Sunday, June 30, 2013


Whedon expresses his admiration
of Nathan Fillion
Here's my latest podcast reviewing Joss Whedon's wonderfully pared down, intelligent, laugh-out loud funny version of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Filmed as a kind of palette cleanser between filming and editing AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, the movie has a kind of gonzo feel to it, and just goes to show that when you have world-class dialogue you don't need special effects to keep us hooked. I love the performances, the way Whedon privileges the text, and Nathan Fillion steals the show as the comic relief.  For more, take a listen.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING played Toronto 2012 and is currently on release in the USA, Canada, the UK and Ireland. It opens in Brazil on July 5th.

The film is rated PG 13 in the USA and has a running time of 109 minutes.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


I WANT YOUR LOVE is documentary film-maker Travis Matthews' first feature, revisiting material from his critically acclaimed IN THEIR ROOMS series. It focuses on a group of gay friends in San Francisco on the weekend when thirtysomething conceptual artist Jesse has to return to his family in Ohio.  The movie explores Jesse's ambiguous feelings about leaving, the difficulty of letting go of old relationships, and the doubt and vulnerability that comes with forging new ones. It's a wonderful, naturalistic, intimate and - controversially - very sexually explicit film.

I WANT YOUR LOVE is rated 18 in the US and UK for explicit unsimulated gay sex.  It is currently on very limited release in London.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Here's my ten minute movie review of the new summer comedy from director Shawn Levy (NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM) and stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. It would be easy to be cynical about the laziness of reuniting the stars of THE WEDDING CRASHERS as essentially the same wise-cracking characters in a narrative that bears no small resemblance to DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY.  But I have to say that I was entirely won over by this loveable, touching, laugh-out-loud funny and actually pretty intelligent movie. Also, it's not all old-hat - newcomer Max Minghella totally steals the show as the obligatory douchebag.

THE INTERNSHIP has a rating of PG-13 in the USA and a running time of 119 minutes.

THE INTERNSHIP is on release in the USA, Australia, Bahrain, Hungary, Lebanon, New Zealand, Portugal, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Serbia, Russia, Colombia, Poland and Sweden. It opens this weekend in Belgium, Egypt, France, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece, Israel, Macedonia, Slovenia, Romania, Spain and Taiwan. It opens in the UK, Ireland and Norway on July 3rd; in Denmark, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Finland and Turkey on July 12th; on August 2nd in Mexico and Ecuador; on August 9th in Bolivia and Uruguay; on August 22nd in Argentina, Singapore and Venezuela; on August 29th in Peru and Brazil; in Germany on September 19th; and in Chile and Italy on September 26th.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


So here's a quick ten minute audio review of Brad Pitt's passion project, WORLD WAR Z, based on one my favourite novels of the past decade.  I went into this flick worried about the "troubled" nature of this project - budget over-runs, re-writes - and director Marc Forster's poor track record with big budget action flicks (QUANTUM OF SOLACE, m'lud).  To be sure, the tonal shift is obvious where Damon Lindelof takes over the writing, and this is a very different beast to the novel.  But overall, I really enjoyed it - in fact, it's arguably the best of the summer blockbusters to date. Tune in for more....

WORLD WAR Z has been rated PG-13 in the USA and has a running time of 116 minutes.

WORLD WAR Z is on release in the USA, Egypt, Hong Kong, the Philippines, South Africa, Australia, Bosnia, Croatia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the UAE, Bulgaria, Canada, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Lithuania, Mexico, Romania, Turkey, the UK and Vietnam. It opens on June 27th in Argentina, Austria, Cambodia, Chile, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Peru, Russia, Switzerland, the Ukraine, Brazil, Colombia, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia and Panama. It opens on July 3rd in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Poland; on July 11th in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden; on July 19th in Finland; on August 2nd in Spain; on August 10th in Japan and on August 16th in Venezuela.

Monday, June 24, 2013


THIS IS THE END is a ludicrously indulgent comedy made by the folks who brought you PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, and less impressively, SUPERBAD. It basically features a group of real life Hollywood actors and comedians - Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson - who are partying at Franco's house when the Apocalypse begins.  The movie sees them whole up in house while the world goes to shit, until they're forced out to face their final judgement.   The actors all play fictionalised versions of themselves, which allows screenwriters and directors Evan Goldberg and Rogen to satirise Hollywood excess and solipsism. I loved this opening act, with its sly in-jokes about the actors' box office failures and each actors' media persona.  James Franco is game, allowing references to rumours that he's gay, although I thought the depiction of Michael Cera as a coke-head was just bizarre rather than actually funny.  And even after they hole up in Franco's house, I liked the idea that these guys would have absolutely no survival skills, but would amuse themselves by Sweding a PINEAPPLE EXPRESS sequel.

The intellectual problem with THIS IS THE END is its hypocrisy.  It's a movie that satirises the naval-gazing self-indulgence of Hollywood, but is itself something of an indulgent vanity project.  One can only hope that the writers were aware of this, but I detected more self-congratulation that rapier-like wit in their puppyish joy at inflicting the Backstreet Boys on the audience.  The more basic problem with THIS IS THE END is the uneven pacing and narrative drift that settles in when, well, the main characters settle in to Fort Franco.  To be sure, the movie gets an adrenaline shot to the heart in a superbly executed cameos from a deranged Emma Watson (how much more piquant than the more obvious first casting choice of Mila Kunis!) and Channing Tatum in a gimp suit.  But once the crew are holed up, there's literally not much to do other than bitch about how Danny McBride is selfishly eating all the food, and drawing straws for expeditions to forage for food. Oh, and a momentarily amusing but basically weak-ass EXORCIST spoof. The screenwriters have to clumsily force the crew outside just to bring the movie to a close, and the quite literal deus ex machina feels very weak and forced.  For religious groups to be offended is laughable - it gives the film too much credit.  I was far less offended by the notion that there's weed in heaven, than by having to listen to the Backstreet Boys.

So, THIS IS THE END is no SUPERBAD or YOUR HIGHNESS - offensive and puerile - nor is it THE GUILT TRIP - quite simply unfunny and tedious.  It has its moments, and  I certainly laughed out loud more than once.   In fact, I still laugh out loud when I think of the word "gluten".  But this is no instant cult classic a la PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, I can't help but wish that instead of this uneven film we'd had a genuine EXPRESS sequel with a properly honed script, characters I could fall in love with, and real narrative tension.

THIS IS THE END is on release in the USA, Canada, Jamaica and New Zealand. It opens on June 8th in the UK, Ireland, Spain and Vietnam. It opens on July 5th in Iceland, Portugal and Estonia; on July 18th in Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, the Dominican Republic, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore and Uruguay; on August 1st in Greece; on August 8th in Croatia and Ecuador; on August 16th in Colombia; on August 22nd in Hungary, Israel and Austria and on August 29th in Germany and the Netherlands. It opens on September 5th in Slovakia and Slovenia; on September 11th in Egypt, France and Switzerland, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Syria, the UAE, Latvia, Poland, Romania, South Africa and Turkey; on September 18th in Belgium, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Russia, Serbia, Taiwan, Thailand, the Ukraine, Kenya, Lithuania, and Nigeria; on September 27th in Hong Kong, South Korea, Brazil, Bulgaria, Finland, and Norway. It opens in India on October 4th; in Sweden on October 25th; in Denmark on November 14th; in Chile on November 28th; in Venezuela on November 29th and in Peru on December 5th.

THIS IS THE END is rated R in the USA and has a running time of 107 minutes.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


SYRUP is a tonally uneven, unfunny but provocative satirical romance starring Amber Heard (THE RUM DIARIES) and Shiloh Fernandez (EVIL DEAD) as two media obsessed  advertising execs who fall for each other despite their inability to lead authentic lives.  Fernandez plays Scat - a slacker who has one good idea - to great an energy drink called Fukk. It doesn't care what it tastes like. The taste is not the point. And of course it's a runaway success. In the midst of all this he falls for the marketing exec Six, oh yes, complete with ludicrous back story of how she came up with that name. Because Amber Heard, dressing way above her age and clearly angling for the remake of BASIC INSTINCT, is so wrapped up in creating the perfect image of herself, she doesn't actually know how to express her own name and back story.  Corporate shenanigans ensue.  In the cut-throat capitalist world every great marketing scheme runs the risk of a social media backfire and when both characters hit the buffers real feelings start to be revealed, insofar as they can be.

As rom-coms go the movie has few laughs and the characters aren't that engaging. The irritatingly smug straight to camera exposition is, well, irritating, in the same manner as Don Cheadle in the TV show House of Cards. But somewhere amidst the rather soupy and predictable romance there's a telling satire on marketing and mass hype which piqued my interest. It may not have satisfied it, but elevated this film from being utterly unmemorable.

SYRUP has a running time of 90 minutes and is rated R.  The movie is available on streaming services.

Monday, June 03, 2013


For the first time in the history of this blog, my review of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS take the form of a spoiler filled podcast hosted by Vikram of the Vassals of Kingsgrave podcast. Listen to us have a semi-serious discussion of the merits of the film before comprehensively trawling over the plot holes and hair product lapses in a movie that entertained us, but also set back the cause of feminism thirty years. Share and enjoy!

Download the MP3 here.
Stream from GrooveShark here.
Or download from the mirror here.
The Vassals of Kingsgrave can also be subscribed to on iTunes.