Tag Archives: Movies

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Bloggerfan

This is not a review, I cannot stress this enough…

This is instead, a recounting of my thoughts and feelings following my viewing of Edgar Wright’s newest film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Why is this not a review then? well to be perfectly frank, because I am entirely too biased to review this movie.

First off, I love Scott Pilgrim, as you may know if you read this post I wrote a while back. Secondly, I love Edgar Wright, both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were fantastic movies in my eyes. Thirdly, there is hardly an actor in the film I didn’t already like before seeing the movie, from Michael Cera right down to Jason Schwartzman…so yeah, you can see why I wouldn’t be exactly a reliable review to go on.

However I will go on to write about how and why I loved this movie, because frankly it’s my damn blog and what better things have I got to do on a Sunday morning?

So, the movie. Set in the heart of downtown Toronto Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is the story of a slacker in his mid twenties who has fallen in love with quite literally the girl of his dreams, and in order to win her heart he must first defeat her 7 evil exes. you still with me?

So the movie is based on a series of comics written and illustrated by Torontonian Bryan Lee O’Malley. The comics themselves were unique and original for their blend of video game themes, hipster scene setting, and manga inspired art. The story is covered over 6 volumes and over the course of the story the characters grow and mature, leading to what I felt to be one of the most satisfying endings in a series of graphic novels.

As for the movie, Wright does a fantastic job of staying true to the style of the comic, blending comic book sound effects cleverly with stylized video game references and sounds (like some classic 8-bit Zelda) as well as a soundtrack filled with the lo-fi garage and indie sounds which O’Malley was inspired by when writing the books themselves. The result is a fast paced off-beat adventure that plays out as a sort of romantic action comedy…thing. Though some elements of the comics are omitted and the chronology happens a little different from the graphic novels, the movie resounds as one of the purest adaptations of a comic into a film in my eyes if for nothing else for holding true to the feel of the comic. Wright does a fantastic job of keeping the story larger than life while keeping the characters very grounded, as in the comics, the story is about taking a relatively mundane love story and turning it into something exciting and surreal by portraying it through a sort of generational mind’s eye. Ultimately, the movie captures this feeling every bit as well as the comics did.

If I were to complain about something, it would be that the movie tries to cram a little too much into too short a timeframe. The end comes off feeling a bit rushed as they race to find a conclusion within the 112 minutes they had to pull 6 years of storytelling off. It’s still good, but it’s frenetic and doesn’t linger on any particular thought too long. I can’t say this is a film for everyone, this is the sort of movie you have to go in with a pretty open mind, if you’re coming in a skeptic, you’re probably going to stay skeptical. It’s the kind of movie that will either sweep you off your feet, or leave you completely nonplussed, wondering what the hell just happened. If you’re the kind of person who waits for the Oscar nominations to come out before deciding what they’re going to rent (and you know who you are!) then you almost certainly will not like this movie. Is is serious? no. Is it gripping? no. Will it entertain you? quite possibly.

While I’m on my tangent I’ll do a quick little mention of all things Scott Pilgrim that have been released recently.

First, Scott Pilgrim volume 6 came out last month and as I have said it was excellent, the conclusion to the series proves to be in my mind O’Malley’s finest effort. The characters have developed extremely well and the finale is one of truly epic proportions.

Next the game, Along with the movie was a downloadable release on the PSN and Xbox Live for Scott Pilgrim vs The World the game. The game is a true homage to the old school beat-em up. With an all 8-bit art style the game looks like something you would have played on a Nintendo and has all the staples of the genre. The game supports up to 4 players of local co-op and sports an level up system which provides a surprising amount of depth for such a seemingly simplistic game. Dabblers be forewarned though, the game is hard as hell, and without co-op it can be absolutely infuriating as you spend a good 20 minutes hazarding a level, only to die and start at the beginning all over again. However all in all its a great experience and a true throwback that still manages to keep it fresh. This screenshot should say it all:

I know, cool right?

and lastly the soundtrack, yeah it’s awesome…get it…and all that.

as usual I’ve droned on entirely too long…I’ll shut up now.

Update: you can get a little tidbit of Scott Pilgrim here by checking out Scott Pilgrim vs The Animation


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I Watched a Movie a While Back

So the title pretty much says it all.

I watched a movie a while back, and given that it was a relatively limited release I may as well review it now (3 weeks after I saw it). Given that it may very well still be in select theatres and also because chances are you won’t go out and watch it anyway, it really makes no difference if I do so now as opposed to immediately after I saw it.

So what movie you ask? praying I may at last get to my point so reading this article might soon come to a close. Well let me tell you what movie! Jim Sheridan’s dramatic film Brothers.

If you’re not familiar with Jim Sheridan, he is the auteur responsible for the oscar winning Daniel Day-Lewis triumph My Left Foot and of course more recently his tour de force piece of shit Get Rich or Die Tryin` which tells the epic tale of the venerable actor rapper Curtis `50 cent`Jackson…but I digress

The movie stars Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, and Jake Gyllenhaal in a story about a marine with a perfect family life that all goes to hell when he is captured in Afghanistan and is presumed dead (for a trailer go here). Without giving too much away essentially the marine`s brother (Gyllenhaal) steps in and sees to helping the family through and ends up becoming very close with them. The Marine (Maguire) returns and is emotionally unstable and as a result must try to return to his family life, and overcome the suspicions he has of his brother and his wife (Portman).

So what to make of the film then, the story is one of genuine substance, focusing on the adverse effects of post-traumatic stress which alienate the marine and the power of redemption a loving family has on a troubled and misguided person. The characters drive the story and are complex and well portrayed, the cast is very small and you really get a good sense of every character in the story and get to see a great deal of emotional range. Maguire is easily the worst fit here, due to his flat portrayal of the loving family man. Considering though that Maguire delivers a chilling performance towards the end of the movie as a man lost in his own perennial nightmare speaks volumes then as to just how good the performances of this cast truly were. The film does stumble however, with it`s chief issues being pacing and some poor editing choices, cause the movie to at times sag and lose momentum. Music cut to montages of the brother with the family is cheery like something out of a Disney movie despite the scene having a certain eeriness, and stirring scenes conveying emotional tidal waves seem to come and go in the blink of an eye, swaddled with empty fluff showing mundane family activities ad nauseum.

The film ultimately falls short of greatness, though certainly still maintaining the ability to hold your interest for a full 104 mins getting you to genuinely care about the characters in the story. The greatest thing I can say about this film is that it feels as though it’s about real people, which is truly a credit to the actors.

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On Other Things I Like!

Two posts in one week!? HAS HE GONE MAD!??!?!?!…!? Nonsense, I simply felt you’ve been a particularly good readership this week (for no justifiable reason actually) and I thought I would treat you with yet another poignant critique for both your reading pleasure and cultural education. No need to thank me, I already know I’m fantastic.

So as a change of pace I thought I might review a movie, and of the in theatre variety. This week I went out and saw An Education, a 60’s era love story directed by Lone Scherfig (of absolutely nothing notable fame) starring a rather unknown young actress Carey Mulligan with a cast of some very notable actors including Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Olivia Williams, and Emma Thompson. If you’re looking at this cast and thinking this must be some sort of art house picture…you’re very much right. In fact, I had to get myself to the most arty and small little cinema in my admittedly uncultured city to go see it. poster_an_educationAs you can probably see on the very pretty poster directly above, the story was written by Nick Hornby. Those of you unaware Nick Hornby is a famous Novelist known best for his novels About a Boy and High Fidelity, However I think it’s important to point out here that he didn’t originally write this story. It was actually originally a memoir published by Lynn Barber. There is really no significant reason for me to be telling you this in regards to the style of the writing or tone of the film, I just think it’s important because if any of you reading this are so inclined to read the book, you’ll know which one to go out and read, rather than reading the novel based on the screenplay, which merely laces the pockets of an already quite successful novelist. So on to the movie itself, The story is about one Jenny, a bright young 16-year-old girl on her way to going to Oxford to become an educated woman so she can live the live that her parents think would be best for her. En route to that glorious future Jenny encounters a charming older man named David (Sarsgaard) and is quickly swept off her feet. Before long she is skipping class to spend time with him and his friends Danny (Dominic Cooper) and Helen (Rosamund Pike) who live a carefree lifestyle seemingly devoid of boring obligations or financial woes. Seeing this lifestyle that she had never even thought existed before, Jenny begins to contemplate a future without going to Oxford. However as she learns more and more of the truth about David and his carefree lifestyle everything begins to fall apart and everything she had worked so hard for comes crashing down around her.

sarsgaard-education

Loosely paraphrased of course

So now down to the fun part then, I get to tell you what I thought of it. which I like doing. Mostly because I like to write things that I think, for instance I think that puffy winter coats should be filled with marshmallows for a more delicious variant of insulation. But I digress… Joking aside I really did like this movie, it was clever, sincere, and stylish. The era was captured beautifully, with costumes and props all looking immaculate. I honestly feel that Alfred Molina really stole the show whenever he was on camera, its actually a shame that his character wasn’t featured more, he perfectly captured the essence of a worrying middle-class british father and made some incredible transitions from funny to fearsome to endearing throughout the film. To be fair, there weren’t really any weaknesses to be found in the acting, everyone was excellent, but Molina’s experience and talent was undeniably noteworthy. The story itself was an interesting one, and underneath the story of a girl enamored with the glitter of a luxurious lifestyle lay a much deeper theme of questioning social pressures and expectations, as well as self-discovery. My only complaint about the film is really it’s pacing. The story, while interesting, is pretty linear and doesn’t feature a whole lot of twists or sub-plots. It’s not really something I can fault the director for, it runs at a very reasonable 95 minutes. The problem is really that the story just needs to have more to it to make it a feature film, at least thats my opinion.

verdict: 8/10

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