Fast & Furious 6

Former drag racer turned international bank robber Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has given up the life of the crime and settled down with his new girl Elena (Elsa Pataky) after the death of his wife, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). CIA Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who was last seen on the hunt for Toretto and his gang, shows up at Toretto’s home – not to arrest him, but to ask for his help, as Hobbs is now trying to arrest Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his team of master criminals and drivers, who are currently making Hobbs’ cops look like idiots. And apparently, the only way to catch an international thief with crazy driving skills and his similarly equipped team is to employ another set of international thieves with crazy driving skills. So why on Earth would Dom agree to help his former foe? Well, it turns out Letty may not have died after all, as Hobbs has a photo of her working for Shaw, so Dom calls up his team, and they set to work.
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Top 10 Films Adapted From Books (That I’ve Read)

This week I saw The Great Gatsby, something I’ve deeply regretted ever since. You can expect a less-than-complimentary review in the bear future, brace yourselves. I was thoroughly disappointed with the film, mostly because I’d read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel last year in preparation for the film, and really rather enjoyed it. This got me thinking about the best films adapted from books. However, the potential candidates for such a list would include roughly half of all films ever made, if not more, so I slimmed it down somewhat in the only manner I knew how, by making it about myself. Therefore, this is a list of my favourite films adapted from books that I’ve actually read, a list of books nowhere near long enough in my opinion, but with so many films to watch how can I hope to find the time to read more?

Anyway, the list is comprised of books I read before the films came out, some I was drawn to by the film, and others I read upon finding out the film was to be released, as was the case with Gatsby.

Honourable MentionJurassicParkAs much as I’d love Jurassic Park to be on this list, at present I’m only halfway through Michael Crichton’s so far excellent novel, so alas the best I can do is say the first half of Jurassic Park is my Honourable Mention. In terms of complete books, there are some adaptations that have done a stellar job in maintaining the themes and style of their source material – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is impenetrable and muddy, The Time Traveller’s Wife is bland and queasy, Touching The Void is gripping yet informative – whereas others have differed greatly from where they began – There Will Be Blood covers only a fraction of Upton Sinclair’s Oil!. I think I’ll settle upon Fight Club as my official honourable mention, and it remains the book I’ve read the fastest – in one sitting at that – and quite possibly in the same amount of time as it would have taken to watch the film. It is a rather slim book, you see, but well worth a read if you’re even a passing appreciator of the film.
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War Game

An amateur teenage English football team all sign up to fight in World War 1, much to the despair of their families. Whilst they believe, due to propaganda and peer pressure, that the war will be a bit of a lark, the reality is vastly different, consisting of trenches, terrible food and the possibility of death at every second. However, one Christmas in the trenches, an impromptu football game breaks out between the English and the German soldiers.

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Voyage Dans la Lune

Professor Barbenfouillis (thank you IMDb) has a plan. He wants to visit the moon, and he wants to take his esteemed friends and colleagues with him. So, the professor has built a rocket and a giant cannon with which to launch it, and he – along with five others – gamely climb aboard and set off on their voyage of discovery.

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Rich and Strange

Fred Hill (Henry Kendall) is tired of his lot in life. He works a dull job, which he travels to on a packed commuter train, and comes home to a small apartment where he and his wife Emily (Joan Barry) own little in the way of extravagant luxuries. Fred doesn’t think it’s fair that they don’t have expensive things, so he contacts his uncle, who is willing to allow Fred and Emily to have their inheritance now, before he dies, if it will make them happy. This prompts the now-happy couple to board a cruise ship and journey the world, but they discover they might have been happier when they were poorer.

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Top 10… Movie Superheroes

This week saw the drop of the latest episode of the Lambcast, on which the topic of discussion was Iron Man 3. Not only did I appear on this episode (something I’ve been making a bit of a habit of lately), but I only went and hosted it too! Apparently it didn’t go too badly, so I urge you all to listen to it, but only after going to see the film (which is pretty damn good), as Dylan, Lindsay, Bubbawheat and I got into some fairly heavy spoiler territory. Anyway, as I’ve been doing recently, I’ve tied this week’s Top 10 into the theme of the podcast (as will also be the case for the next two weeks, anticipation-lovers), and this week that means counting down my list of Top 10 Movie Superheroes. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean my favourite superhero movies, although in some respects they do pair up. No, this is more a list of the heroes themselves. I’ve tried to take into account if the character has been played by more than one person, although on occasion this hasn’t always worked in the character’s favour. Also, this is entirely based upon the character’s depiction in cinema, mainly because I’ve never read a comic book (the closest I’ve come are graphic novels Sin City, Preacher and Watchmen), and I’ve done my best to block out every Saturday morning cartoon I ever saw in the otherwise culturally empty void of my so-called childhood. I’ve tried to steer clear of sidekicks too, that’s a whole different list, as is super-villains.

Honourable Mentions:

Thor-007I think the position that’s hardest for me to decide upon each week is the Honourable Mentions. There are generally an awful lot of viable entrants, and this week is no exception, and as such I feel the need to offer the position to be shared once again. This week the honours go to Thor, a surprisingly funny chap (“How dare you attack the son of Odin!”), Hellboy, Big Daddy and, on occasion, Spider-Man. I was tempted to include the Human Torch too, because Chris Evans does a good job with him, but he’s just such a dickish character that I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Continue reading

Star Trek Into Darkness

Previously on Star Trek… James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) was born during an attack upon the spaceship his father, Thor, was briefly captaining. His Dad gave his life so James and his mother (House‘s Jennifer Morrison) could survive. James grew up to be a reckless, rebellious dropout with a way for the ladies but not much else going for him, until a bar fight saw him catch the eye of Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), a Starfleet captain, who recommended Kirk sign up. Kirk does so, and eventually ends up captaining Pike’s ship, the Starship Enterprise, along the way compiling a trusty crew including emotionless half Vulcan Spock (Zachary Qunito), frenetic engineer Scotty (Simon Pegg), ship’s doctor Bones (Karl Urban), communications officer Uhura (Zoe Saldana), helmsman Sulu (John Cho) and navigator Chekov (Anton Yelchin).

movies_startrekintodarkness1Now, Kirk is still captaining the Enterprise and investigating other planet’s life forms. On a routine reconnaissance mission to observe the primitive planet of Nibiru, things do not necessarily go to plan when an active volcano threatens to wipe out the indigenous species. Kirk’s solution to the predicament is frowned upon back at Starfleet, and his ship is taken away from him and returned to its former captain, Pike. Meanwhile, a former member of Starfleet, the necessarily tediously named John Harrison (played by the incredibly un-tediously named Benedict Cumberbatch), begins to wage a one-man war against Starfleet, beginning by blowing up a data archive. Kirk takes it upon himself to, along with the rest of his crew, track Harrison down and bring him to justice. Continue reading

Top 10… Animated Disney Movies

PinocchioWell look at that, I’ve gone and been on the Lambcast again. This week’s episode saw myself, Nick, Kristen, Dylan and, via pre-recordings Pat, discuss the Disney renaissance, the nine films released by Disney from The Little Mermaid to Tarzan. The show ran a little long – two and a half hours in total – but it’s well worth a listen. Anyway, to celebrate, here’s my list of the top 10 animated Disney films. I haven’t included any of the films Disney has made with Pixar, or any of their non-animated efforts, this list is just cartoons.

Honourable mentions:

frogvillainOf the 52 animated feature films Disney has released, I can remember having seen a total of 22 (and I’ve not really heard of eight of them. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some of the other ones, but I can’t for the life of me recall anything about the likes of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, The Fox and The Hound or even Dinosaur, a film I should justifiably adore because of the subject matter, and one that I’m pretty sure I saw at the cinema. Therefore, there’s a total of twelve films outside of the top 10 that are eligible for the Honourable Mention slot on this list. Of these twelve, I think it’s going to be shared between Pinocchio and The Princess and the Frog. Pinocchio is a classic, the second feature length animation Disney released after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The story is a bit nuts – a toymaker wishes on a star and his latest marionette comes to life, before going on a series of adventures that involve smoke-ring-blowing mammals, boys being turned into donkeys and eventually everyone being eaten by a whale – but the animation is great. The Princess and the Frog may seem an odd choice too, but I liked the idea of a strong, independent heroine who had a dream and intended to work hard to achieve it, and the villain – voiced by Keith David – is one of my favourites from Disney.

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Flushed Away

flushed-away-3_1162513793Pampered pet rat Roddy St. James (Hugh Jackman) may appear to live the life of luxury with his lavish Kensington home, gargantuan television and high class lifestyle, but his existence is lonely, and he craves companionship. When his owners leave him for a few days, his world is rocked by the arrival of loutish hooligan sewer rat Sid (Shane Richie), who takes over the house and ridicules Roddy’s way of life. Roddy’s plan to evict Sid – via the toilet bubble bath – goes awry, and results in Roddy being flushed instead, leaving him lost in the vast underworld of London’s sewage system, where he becomes intricated with Kate Winslet’s tomboyish Rita and a plot involving a royal ruby, a computer cable belt and a mysterious plot concocted by sewer mafia boss The Toad (Ian McKellen).

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Top 10… Active Directors

I recently appeared on episode #164 of the Lambcast, along with Nick from the Cinematic Katzenjammer, Pat from 100 Years of Movies and Kristen from Journeys in Classic Film. Our chosen topic of discussion was our top five active directors, and provoked some interesting thoughts including why none of us like Terrence Malick. I recommend listening to the episode, if only to hear us ruthlessly mock Nick for his first-time presenting skills, but the show also inspired me to expand upon my list for this week’s Top 10.

So today, here is my list of Top 10 Active Directors. My choices are generally based on two things: the director’s recent body of work, and their upcoming work or last film(s). This prevented me from putting, say, Steven Spielberg as no. 1 purely on the basis of Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan, because technically he is still working today, but in my opinion he peaked a good few years ago

Honourable mentions:

Fincher

This is a list for which there could potentially be dozens of honourable mentions, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to just a few. First up is David Fincher, who has yet to make a film I haven’t at least liked, if not really loved. The reason he hasn’t placed higher is that although I’m always eager to see his films, I’ve never actually made it into the cinemas to see them, and I’ve had the DVD of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo sat on my bookshelf for almost 6 months and still haven’t watched it. There’s no real reason for this other than finding the time to watch it with my girlfriend not around – there could be more rape scenes than she’d enjoy – but I feel my lack of excitement excludes him from the list. Next is Joss Whedon, whose Avengers Assemble was every bit as awesomely exhilarating as I’d hoped, and the trailer for Much Ado About Nothing looks decent too. Plus, the dude made Serenity, and has Avengers 2 on his slate. Other names I’d considered include Zack Snyder (who alas has had two unappealing flops for his most recent films, but Man of Steel looks promising), Martin Scorsese (I don’t deny he makes incredible films, but I don’t actually out-and-out love any of them as much as others seem to) and Sam Mendes (I loved Skyfall, Away We Go, American Beauty and Road to Perdition, but I don’t think he has any films in the works). The likes of Andrew Stanton, Danny Boyle, Robert Zemeckis, James Cameron, Adam McKay, James Gunn and Gore Verbinski can be considered as honourable mentions for the honourable mentions list. Continue reading