If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you!  
If need be, I will have to shoot you for not seeing it!

Serenity, Joss Whedon’s directorial debut in my film of the year! Although it must be known that with Serenity I may be a little fan-boyish, big fan of the series… and a big fan of the film. So here is comes the review you’ve all been waiting for, hopefully it will be my best one yet!

I must say that I did not actually know that Serenity was being made until earlier this year, neither did I care. I only really watched Firefly in the summer, so I am relatively new to the particular story, but I knew that when I really got into Firefly it was like Buffy and Angel (in particular) all over again. Rarely does a series usually entrap me to the point of needing to squeeze in the next episode etc. I am a sucker for what Whedon delivers; I know all too well that some people cannot stand it. But with his mix of humour, character development, and stories, they’re always winners to me.
… So anyway back to the story. I hadn’t even known there was a film in production until www.ctrlaltdel-online.com posted a link to the trailer, I watched it and thought, ‘meh’ I’ll probably watch it.. now I am flabbergasted, the film was exactly as I had hoped for, and one of the most enjoyable films that I believe I may have ever seen at the cinema.. strangely television is always more enjoyable..

So, directed by Joss Whedon- of who I am a big fan of; his episodes are always the best written and more often then not, the best! (Don’t complain, I’m a big fan girl!)- Starring Nathan Fillion (Malcolm Reynolds), Summer Glau (River), Sean Maher (Simon), Adam Baldwin (Jayne), Jewel Staite (Kaylee), Moreena Baccarin (Inara), Gina Torres (Zoe), Alan Tudyk (Wash), Ron Glass (Shepard Book) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (The Operative).

There was only really one avenue that Joss Whedon could travel when thinking of a film for his sleeper show: Firefly. With nine characters to the idea, only River was the most promising that a film could be made about (Or perhaps Shepard but its all too late now!) either way, besides changing a few things around, I believe it worked rather well, The dead people looked pretty good, I only hope that he will continue Firefly in some form or another.

In comment to the actors... The actors worked just as perfect on film as they did on television. Pretty much nobody in the cast has performed in a film where they were a main part. But everyone really nailed it on the head, Mal was just as funny as ever. Though I felt that Jayne was a bit left behind, usually he carried more funny lines. Unfortunately a host of the characters were pushed into the background, with little coming from Simon, Kaylee, Inara, Zoe, Wash and Shepard, the whole film seemed to be focused on Mal and River. Which I cannot complain about, but it was Wash and Shepard’s last chance to reveal their pasts.
What more can I say, Chiwetel was pretty good as the operative, I would have preferred another character like Jubal Early (Objects in Space) but he was sufficient; a bad guy with no sense of morals beside his own, ruthless and fighting the cause.

The screenplay was exactly as I expected, perhaps there were a few more jokes added into the script than I expected, but everything that ‘made’ Firefly was still there. The great characters still had their charm, the set design, and script. Amazing in my opinion.

In absolutely loving the series, the film was just heightened to excellence. I can list things all day for what I enjoyed, so I’ll simplify it.. the actors, what can I say, I am still in love with each and every one, and although it seemed a few of them were kept in the shadows, they were still included nonetheless. Although I can not help but wonder, if Joss Whedon does attempt to take Firefly any further what will its focus be??
The film was awesome, granted it had its lows (some very unexpected deaths) and I would have rather it been otherwise, but it was necessary; two characters that perhaps were needed to die. Perhaps this will possibly open new avenues of places to explore, if continued.

As for bad points… now when I say bad points, in terms of Serenity I am picking holes (which I love to do so much) Most of my problems were the changes from the series, which were very much understandable, but anyway…
The beginning, I was confused, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. It sorta turned around some of what had originally supposed to have taken place (Ariel). The film also seemed to focus more on the futuristic side of the idea, not much western could be seen, which was sorely missed by myself; with this also said there was little Chinese spoken. Whereas in the series people would be spouting it all the time… I suppose it was not to scare some people off.
I was also very disappointed in not seeing hide nor hair of the blue handed men!! Who were the some of the most sinister antagonists I had ever seen on television.

I feel I should do some ranting, because I feel strongly for the film, but I think I cannot because it was so long ago that I watched it… something along the lines of “Why Joss Why!!”… but then that would be childish, so I am deciding not to moan (too much) and keep calm and collected, this is, after all, a very serious review.

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 10/10!!
Watching it late night on a Friday was a great experience, the cinema was pack with people and everyone seemed to enjoy it, even if the other person who went to see it with us thought that everyone should have died


Broken Flowers

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you!
If need be I will bore your eyes out for you  

Broken Flowers, a film that I jumped at the chance to see; being very surprised that they would show such a film at our cinema. This was obvious as there was one person present at the screening besides us. But it was a fun film, but then it had to be starring Bill Murray.

So, directed by Jim Jarmusch- of whose films I have never seen, although I own Ghost Dog…- Starring Bill Murray (Don Johnston), Jeffrey Wright (Winston), Mark Webber (The Kid), and a host of women, that I will not name, because there were quite a few.

I thought that the film began rather well it had a nice pace about it, most probably symbolic with Murray’s age in the film; who has seemed to of picked up a sort of deadpan demeanour, something that I always love in comedies.
Murray’s character Don Johnston seems to care about little in life. Until one day a letter is delivered, that brings with it a seemingly life-changing event that he seems to care little about. The journey of the story is created by Don’s neighbour Winston (Wright) who sends Don off to find the woman that had given birth to a son that he never knew about. The film ends sort of at an open path. The event has nonetheless changed Don and his outlook, but it did not manage to bring the story to a close, which much like A History of Violence; people will not like the end.
I thought it was funny though…

In comment to the actors... it couldn’t get any better, the film features many actresses that I have not seen in films for years; Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Julie Delpy, Tilda Swinton, and Jessica Lange. But of course through all these women Bill Murray was the highpoint of the entire film, with most comedic actors going stale by Murray’s age I still think that he’s fantastic –everyone can be forgiven for some bad choices of course… Garfield??

The screenplay was excellent, very cleverly written screenplay with much humour and story within. Good good, and the story was pretty good also, though you sorta guessed where it was going...

I loved the uncomfortable silences throughout the film… the humour was great, loved the part with Lolita –that was hilarious. It was all-round the sort of comedy I wish was shown more at the cinema, not the horrible teen comedy that is dominant currently.

As for bad points- I did not like how the film focused on the pink letter at the beginning of the film, it felt like something Mr Morris would say you should do to show its importance.

Overall it was a great film! Possibly not for everyone, but it was excellent, the film looked as though he didn’t even use a set designer etc, looked all very normal… I suppose, but yeah great.

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 7/10

Not exactly the film that I expected, with no clear ending, but very enjoyable nonetheless.


Corpse Bride

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you!  
If need be I gladly take your eyes for you

Corpse Bride; the third stop animation film with Tim Burton’s name stamped on it. To tell it straight, it wasn’t actually the film that I was hoping, or rather expecting for that matter. Much like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I must say that I was not that impressed.

Directed by Tim Burton- of whose work I believe is continually dropping in standard, -Pee Wee’s Big Adventure being one of my favourites- Starring Johnny Depp (Victor Van Dort), Helena Bonham Carter (Corpse Bride), Emily Watson (Victoria Everglot), and way too many people to mention, sorry but with such a film, there were way too many characters, so I have accounted for the three main roles.

Like I mention a thousand times in this review, I liked the story. The two young people, Victoria (Watson) and Victor (Depp) are arranged to be married; without previously meeting each other. With Victor not particularly good at ‘the whole marriage thing’ he freaks and runs from a rehearsal and mistakenly marries the corpse bride (Bonham Carter) who was killed by her original husband for her money.
As you can guess the two are unable to stay married, and as it turns out Victor is announced as running off with another woman. Wherein Barkis Bittern (Richard E. Grant) steps in and replaces Victor and attempts to marry Victoria believing that her family is rich. I will not spoil the whole film though… so watch it, its only 76mins long.

In comment to the actors... the voice acting was pretty good, being a big fan of video games I am used to awful voice acting. The voice acting was nice with a host of famousy people, both American and English its always great trying to recognise peoples voices. Gotta say though, my favourite person in the whole film had to be Victoria, simply because you can’t not like Emily Watson, she’s just so innocent (and she has been to me ever since Punch Drunk Love).

The screenplay was pretty standard Burton, some funny lines, and funny occurrences, alongside a nice story. Not much else to say, Burton can be good at telling a story.

I must say, that similar to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, there are only snippets of the film that I can say I actually enjoyed. First off, I liked the story itself (I heard it was based on some old story), and I enjoyed the scene in the pub. Other than the overall look of the film, nothing else surpassed me as great. I felt the animation was handled really well, with some nice cinematography and some pretty models the film looked nice, and perhaps if muted to a degree the film would have been a lot better.

As for bad points- Seeing as they wanted to make the film a musical; which I believe was not needed at all. This was because, in my opinion there was only one half decent song (in the weird underworld pub/bar thing with the dancing skeletons). But I felt that unlike the Nightmare Before Christmas –which is an enjoyable film- that every song was unnecessary, and I do not put it down to my hearing (because I have the ears of a rabbit), but I could not hear a word of what they were singing about, it was all just simply incomprehenable (made up word).
It also seemed a little long –and seeing as it was only 76mins long, which must be bad!

Overall it was an ok film, nowhere near the spectacle of the Nightmare Before Christmas but some nice stop animation; a good change from the overly-made CGI films produced. It’d be fun for maybe children, or die-hard Burton fans…

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 6 /10

Like I mentioned it was not the film that I had expected. The crowds of people (about 3 besides us) were the only present at the screening towards the end of its run at our cinema. It was ok, but like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I am not anticipating its release.


Saw II

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you!  
If need be I poke your eyes out for you!  

Saw II, is apparently the second film in a set that is said will hold many other sequels… um yay.

At this point you are all thinking “Where is your Serenity review??!” well in answer to all your questioning. I am holding it off so I that I can write a darn good review on it! So don’t ‘spec to be seeing it until my review of Broken Flowers is on the table.

So, directed by some guy… Darren Lynn Bousman- who didn’t actually direct the original, strange huh?- Starring Donnie Wahlberg (Eric Mason), Shawnee Smith (Amanda),and I’m going to end it at Tobin Bell (Jigsaw), this mainly because all the other characters/actors were not really present for a particular reason. They were just there to die.

Saw II follows Eric Mason (Wahlberg) and his messed up life to the point to where his son is kidnapped to join in the games of Jigsaw; as he traps at least 10 (I think) people in a house. Informing them that they have been injected with a lethal nerve gas and will die eventually without help of the vaccines strewn throughout the house, but with the drive to survive in each person, one by one they die, either by the hand of another or through their own personal gain. The story is nothing special, though guessing the twist (because you know there had to be one) is always a bit of fun, though I am not the biggest fan of where they went with the twist.
Expect as much gore and more than the original! Fans of twisted violence, this may be your film… fans of good acting, story etc, perhaps not your cup of tea.

In comment to the actors... they were not too good at acting, I do not think I can actually comment… the plethora of characters were really nothing special, sort of what I expected in a way. Apart from Donnie Wahlberg- although even he just played angry cop- and Tobin Bell I can’t say that I actually ‘liked’ any of the actors.

The screenplay was to be expected from a gore induced flick, with some bad predictable lines, only a few shone through with the reflection that someone was thinking when they wrote it. The story is almost non-existent; just a chance to revolt people.

In not being a fan of most horror films I’m going to say that I enjoyed Saw II but only as a piece of entertainment, nothing more. I loved being able to cringe at points, for a movie to obviously get me so engrossed to cringe I applaud it. But the film itself is nothing ground breaking, it had similar strong points to Saw; being a FEW snappy lines, some strong main characters, though only two that I could stand. Whereas Saw had Danny Glover, I cannot say there was anyone present of his stature…

As for bad points- I must say that the original Saw contained far better actors, aside from having Cary Elwes as one of the main characters. Whereas in Saw II they felt the need to introduce about ten people who were all going to die anyway, so I didn’t care much for them. Another problem I found with the film was its twist, I didn’t like how they left it so open for a sequel I fear that its followers may become more than disastrous. Although the pointers to the end were pretty easy to guess, ‘cept the last one, which I thought was clever.
The sequel was also not as cryptic as the original, something I sorely missed.

Overall it was an ok film. It was only really good for the gore and wince inducing moments. There is not much strong acting to be found here, so Saw II is the movie you may rent for a night of scary movies, not as profound as Saw was, but at the same standard.

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 6 1/2/10
It was fun to see such a film at the cinema, although the gang of chavs terrorising our cinema was not the nicest experience in the world…


If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you!

Downfall, wow what can I say, my first foreign language film at a cinema. I must admit the subtitles weren’t too handy right at the bottom of the screen. But I have to say that Downfall is one of the best German films that I have ever seen (this is based on me not actually watching any German films other than Run Lola Run; which is pretty awesome as well… I really need to get hold of some Fritz Lang, my Werner Herzog collection is on the way though)
Just would like to say, that I am reviewing this simply as a film, not of its representation of Germany, Hitler, nor the lack of responsibility that it apparently takes.

So, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel- who also directed Das Experiment (which I was going to buy, but purchased MPD Psycho instead)- Starring Bruno Ganz (Adolf Hitler), Alexandra Maria Lara (Traudl Junge), Corinna Harfouch (Magda Goebbels), Ulrich Matthes- who I thought was really scary looking (Joseph Goebbels) and Juliane Kohler as the always scary Eva Braun.

When I first heard of the film, I had assumed it was about Hitler in his last days, that’s it the end. But I was surprised to find it focused around a young Traudl Junge, who worked as Hitlers secretary during his downfall.
The film begins as a young Traudl Junge is chosen to be Hitler’s secretary. The film captures the tragic figure that Hitler towards the end of his days, believing that the Germans were always going to win the war, even so as his authority is eroded and everyone but himself will acknowledge the fact that they have lost.
As we follow Junge’s life in the heavily fortified underground bunker, we are laid witness to a host of characters, namely the Goebbels, who remain loyal to the Fuhrer to the end, and the very strange case that is Eva Braun.
We are taken to the end of the war, with only a few survivors of Hitlers ranks, running far and fast until only Junge and a young boy (Peter Kranz) ride off into the sunset on a bicycle, in the hopes of finding a ‘better Germany’.

In comment to the actors... in my opinion they were fantastic, Bruno Ganz played the most tragic and heartfelt Hitler I have ever laid witness to (taking into account the only representations of Hitler that I have seen were in Indiana Jones and if you count it; The Great Dictator). Now I’m not a scholar on Hitler, but I must say that I going to guess that he got it right down to the mark. As for Alexandra Maria Lara I must say that she looked a little more wide eyed than I would have liked, but she played the part rather well, although it was difficult to notice her seeing as Ganz stole the show. But there were also some nice performances shown in Speer (Heino Ferch), as well as the Goebbels and many of the other characters whose names I very regretfully cannot remember.

The screenplay was excellent, based around two books on Hitler’s downfall, and from Junge’s narration at the beginning of the film to the very last lines that she speaks are powerfully tragic and amazingly written, the whole film helped along by the screenplay, making it feel as though you were in Berlin at the time.

With such a tragic film its not too hard to guess that all of the great parts would be gut wrenchingly sad. So anyway, onto the good bits:
Firstly the scene where Mrs Goebbel ‘spares’ her children’s lives was awful, such a tragic moment, great as well if you ask me (have to see it for yourself). I only wish I could think of other great points… there was the great scene with Peter and a bunch of other small children firing on the allies. I thought that that was very good, especially when they all died… how morbid do I sound. The deaths and suicides of many others also made good scenes.
There were also some quite memorable spats between Hitler and his generals, having you feel great sympathy for this man who was trying everything that he could to attempt to win the war.

As for bad points.. I do not think I actually have any complaints of the film itself. The screening at my cinema was not too good, but the film was awesome, no whining here my friend (at least none that I can remember).

Overall it was an excellent film, perhaps not for all with its German subtitles.. I remember that my older sister was offered to join us, and she wanted to until she found it was German… a great film to watch if you want to see a lovely tragic piece of cinema, showing Hitler as a frail old man.

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 9/10

Thankfully the matinee showed on the day we had off. And I must admit the experience was pretty awesome, after only paying £3 for the both of us, and sitting amongst hoards of older generations is pretty weird considering I don’t usually see older people in cinemas.
To tell it straight, we were the youngest people in the cinema, two guys looked a couple of years younger, then that was it, the rest of the cinema was packed with older people.


A History of Violence

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you!
If need be I will shoot your eyes for you!

A History of Violence, Mr Cronenberg’s newest film, renowned for many violent and graphical films, it would seem that A History of Violence was made more for the masses in some aspects. But that didn’t particularly mean that it appealed to them.

The film was actually particularly hard to get into seeing as the people who served us would not believe that we were eighteen, and we without ID, had to find someone that looked older to buy them for us.

So, directed by David Cronenberg- of which I have only seen Spider (which I thought was good)- Starring Viggo Mortensen (Tom Stall), Mario Bello (Eddie Stall), Ed Harris (Carl Fogarty), William Hurt (Richie Cusack) and Ashton Holmes (Jack Stall).

The film follows Tom Stall (Mortensen) the owner of a small diner, in a peaceful little town, with his loving family. Late one night two crooks harass the diner, and the quaint storeowner turns the tables, killing both men, not soon after he is hailed as a local hero. Tom, none too pleased of the attention, blows off the incident. But not son after a small group of mysterious men (led by Harris) visit the area and start harassing him. With the introduction of the mysterious characters Tom has to upset his once peaceful world again to confront his past, and protect his family.

In comment to the actors... I very much liked William Hurt’s character, funny and menacing, and the same goes for Ed Harris. As for Viggo Mortensen, I am not sure, truth be told, I’ve never really paid attention to him, so his acting just seemed on par with everyone else.

The screenplay was … it was good at times, but some lines were awful, all was very bearable for the film. I am rarely impressed by screenplays these days. But the story was ok, it was just delivered a little strangely.

I particularly liked the first shot, lasting well over five minutes it was a superb beginning, although a little easy to predict; either way it was good I liked that part. For my introduction to Mr Cronenberg’s film it wasn’t bad in my opinion, there was some pretty snazzy violence, and some nice comical touches.

As for bad points- I do agree with some that the end just came about, a little open..

Overall it is not the film for everyone, some may not like the films slow premise and be wary of its conclusion

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 6 1/2/10
‘twas an ok film, and everyone seemed as clueless as each other about the ending…


Land of the Dead

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you!
I will be fitting, and if need be I will consume your eyes for you

Land of the Dead, Romero’s fourth in the Dead series, I and Catherine had already planned to see the film after witnessing the pretty awesome looking trailer that we partook in, before seeing Red Eye.

So, directed by George Romero- of whose films I must say I have never actually seen- Starring Simon Baker (Riley), John Leguizamo (Cholo), Dennis Hopper (Kaufman), Asia Argento (Slack) Robert Joy (Charlie) and not forgetting Eugene Clark (Big Daddy).

I thought that the film began rather well, summing up the taking over of the dead, with some nice twitchiness on the credits, as well as some eating.
The film was, I must say I little different that I had expected, with the evolving intelligence I was not surprised (dumb zombies would not attract so well, which is why they are always upping the AI in Resident Evil), but it just seemed a little so-so.
It follows almost three stories; the good guys (Riley, Slack and Charlie), the bad guys (Kaufman) and the confused (Big Daddy and his posse). This I thought was rather strange of a zombie film; to creative zombies that were emotive.
To sell it short, the good guys escape, the bad guys die, and the confused lot are left to their own.

In comment to the actors... they were not too good at acting, I do not think I can actually comment… the zombies did pretty good zombies, but the actual characters were really nothing special, sort of what I expected in a way. Apart from the fact that they placed a daft character, that everyone has to feel some pang of pity for.

The screenplay was to be expected from a zombie flick. Some bad lines, and nothing special, but you go to be shocked by the effects, and makeup, I couldn’t care less of the screenplay in these terms.

In absolutely loving zombie video games but never watching a film based around the creatures, I must say I was thoroughly impressed, the devouring of people looked fantastic, the zombie’s makeup was also out of this world, they all looked so pathetic and endearing; the way zombies are meant to be.
Mwhahaha you jumped Catherine!! There are many jumpy points in the film, more often than none, they are false shocks, but they aren’t bad, fans of jumpy films, watch Land of the Dead!!

As for bad points- I cannot think of any besides the not so spectacular acting and the not so brilliant screenplay. I liked it for the pretty gore.

Overall it was a great film if you want to go to be entertained, it did seem to drag on a bit; possible because I needed the toilet… but if you want to be entertained I recommend it.. so the acting isn’t too great and everything is a little cliché, but in the spirit of things who cares!!

Cptalbertwesker Rating - 7/10
Was a great experience watching at the cinema, first real zombie film I’ve seen (28 Days Later does not count). Also rather fun when a couple of people behind us said ‘awww’ when Big Daddy lovingly picked up the gas pump.

Cinderella Man

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you!  
If need be, I will gladly scratch your eyes for you! (doesn’t that just sound more violent that gouge)

Ron Howard. Wow, when was the last time I watched a movie released by him!!
Yeah um, it was out of Green Street, The Man and The Longest Yard, so I gladly chose the movie that wouldn’t hopefully suck; Cinderella Man.

I’m not personally a boxing fan, I mean I watch Rocky sometimes when it’s on. But I’m not a die-hard fan, but it turned out not too centred on the boxing.. so if you’re not a boxing fan, then you can watch away.

Directed by Ron Howard, of Splash, Willow and many other great 80s films, and starring Russell Crowe (Jim Braddock), Renee Zellweger (Mae Braddock), Paul Giamtti (Joe Gould) and Craig Bierko (Max Baer).

The film was nice, telling the story of boxer Jim Braddock; his fall from greatness during the depression, and his magical revival. It’s one of those films that are really made for the Oscars to suck up on, nothing too brilliant, but the stuff that they want to be shown giving Oscars to. We see James J. Braddock (Cinderella Man) fighting to keep his family survive. With old injuries kicking up, he is rendered unable to work, and after much discretion he returns to the ring; full of hope and spirit to keep his family living through the cold winter. After rocketing through the ranks he chooses to take on the heavyweight champion (Max Baer); renowned for killing two men in the ring.

In comment to the actors, Russell Crowe played the guy that’s been done tons of times before him, the big brute with a heart, his performance was heartfelt, but not as fantastic as performances I have seen in the past. As for Renee Zellweger, I cannot stand her; she was the usual doting wife, scared for her family and for her husband. I am unable to comment to well, because she’s too annoying… Craig Bierko was the usual dramatic bad guy, rich powerful and mean, what more can I say…
Paul Giamatti was the guy going for an Oscar, and I would be surprised if he doesn’t at least get nominated.

The screenplay was to be expected from such a dramatic film, some laughs, some sad moments… nothing awe inspiring.. but some good entertainment nonetheless. The characters written were a little standard, would have expected more from the film, at least the actors saved it.

I don’t really have much to say about the film. It was better than I thought it would be…  I suppose when you go to see a dramatic boxing film, you should at least expect to be entertained, and that I indeed was. I must say it was entertaining to see a grown man eat like a dog out of a bowl, and it was nice to see a film about a family, actually showing that the parents loved their children, most of the time it isn’t as obvious as it should be.

Thinking back to watching the film a good month ago, good points keep popping into my head, I can never remember the bad unless its awful. So I’ll have to say the film is near flawless, except for Renee Zellwegger, so I give you a seven.

Overall it was a family film, the kinda thing that they’d show at Christmas on a chilly night. It was a lot more profound that Red Eye in the awe inspiring sense. But then they make these sort of films to make people believe that they can do something meaningful with their lives. A nice drama, containing all the usual elements, accompanied by some nice performances by some of the cast.

Cptalbertwesker Rating - 7/10
Shown on one of the biggest cinema screens that I have ever seen, with only about five or six people watching it, how ironic.