postponed; it cannot be stopped.

And in many ways the same can be said of the Terminator Franchise. No matter how they attempt to save us from a new feature length installment; Jim Cameron wiping his hands of the series, or Arnie’s lack of involvement it seems you cannot stop another sequel being made. Like judgment day itself, it’s inevitable.

So if we absolutely have to delve once again into the dystopian world of man Vs machine, without any familiar faces to boot, then we need a new take on a story that is so treasured by its fans. It needs to be respectful of the originals yet take us to new places and prove to us that a new Terminator movie really is necessary.

Well judging by the trailers for this year’s Terminator Salvation, I’d say that there on the right track. So without further ado here are 5 reasons why we will all be back to catch this new take on the Terminator chronicles.

1. Cut to the chase.

Terminator Salvation is a reinvention, no expense spared, and probably the best decision they could have made was to set the film in the future.

It’s the drive of the original trilogy, heavily mentioned, briefly envisioned, but never fully realised. This time around we are dropped right into the action. The year 2018, post judgment day. The bombs have fallen, the resistance has risen and we finally get a decent look at the world at war against the machines.

And from what we’ve seen so far it’s a sun-bleached wasteland, sprouting jagged metal with hidden industrial human colonies. Littered with destruction, and over run with machines the future looks unforgiving, taking the glimpses of Cameron’s dark future and fleshing out its metal endoskeleton.

2. Bale out.

Ok so the film has enough ties to the Batman franchise, with Jonathan Nolan co-writing Salvation's script fresh off The Dark Knight, but for the film to be a success it needed a strong lead. And who better than Christian Bale to play the hard-boiled leader we learn so much about from previous installments. There’s no doubting his dedication to the role (The Bale rant anyone?)

Many actors have embodied John Connor over the years, most notably Edward Furlong as the teen rebel Connor and Nick Stahl as the off-the-radar young adult. It only seems fitting that the leader of the resistance this time around is different to all previous Connor depictions.

Despite all its faults T3 had one defining moment: John Connor realising that Judgment day is inevitable finally accepts his fate as mankind’s only hope answering a distress call in a presidential bomb shelter. In that moment his character changes and he reluctantly becomes the leader he was born to be, the leader we will see in Bale’s performance.

3. Action Sequences.

Although there has been no official blessing from James Cameron regarding Salvation, that’s not to say director McG is going hold anything back in bringing his vision to our screens.

T2 is often considered one of the best action movies ever made, probably because it is, so lets be realistic. McG isn’t going to top T2 for innovative action sequences, but by the look of the third Salvation trailer, that hasn’t stopped him trying.

Giant machines plucking humans from the ground, motorbike chases, helicopter attacks, just try to watch that trailer and not get excited about what the finished film will be like. All this and I haven’t even touched upon the Terminator/human fight scenes.

For a Terminator fan, sure, this isn’t the usual style of action we’ve grown accustom to, but that’s a good thing. If the trailers aren’t just an action tease and actually live up to expectations, this could be the action movie of the year and might even make Cameron raise an eyebrow.

4. The small yet necessary changes.

Compare T1 Sarah Connor to the Sarah Connor of T2, any similarities? Nope. Does it work? Yes. Even the Terminator changes roles drastically from the first film to the second, again with positive results.

The Franchise needs to change in order to stay fresh and relevant, the failure to do so was T3’s downfall. That’s why we shouldn’t be against the latest changes made to the mythology in the latest installment.

The most obvious change taking the form of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a soldier with a hazy past who is unaware that he is part machine. Other potential new plots that may arise: Worthington has something to do with the death of Kyle Reece (John’s father), machines taking humans captive; using them for terminator parts (skin, hair) and also was it me or is it subtly hinted in the trailer that Connor’s wife Kate (Bryce Dallas Howard) might be pregnant?

5. More Robots.

Of course the backbone to the whole franchise is the machines, with the new surroundings allowing McG to go wild regarding what terminator models he wants to show.

So what should we be expecting? A terminator army of all shapes and sizes by the looks of it.

Harvesters’ sixty feet tall capturing humans for experimentation, small scout robots, under water Hydrobots, right down to the prototypes which eventually lead to Arnie’s T-101. Eight feet tall rubber skinned T-600’s and the smaller not quite humanly perfect T-700’s.

So if this top five still doesn’t wet your appetite for machine apocalypse movies, then just watch the trailer below, see if that sways your opinion.

Terminator Salvation is released on June 5th.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The Movies.

Scott Pilgrim has a pretty awesome life. He’s in a band; he’s dating the girl of his dreams and he’s about to embark on his very first live action adventure.

The latest comic book film to hit our screens doesn’t involve radioactive spiders, bats or tights but does include ninjas, rock music and vegans with psychic powers. So what exactly is a Scott Pilgrim?

Adapted from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s series of graphic novels Scott Pilgrim Vs The World follows our hero’s quest for a steady relationship and all around happiness. But there’s one catch: to obtain this he must first defeat his girlfriend’s evil ex boyfriends. All seven of them.

That’s the jist. Shaun of the Fuzz director Edgar Wright makes his overseas directorial debut helming the flick, which is a good start. Having perfected the ‘reality with a twist’ look with Spaced, there’s no question he’ll be well suited to tackle Scott’s precious little universe.

Also his photo-a-day blog is a constant source of intrigue. A brief glimpse of an evil ex here, the shooting of a fight scene there and of course the teaser photo’s of the cast. Faces covered with O’Malley artwork, they are enough to leave any Pilgrim-ite hungry for more.

So what information is out there? Well it’s no secret that Superbad star Michael Cera will take the lead as the happy go lucky hero, presumably attempting to break free of his trademark ‘deer in the headlights’ persona for something more quirky. He’ll star alongside Mary Elizabeth Winestead as Ramona Flowers, the girl worth fighting for.

They are the dynamic duo, now for the competition. So far announced: Chris Evans as Lucas Lee the pro skater turned movie star (cough . . . Jason Lee) and Brandon Routh as super-vegan Todd Ingham, That’s right Scott will fight Superman.

And finally strongly rumoured yet not officially announced, Jason Schwartzman will play final evil ex Gideon Gordon Graves.

Big name nemeses aside, the supporting cast are all interesting choices. Names include Arrested Development’s Mae Whitman as Ninja-ex Roxy Richter, Kieran Culkin as Scott’s gay room mate Wallace Wells and Ellen Wong as Knives Chau (17 years old).

Although so far only 5 of the scheduled 6 Pilgrim novels have been released, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World will conclude the story, covering the yet to be released final instalment.

So far so cool, and with Brandon Routh recently letting slip that the film will be animated in parts, this is shaping up to be one interesting and faithful adaptation. As O’Malley explains “Edgar and I have been on the same page about everything, which is pretty amazing!”

Aint that cool.

Woke up this morning and saw that my review for The Boat That Rocked has been posted on the biggest movie site on the web! go check it out while it's still around:

Yeah, i know the accompanying picture is shit. Click it for a better look, or just check out the link.

The Boat That Rocked, kind of.

On Tuesday night i was lucky enough to attend a preview screening of the new Richard Curtis film The Boat That Rocked. Stars Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead/Spaced/Hot Fuzz), Chris O'Dowd (IT Crowd) and relative new comer Jim Sturridge were in attendance. They briefly introduced the film, Frost and O'Dowd cracked a couple of jokes but they left pretty soon after.

The film dosen't open until April 1st, so i thought id write a quick review giving my thoughts on it before its released. Check it out below.

It’s England. It’s the sixties. Sideburns are cool, clothes are too brightly coloured and rock and roll is considered a taboo.

Richard Curtis’ second film is pretty much what you might expect from the guy who wrote Love Actually, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral; a who’s who of British comedy talent with an American twist thrown in, although this time minus all the love-y stuff.

But behind the impressive cast and cool soundtrack The Boat That Rocked fails to be much more than a brief lesson in rock music’s journey to mainstream radio.

Set on a floating pirate radio station the movie centres around a crew of disc jockeys who provide around the clock rock relief for an uptight Britain. So uptight in fact that the government, lead by Kenneth Branagh, have nothing better to do but place all their efforts into pulling the plug on them.

And its here where the problems start to arise as that’s basically the whole plot.

Sure things happen in between: the return of a legendary DJ played by a Liam Gallagher-esque Rhys Ifans, a misinterpreted marriage, but the film takes its time to reach a conclusion that you’ve probably already predicted yourself half way through.

Clocking in at around 130 minutes, the movie does go on for too long. Although it boasts a talented ensemble cast, unfortunately none of them are given adequate time to shine. It feels like your always waiting for Rhys Darby or Bill Nighy to have their moment, but sadly it never quite arrives.

That’s not to say there’s nothing here to like. The character Thick Kevin (Tom Brooke) raised a few laughs, albeit being a little too similar to Baldrick from the Curtis penned Blackadder series. Pirates of the Caribbean star Jack Davenport brought the laughs, purely from his characters name: Mr Twatt, and Nick Frost does have his moments.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the only American DJ on board brings some cool to the ship, but feels severely under used, the same can be said for most of the cast really many of them never really finding their purpose.

But this could all be nit picking. With almost each scene scored with a cool song, it’ll take your mind off the negative aspects, temporarily.

Who watches the Watchmen? I did. Last week.

Sex, violence, a radioactive blue penis, Watchmen has it all. And having it all is what was important. When Zack Snyder declared he was to attempt to film the often-labelled un-filmable graphic novel, fan boys around the world rejoiced and groaned in unison. But after almost not being released due to money problems, Watchmen finally hit our screens last Friday. Was it worth the wait?

In short yes. Snyder’s commitment to the source material is unprecedented. You can almost feel his unwillingness to disappoint fans with every minute reference and sly nod to the graphic novel in almost every frame.

In a stylish montage to Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times They Are A’ Changing’ Snyder summarises the alternate world we are about to enter. This one segment alone may be the best-shot scene of the film; the rise of the minutemen; their subsequent fall and the birth of America’s secret weapon who is no longer American: Dr Manhattan.

Like the rest of the film this scene is what fans were waiting for, but the commitment to the story works against Watchmen. While satisfying for it’s fans, it may prove to be an information overload for all those not so familiar with Nite Owl et all.

This minor problem, plus one awkwardly scored sex scene aside, there is much to marvel at. Jackie Earle Hayley was apparently born to play Rorschach, effortlessly embodying the badass pseudo-detective through whom we begin to unravel the stories mystery.

In fact all the cast are inspired choices, if not completely resembling their characters visually (Veidt, I’m looking at you) they have their personalities down to a tee. And if anyone still isn’t happy, look at the past cast lists for the film and consider yourself lucky those versions never made it to fruition (Schwarzenegger as Dr Manhattan? no thanks.)

But make no mistake, this is Watchmen the movie not the graphic novel, things may be different but the spirit of Alan Moore’s story is there. What’s more it’s a Zack Snyder movie, so no shortage of slow motion and impressive fight sequences.

Also it’s refreshing to see a comic book movie that’s not afraid to pull any punches, this is an R-rated movie all the way, “no compromise” as Rorschach would say, and what a relief.

Beards are funny.

Facial hair is too often overlooked in movies and on TV but it’s crucially important in defining a character. Would the fellowship have really followed Gandalf all the way to certain death if he didn’t have a face rug?

Imagine a baby-faced Chuck Norris, who as we all know doesn’t have a chin under his beard, just another fist.

This month my flatmate Ste grew a beard. I thought this was hilarious and seen as facial hair seems to be quite a regular topic of conversation in our flat (I have no idea why) I thought I would do a quick rundown of the most impressive facial hair ever to grace the screen, all of which make myself, Alex, Jonny and Ste’s chins all look like underachievers.

The Beard: Joaquin Phoenix (Circa Feb 09)

Why it’s impressive: Who knows what is going on with Joaquin Phoenix of late, but lets get down to the real area of interest here, his chin pubes.

Joaquin filmed his soon to be released Two Lovers, went away and retuned looking like a Hobo. You have to hand it to him, he did get that beard pretty fast, and if he is in fact going for the hobo look, then I’d say he succeeded.
Judging by his train-wreck interview on The Late Show id go as far as to say that it’s the beard that is causing the problems with this already troubled actor turned rapper.

Like Homer’s possessed hair piece in The Simpson’s, loose the beard and we’ll recover the twice Oscar nominated star.

Flat mate most likely to be able to pull it off: It seems like Phoenix grew this beard quite effortlessly, i.e. he probably just didn’t do anything all day for a while. So that would have to be Ste.

The beard:
Hagrid (Harry Potter movies 1-6 2001-present)

Why it’s impressive: Where would giants be without their beards? Hagrid is a half giant, half human with a beard somewhere in between. It adds to the size of his face, I mean at what point does the hair on his head stop and the beard begin.

It’s the type of beard you could smuggle a small child into a foreign country with, or huge saw into a prison.

A multi-purpose beard if you will. It’s the king-Kong of beards.

Flatmate most likely to be able to pull it off:
Now this one would take someone with serious beard growing chops, Jonny should be able to fit the bill. Although we would all look hilarious with one of these on our faces.

The Beard: Indiana Jones (The Indiana Jones Trilogy 1981-2008)

Why it’s impressive: This beard is actually used as a filmmaking tool. Although not a full beard as such, if you see Indy with stubble then you know he’s about to get shot at, be chased by something or just generally do something cool.

There’s just no room for the half stubble-mini beard in the classroom. That stuffs strictly for the fieldwork.

Flatmate most likely to be able to pull it off: Ok . . .Ok I agree I am probably the flatmate most like Indiana Jones. I can’t help it.

Joking of course. Although, “Simon Jones and the Search for my Other Thumb” does have a nice ring to it and I do grow stubble better than the other guys.

The Beard: Hans Gruber (Die Hard 1988)

Why it’s impressive: There were a lot of gun totting action films in the eighties. Each had their own muscle ridden star, a girl with huge eighties hair and (more often than not) a foreign foe. Possibly the most memorable being Hans Gruber, the German terrorist ringleader with the tiny beard.

Where the beard lacked in size it made up in style. Adding a certain charisma to what would ordinarily be a stock movie villain.

Gruber admires businessman Takagi’s suit before offing him, it actually made you believe he had a fondness for style as well as killing.

The only other beard in the film is owned by Ellis a sleazy coke head who when pitted against Gruber’s stylish chin bristles meets a grizzly end.

Flatmate most likely to pull it off: I actually think Gruber is a personal hero of Jonnies as he’s often seen sporting the strictly round the mouth fuzz. Except his is ginger for some reason. Try tackling John McClain with a ginger beard. Not happening.

The Beard: The dude (The Big Lebowski 1998)

Why it’s impressive: The Dude’s beard is a statement; it says “I don’t really care” which is an impressive declaration to project from your face.

With no particular style, form or structure the beard fits the man. Free wheeling and easy, I doubt its ever been trimmed, or that the Dude even realises he has a beard.

He probably uses it to soak up the excess White Russian from his glass on his shaggy top lip, the slowly sucks it out whenever he’s not near a bowling alley bar to keep his buzz going. That’s gross.

Flatmate most likely to pull it off: Alex would be pretty good at perfecting this one, or any of us for that matter; it doesn’t involve much effort or maintenance, all you have to do is basically forget to shave. Which is something were all good at.

A little dated top 7.

The news story that this is based upon is actually a little old, i wrote this list a week ago and i have only just got round to putting it online, but read about it, its real. Anyway here is the first of hopefully many movie lists.

This week it was revealed by a new census that around 235 species of the same tiny marine creatures exist at the bottom of both the North and South poles despite being over 12,000Km apart. So FYI, you only have to bother visiting the bottom of one icy ocean, don’t do both; apparently they’re pretty much the same.

This naturally raised questions about underwater beasts. Naturally. So here is a brief rundown of 7 underwater movie scenes involving the worst the deep has to offer.

The Film: Jaws (1975)

The Creature:Decomposing body.

The scene: Your reading a feature about underwater horrors and you didn't expect this one to show up? Albeit maybe not the creature you were expecting, Spielberg's Jaws set the bar for underwater scares.

This scene in particular, whilst marine biologist Matt Hooper (Dreyfuss) is snooping about the depths, who should pop out of the sunken vessel but a dead guy with a worm in his eye. That’s right a worm is in his eyeball, and we thought the shark was bad enough.

Guaranteed to make the audience jump every time, and probably resulting in Hooper needing to change his scuba suit.

The Film: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. (1999)

The Creature: More like creatures, the underwater giants of Naboo.

The Scene: After Qui-Gon rescues the floppy-eared Gungan simpleton (sigh) Jar Jar Binks, the couple joined by Obi-Wan leave the giant frogs rather damp hometown and head towards Theed, Naboo's capital to rescue Queen Amidala and basically waste time until Vader pops up.

On the way however a giant fish, an Opee Sea Killer to be precise, pursues them only to be rescued by an even bigger underwater heavyweight a Sando Aqua Monster. As Qui-Gon says "There's always a bigger fish", whereas in reality we say, "There's definitely better movies".

The Film: Deep Blue Sea (1999)

The Creature: Maco Shark

The Scene: "Now we've seen how bad thing's can get, and how quick they can get that way, well they can get a whole lot worse. But we're not going to fight anymore! We're going to pull together and we're going to find away to get out of here!" "Yeah!" thinks the crew and audience "Yeah, I think we're going to survive this invasion of super intelligent hybrid sharks, yeah!"

Oh . . . no wait, Samuel L Jackson's just been nailed by a giant shark whilst on land. Gutted.

Out of water, yes, but technically they’re at the bottom of the ocean on a huge underwater lab so it still counts. Sharks so bad they can get you even when you’re out of the water, Jaws eat your heart out.


The Film: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. (2004)

The Creature: The Jaguar Shark

The Scene: After searching the sea's, fighting pirates, and loosing a possible son in a helicopter crash, a tiny blip on the radar shows what could finally be the film's maguffin, the mythical Jaguar Shark.

After delving to the depth's Steve (Murray) and co find what they were searching for at last. The beautifully animated colossal Shark, golden complete with black Jaguar spots.

As emotion outweighs resentment, Zissou is moved to tears by his encounter with the beast from the deep and decides not to kill it. He was out of dynamite anyway.

The Film: Alien Resurrection (1997)

The Creature: Xenomorph (Alien)

The Scene: In space no one can hear you scream, this we know, but under water no one can hear you do a sort of water-muffled bubble scream. . . that list of non-scream-able places keeps growing. Yes, just when you had overcame your fear of sharks and thought it was safe to return to the water, now you have Aliens to worry about, well if Alien Resurrection has anything to say about it anyway.

As our cast lead by the new and improved Ripley make their way to safety they encounter a flooded area of the Auriga (the alien infested ship) and must cross to safety. Little do they know that the Xenomorph is a pretty nifty swimmer.

One very tense scene later, with the crew displaying some pretty impressive breath holding abilities, they submerge on the other side. Minus one member but plus one more reason to fear the Alien.

The Film: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)

The Creature: The Kraken

The Scene: Well there are a few scenes actually, but the most notable one is probably the scene at the climax of Dead Mans Chest where the Kraken tears apart the Black Pearl along with Captain Jack.

So big you never really see it fully, apart from a brief glimpse of it beached and dead in Pirates 3, this colossal squid complete with huge tentacles, slimy tooth ridden mouth and flesh tearing suction-cups strikes fear into the heats of all bad ass pirates.

Plus its Davey Jones’ pet, they must have been all out of gerbils when he popped into the pet store during his last outing on land.

The Film: Finding Nemo (2003)

The Creature: Anglerfish.

The Scene: Whilst in pursuit of a crucial clue to whereabouts of his son, Marlin and Dory find themselves at the murky bottom of the ocean only to be greeted by a very tooth-ey torch headed Angler Fish. Queue a Tom and Jerry style chase.

We’ve had aliens, hybrids and mythical sea creatures but perhaps what’s most frightening about this entry is the fact that it actually exists down there in the dark.

Imagine seeing that in your paddling pool. You’d shit yourself.

First review post.

The first review to be posted, albeit its quite long winded and a bit overly structured (it was written for Total Film) but after taking about a year I've finally posted something. More will come, and hopefully more people will see this page, anyway did you see Milk? I think Mickey Rourke deserved to win the Oscar, Sean Penn was really good, but overall i think The Wrestler was a better role . . . anyway I'm getting sidetracked. Read the review and post things!

Gus Van Sant: art house director turned mainstream director turned well . . . somewhere in between really. Never one to shy away from bringing controversial issues, in particular homosexuality, to the forefront of his films, Van Sant has made a career of his ability to flit seamlessly from avant-garde to mainstream filmmaking, and Milk his latest, is a mix of both.

“My name is Harvey Milk and I’m here to recruit you!” The first openly gay polotitician to be elected into public office and gay rights activist, Milk follows said politicians rise to office, fight against proposition 6 and eventual murder by disgruntled fellow supervisor Dan White. The more publicity Harvey gains the more death threats he receives and pretty soon the cost of equality begins to hit home.

Attempting to show both Harvey the activist and Harvey the man, Van Sant presents for the former, an individual with a thirst for change and a life with purpose (exchanging a ponytail and tie dye for short hair and suits) but sadly the latter feels rather cut short. Harvey’s personal life is reduced to two relationships, presenting the man infamously interested in younger men, into a relatively monogamous bloke.

Sean Penn, known for his deep investment in roles dons a fake nose, denchers and a recreated hairline to aid his portrayal of Harvey Milk, but beyond the makeup manages to capture the qualities of both flamboyance and leadership necessary. Josh Brolin gives a strong and at times humorous performance, as Harvey’s conflicted fellow supervisor turned killer Dan White, in what is proving to be a successful resurgence for the actor. James Franco also stars as Scott Smith Harvey’s first lover, torn apart by the pressures of the campaign trail. Craftily mixing stock news footage with detailed recreations, Van Sant crafts a story about love and death, the best and worst of humanity but most importantly about hope.

Final Verdict.
Its cons are easily outweighed by its pros. A strong cast coupled with stellar directing, Milk serves as a compelling memoir of the man and the movement.