Enemy At The Gates: Stalingrad is being attacked by the Nazis, and after a Russian sniper terrorises the Germans, they send their top marksman from a Berlin Sniper School in for an epic sharpshooting duel. How could a film about a sniper battle be so boring? There’s only a handful of kills and the rest is hammy, over-sentimental, schmaltzy war boringness and distracting “human element” side-story shite. The cast are confusing as shit too: there’s English people with cockney accents playing Russians, American’s doing German “Vith and Ak-scent”, and Ron Perlman (American) trying an English accent in order to fit in with ‘team Russia’ – accent-mageddon. I’m also pretty sure that no Russian ever spoke about “tea and a biscuit”. The look, feel and tone of the movie all reek of something from the 1950s – including bad acting, a poor script, the worst / most awkward love scene of the 2000’s, and a terrible “classic cinema” score that tells you exactly when you should be excited, crying etc. This is a film that starts off like Private Ryan on a budget and goes downhill from there. Utter war-pants.
Sons of Anarchy: follows a group of Californian outlaw bikers as their gang is squeezed by rivals, the cops, the feds, and themselves. The main story lies with Jax, the second-in-command of the gang, who’s dead dad co-founded it with the current leader, but after finding his dad’s unpublished book, he realises that SAMCRO has gone down a bad route – this is a good foundation for the show, but the ‘dead dad narration’ angle is cheesy beyond belief. To keep it interesting, the writers have stuffed in as much sexy chicks, loud Harley bikes, stacks of money, booze, gunfights, boxing as they could shove in, to appeal to the manly man inside you. Yet, despite all of the fireworks, it always returns to the theme of ‘family’, which for most of the guys is the club. For something centered around bikers, there’s a surprisingly high number of interesting characters: including a random Scottish guy (with an unapologetically thick Scottish accent) and several well-developed female characters, which lead to some unorthodox storylines, like a woman going through menopause! The cops feel like cops, bikers feel like bikers and everyone slots in nicely other than the lead (Jax) who feels a little miscast, but I guess he’s supposed to be more morally sound. What also sets this apart from run-of-the-mill shows is a thick streak of very black humour, that makes you crack a smile, even when the guys are dong despicable acts. Overall, the show starts off slow, but builds up a steam in the second half with several all-killer, action-packed, explosive storylines. Whilst Sons of Anarchy Season 1 is entertaining, watchable, and surprisingly moreish. there’s some room for improvement.
Drive: Follows a professional stunt driver (moonlighting getaway driver) as he makes a unique connection with his neighbour, and her criminal husband. This is a fascinating mix of raw drama and the most brutal violence you’ll see all year. Gosling is phenomenal; with so few lines (but when he speaks, he means it) this could have gone pear-shaped but his entire body tells so much more about the methodical, isolated driver character than any script could. The rest of the cast do well to keep up, except Ron Perlman, who is, as always, categorically pants – at least he’s consistent! What’s most apparent is that the film’s meticulously put together; tension levels are unbearable in parts (opening 15 will blow you away), music’s memorable and used effectively, general ambience is great, and it’s stylishly filmed yet maintains a painfully indie vibe – you couldn’t really ask for more in a film. Hopefully, this will have a bigger longer life in DVD players than the two-weeks it appears to be getting in most cinemas.
5ive Girls: Q: What do you get when you mix the following: a sadistic (borderline lesbian) head teacher, Alcoholic (touchy feely) priest, five hot-but-too-old-to-be-real school chicks, a dead ex-pupil and a creepy janitor? A: Yet another unnecessary horror movie. Poor script, terrible acting, and a generally pants story about witches. “Possessive nouns” did get a laugh, and why is the devil always so nasty in horror films? To top it off, the soundtrack was so upbeat it felt like it was lifted from an American Pie film. Even Hellboy couldn’t save this. Shockingly bad.