Monday, 22 July 2013

The Summer Movie Bumper Review: This Is The End, Monster's University, Pacific Rim and The World's End


I can't remember the last time I experienced this. I have finally seen a stream of good films at the cinema. A stream composed of four films, which might not be the biggest stream, but it's something good at least. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed myself all in one go. The last few activities in my life that I remember in the last week or so has been lying on bed sweating to death in the midst of a heatwave and blowing gunk out my nose in order to breathe through my hayfever outbreak. Well that's one of many among all my other genetic diseases that seem to thrive in their infection in the heat and commence to torture me during what should be the most beautiful time of the year. This is why I like the cold. The cold kills life effectively enough so that it can't bother me. It seems the only options that numb the sensations of my summer illnesses are either Benadryl or leaving the gas on and unfortunately I have guests at the moment who don't share my outlook on the issue. They'll be gone soon thank god.



Oh and of course any form of masturbation has been ruled out because that is just a potential dehydration death waiting to happen in this heat. If I have to endure heat stroke as a consequence of a dick stroke then I'll just lie here and waste my time with other equally demoralising things like boiling in the heat, trying to un-peel an orange and listening to Bruno Mars endlessly pouring out of Magic FM.

On a cinema note though I can't even remember the last time I saw a film I liked at the cinema up until yesterday. The early summer releases have only ended up making me angry and hateful. First there was Iron Man 3, which I and a few others alone seem to think was a really irritating mess of a film. Then there was Star Trek Into Darkness which had the same issue except this time the arrogant but charming main character was replaced with just an arrogant character except now you were trapped with him in space so there was no escape. Oh and he had an annoying friend who just spouted the word logical all the time as if it was a magic word like Abracadabra, and the spell it conjured only bought on plot conveniences. And finally there was Man of Steel, which is a film that feels more like a bad long term relationship in my mind, in that the more I think about and the more I remember it it actually dawns upon me that maybe it really wasn't that good and although it was exciting in the moment, maybe there was really nothing there at all.

But finally I managed to get to the cinema again in order to marathon a few of the midsummer films that have recently been released. I'm honoured in some ways that I have a group of friends who aren't against going to the cinema on a sunny day because they think it's a waste of the sunshine. At least it's air conditioned in the cinema and there's a chance you might enjoy yourself, as opposed to outside where everything's horrible and is out to burn your skin or make your nose pour out the unending contents of your brain until you can only sit there dazed and red nosed like a down and out alcoholic.




The films we saw were This Is The End, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldman's apocalyptic comedy about a group of comedians and funny actors who are stuck in James Franco's house during the rapture.







Then there was Pacific Rim, Guilmerro Del Toro's newest monster movie about giant future merchandise punching each other in the face.









Then there was Monster's University, Pixar's attempt to show they're not just pouring out sequels at the moment by giving us a prequel instead.









And finally there was The World's End, the final in the 'Blood and Cornetto' trilogy by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.






And you know what, they were all damn good movies and I suggest you go watch them. Maybe it was because I haven't seen a good film in a while and recently the cinema is just something I go to to give it money and have it piss me off like a sadistic prostitute. But these are doing the job of what summer blockbuster movies are supposed to do. They made me really entertained, had competent people working behind them, made me laugh, and in terms of the action department did the most important thing which was showing me something that I haven't seen before.

I'll rally though all the films because there really isn't much to say since I have no real complaints and since most of them are comedies all I can really say is that they made me laugh and if you can somehow work out whether or not we have the same sense of humour then you can judge whether or not they'll make you laugh as well.

This Is The End is a Seth Rogen comedy, it has a really good cast improvising some funny lines and it doesn't let the plot get in the way of it until the final few moments of the film. If you like Seth Rogen and dick jokes, then you'll probably like it to.

Pacific Rim is actually a harder film to recommend because I loved it whereas Simon and Aaron thought it was pretty average to terrible. However it was on individual aspects of the movie that we disagreed upon and not the movie as a whole. We all agreed that the robot fights are pretty incredible and nothing really on that scale has ever been attempted before (although at the end of the day because it's all CGI, the attempt is slightly less amazing when it involves just a guy coding at a computer, but this time the computer is abit better and is being fuelled by more money). The fights themselves though don't turn into Transformer's fights, which is on paper exactly the same as Pacific Rim. But what Pacific Rim does better is that it actually paces it's fights well, they're bigger, slower and generally just better choreographed and not just lots of CGI bashing into itself. The fights also happen consistently throughout the film and never outstay their welcome, so you get lots of fights, but never to the point where it's exhausting and dull to watch. Every set piece feels big and impressive and fun.

What everyone disagreed on however was the bits between the fights where the dialogue, characters and acting lay. Many critics I've seen have said that it's a real story about real people. We all agreed that they must've watched a different film and what you get is a pretty basic story about human survival, set in giant robots, with some pretty cardboard cut out characters, including a British scientist who even says "Tally Ho" at one point. It's written by Del Toro and although the guy likes comedy, I really think he is one of the most unfunny people I've ever seen. His jokes are obvious and pretty broad as hell, and if you saw and hated every joke in Hellboy 2 then you'll know what to expect. In all fairness though he is writing jokes in a second language and I'll be damned if I can say a single joke, let alone sentence in Spanish.

But none of that matters, bad acting and bad script aside, I genuinely think this movie, without it's monster fights would qualify as a so bad it's good film. The accents falter constantly, the script is awkward and the characters are rushed and basic. They stay stupid things, but throughout there's this macho-masculine seriousness to the whole thing that makes it hilarious. It's not a badly made film, but there are so many shitty components that it turns the rest of the movie into a giant shit machine, and it was hilarious. Whenever the robots fight it's fun and cool, and whenever the people speak it's retarded. If Del Toro made it to be like this, then maybe I'll have to take it back and call him a great comedian, but for the knock about B movie with a budget that it is, it's damn entertaining and I recommend it if you want to see some great action and can bear or enjoy the character sections, which alot of people will hate, but can be enjoyed for their awfulness.

Thirdly, there's Monster's University which surprised me alot in how well it manages to stand up with the original. I think the Monster's universe might just be interesting enough and limitless enough for jokes and content that you could really make any good film with it. Without the safety net of an original plot, they've taken the smart option of just having a solid but basic plot to the film, with no real twists and turns, and have just gone all out for laughs. Monster's University is one of the funniest films I've ever seen and is easily my favourite comedy of the year. It was a really just a college movie with Monsters in it and to be honest that was all it needed.

The plot is basic, really on comprising of just Mike and Sully hating each other, which causes them to get chucked out of scaring classes at University unless they can win a scaring competition to get themselves back into University and obviously along the way become the friends that they are in Monster's Inc. It never really veers from that setup, but it also never falls into the holes that many films like this would and manages to keep the tone light and interesting the whole way through. For instance, they don't start the third act with all the characters falling out and then realising that they need each other, effectively pissing away a quarter of the movie on sad montages of the characters walking around aimlessly. I rated the film highly just on that basis alone, without all the extra constant entertainment that comes with it.

Go and watch it. It's genuinely really good and one of my favourite Pixar movies. It feels more like old Pixar, back to its roots of just making entertaining and clever family films, removed from it's more recent attempts to create deeper and more emotional films under which I would class Walle, UP and Brave. There's no problem with those films, it's just good to see that they can still make a solid comedy like the original Toy Story or Bug's Life was and remind us that Cars was just a serious lack of judgement.

And finally we have The World's End. I'm not going to compare it to the other two movies: Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. This is such a strange trilogy because each one goes after such a different genre of film, sharing only a similar style of humour and some call back references here and there, that they're pretty hard to compare. But all I will say is that World's End is really funny and has a really good story. It's probably one of the more original ideas for a film that I've seen recently, a story about five old friends who return to their home town of Newton Haven to complete a drinking challenge known as The Golden Mile. They never did it when they were 18 and now they're back in their 40s to reluctantly try it again, forced by old leader Gary King who never left his teenage years behind him and has recently found himself lost and regretful having basically fucked up his entire life.. Unfortunately their drinking night is ruined when the whole town turns out to be the settlement of an alien invasion.

The script is great and the actors are all working at their best together. I will make a note that the role of Gary King is probably the best performance Simon Pegg has ever given. He's a genuinely quite unlikeable character, but Pegg manages to make him funny and somewhat understandable. It just surprised me as to how good of a performer Pegg has become, now that he's noticeably not playing a character who isn't himself, like Shaun, or with just a different accent, like Scotty.

So yes there's my round-up of the best action and comedy films I saw this week. If you have the free time and cash you should definitely go and check them out because they really were all very entertaining, though if I had to give a must see list out of them, then I'd recommended Monster's University and World's End the most of the group.

Anyway have fun if you do go and remember don't go and watch any of them in 3D. The quicker we stop funding it, the quicker it will go away.

22 comments:

  1. I'm waiting for Elysium, the film not the fields. Should be another good one...?

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    1. Elysium should be really good if it matches district 9 at all. One thing I enjoy about Blomkampf's films is how unsubtle the subtext is in his films. He's tackled racism with aliens, and now it's on to the class system featuring bald matt damon.

      Do you know of any other good sci fi's coming out this summer?

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    2. Enders Game coming out in November, ok not strictly the summer, starring Harrison Ford sounds interesting for two reasons. A. The alien race threatening the Earth are called 'buggers' and B. It's based on a book so may have more substance. You can see a trailer already on youtube. (Don't like the play on Endgame as it's too obvious but that could be me being hot and cross).

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    3. Haha, I'm guessing the buggers thing comes from the book being American and so the author not really noticing. That's why I want to move to China and start writing Sci Fi over there. I think the world needs an alien race called the shitcakes.

      Yeah I've seen people talking about Ender's game, although I'm worried to research it because it seems everyone in comments sections is discussing the book and I don't want to ruin it. Think I'll wait for some fans of the book to review it because I'm not really sure what it is, and I guess they would know a good Ender's movie when they see it.

      Have you read the book? Is the concept good and is there anything original or more interesting about it than just another fight for survival against aliens, cause that's what I'm seeing in the trailer.

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    4. No, haven't read the book. Never heard of the author either which worries me a bit. If he's good, why haven't I heard of him?

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    5. Because you're not cool enough to be part of the sci fi inner circle. They only tell their own because the rest of us just wouldn't get it. The very concept of an alien race called the buggers having a big fight with people is just too much to handle.

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  2. You've convinced me to go and see Monsters University.

    In return, you may not have heard of a new hayfever treatment called Grazax. You effectively put grass seed in your mouth which desensitizes you to, well grass seed. The treatment costs £100 a month but completely cures you after 3 yrs. Side effects: itchy tongue. I kid you not.

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    1. Hang on, is that a 100 quid a month for 3 years? Can't I jsut grab some grass seed from the garden?

      Interesting if it works though.

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    2. Tell me what you thought of MU by the way, it seems to be getting some average reviews and I'm not seeing why at all.

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    3. You are obviously subconsciously identifying with one of the monsters in MU, and everyone else isn't.

      By all means try real grass seed, certainly cheaper.

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  3. Will you be going to see the next Hobbit film?

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    1. I really don't want to, but I guess I've started the trilogy now so I'll go end it. It seems I feel conscripted to go and watch every big release, and then get angry when they're bad and wonder retardedly why they keep getting made.

      Also everyone else I know will watch it, especially Aaron since he actually liked the first one. So I may as well go just for something to talk about.

      I'm guessing you liked the Hobbit as well. I always feel jealous for people who did, really can't get into it like LOTR.

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    2. I liked the film, not the book. Liked Lord of the Rings as a book and will read it again when I have several months free. No matter it's failings, the whole thing is great escapism if you wish to escape.

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    3. Strange cause I liked the book of the hobbit but not the film. Maybe it was because it's so whimsical, and I really hate when Peter Jackson is being whimsical, they were my least favourite parts of the LOTR films. You're a brave man for attempting to read the trilogy though. I can respect that.

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  4. Heatwave over, thank God.

    Great article.

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    1. It is and yet weirdly my room acts like some sort of greenhouse and manages to sustain a rainforest level of humidity. I don't think all the machines spraying hot air into the room is helping though, but then how else will I enjoy my steam summer sale games.

      Glad you liked it, hope you like the films if you go to see them. Comment back if you do, especially about pacific rim, cause that's a very dodgy movie.

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  5. Re hayfever. Put vaseline in your nose.

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    1. hm okay I'll give anything a shot at this point. Thanks alot. Although based on the quality and usage of the one I already own, maybe it's a good idea to crack out a new bottle for anything going on the face.

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    2. I'm not asking, but it's taking a while to dispell the picture.

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    3. Don't lose it, let it take over you. Let it become your reality.

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  6. Are you absolutely sure you're not the long lost twin of Edward Snowden?

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    1. It's possible that we experienced some kind of parent trap situation and were separated at birth. But I want him to know that if I could offer political asylum in my house to him I would.

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