GregHorrorShow: The Films Of 2012

Losers

I think 2012 has been one of my more prolific film watching years in recent times – granted 99% of these were on DVD but I still got to see some great stuff. Here’s what I’d recommend seeing:

  • Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
  • District 9
  • Star Trek
  • Thor
  • The Road
  • The Losers
  • Moon
  • Seven Psychopaths
  • The Avengers
  • 13 Assassins
  • The Town
  • Total Recall (1987)
  • The Artist
  • Drive
  • Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Let me start with my favourite film of 2012, which will probably come as no surprise to anyone who read the review, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble (or just The Avengers as I like to call it 😆 ). I’m not a comic book guy although I had seen the films based around these characters (Thor also made the list – really enjoyed that) but I am a big Joss Whedon fan and I was glad to see him deliver in such style. I can’t wait to check this out again soon.

AvengersFOTY

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World was a film I wished I’d seen in the cinema but just never got around to it. Very quirky and definitely one for the geeks 😆

I thought District 9 raised some really good points about segregation and class issues, while also being a thoroughly entertaining sci-fi flick. I’ve never been a Star Trek fan but I liked the ‘reboot’ and the highlight for me was Karl Urban as ‘Bones’ – great casting and a spot on performance.

I was prepared for The Road as I had read the book and it was as depressing and bleak as I expected. Wonderful acting from Viggo Mortensen – he’s become one of those actors I trust, I’ll always give the film a chance if he’s involved, a talented actor.

Moon

A big surprise for me was The Losers which was one my favourite films of the last few years – it’s how I imagine a Battlefield: Bad Company film would be. Funny with larger than life characters and some huge explosions. Very cool.

Another actor I’ve grown to trust is Sam Rockwell, who I rate as one of the best in his generation. Moon cements this and Rockwell is outstanding. This is a great film that is both sad and moving. Really recommended. Rockwell was also in Seven Psychopaths, alongside Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken and Colin Farrell. I thought that was a great film as well. Very funny in places with some memorable performances.

13 Assassins was a crazy movie that took bloodshed to a new level. With some great swordplay and interesting characters this was one foreign language film that really delivered. Ben Affleck seems to be getting better and better behind the camera. The Town was a well crafted and nicely shot heist flick that was full of great acting. I liked the sense of tension and sinister undercurrent that ran throughout.

As a blast from the past I watched Total Recall (1987), which I’d previously only seen on VHS (yep that long). I barely remembered any of it to be honest so it was fun to check it out and discuss the various theories on the film with LeftyFlip.

Drive

I finally got round to seeing The Artist, which I thought was good – maybe not quite as great as everyone said but definitely worth watching. Another big film of last year that I caught up with was Drive, which I thought was fantastic. I think the ‘more-style-than-substance’ arguments I’d seen are valid but it’s still a cool, if violent, crime flick.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol lived up to it’s blockbuster billing and I really enjoyed the chemistry between the characters – I hope they bring them back together for another one.

So there you go, those are the films I watched this year that I think you should check out. Any I missed? I do have a backlog (including True Grit, which I *really* must watch soon) but any suggestions are most welcome.

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Marvel’s Avengers Assemble – Review (Film)

 

*This review is entirely spoiler free, for anyone who hasn’t seen the film yet (what are you waiting for? Go now!)*

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Where to start?

The great acting?

The brilliant special effects?

The amazing script?

Ok, ok. Let’s back this up a bit before I fall into an abyss of gushing.

Joss Whedon is probably my favourite person in the audiovisual world – Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly/Serenity, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog… the man can do no wrong. He even wrote the screenplay for Toy Story for heaven’s sake!

BUT there is always that flicker of doubt. ‘Joss Whedon to helm Avengers movie’ was the headline. Joy was the initial reaction (although I didn’t have any idea what the Avengers were beyond being a team of superheroes) but as time went on I did think – can he deliver with this? It’s a HUGE movie and look at the people involved.

I needn’t have worried at all – Marvel’s Avengers Assemble (to give the film it’s full title) is an absolutely fantastic movie.

Getting all of these actors – the majority of whom have their own films as these characters already – to team up and share the screen shows some serious management ability.

And they all deliver – I’m not really a fan of Scarlett Johannson but she was great as Black Widow. Mark Ruffalo was the big doubt for me but he is the best Hulk I’ve seen on the big screen. The rest of the cast are all on form – Robert Downey Jr continues to impress me, I used to really dislike him but in the last 4 or 5 years he has won me over.

Speaking with others who’ve seen the film the big hook for everyone appears to be the comedy and wit that flows through the script – it’s classic Whedon for those of us who know his work. The balance of seriousness and comedy is so well done you can’t help but get swept up in the sheer enthusiasm the film has.

I have no intention of discussing the plot or anything that might spoil the film. It’s a nice bit of background to have seen the accompanying films (Iron Man/Captain America/Thor) but by no means essential. This is a self contained film that tells you everything you need to know about what is going on.

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble is the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen. To actually get that many characters & actors together, have them feel genuinely like a team and for the movie not to totally suck is great. Go see it!

Rating: 10/10

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Captain America: The First Avenger – Review (Film)

I am very excited about the upcoming Avengers movie. Joss Whedon is one of my favourite creative people in the industry and the fact he is helming such a huge blockbuster fills me with confidence.

Having only seen the first Iron Man film I figured I should start making my way through some of the other Avengers character films, starting with Captain America: The First Avenger.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Captain America, having had a toy figure of him when I was kid as part of a Marvel playset. Still, I have no idea what his story is or where he comes from.

Fortunately for me Chris Evans is on hand to relive Captain America’s genesis story. He plays Steve Rogers, a scrawny kid who is desperate to join the army and fight for his country. Unfortunately he’s too small and has lots of illnesses which prevent him from doing so.

Eventually his persistence pays off and they accept him… but only as part of a top secret government project that involves trying to create a ‘super-soldier.’

The film has just the right balance of comedy and action – even after Evan’s transformation the film doesn’t immediate follow the path you would presume it would take, which was a refreshing change.

And that transformation is seriously well done – the CGI making Evans appear smaller than he really is had me impressed and it makes a huge difference than if they had just had him go from normal to having super muscles.

Unfortunately I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that this film was just a set up to the franchise and that Captain America’s real adventures will begin in his next film (as well as being a part of The Avengers).

A lot of the battle/action sequences felt like ‘action-by-numbers’ and I didn’t feel that the story was anything special – although the filmmakers have to go by the story that exists so you can’t complain too much I suppose. The ending was great though and is a cool set up for them to take the character forward.

Overall Captain America is an average, if enjoyable, action romp that has some decent character CGI and does a nice job of setting up the franchise. Worth a watch but there is nothing ground-breaking here.

Rating: 6/10

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GregHorrorShow TV Awards 2009

Continuing the awards season, we arrive at the TV section.

While I think TV has tailed off over the last few years, and been replaced in a lot of quarters by gaming, there are still great shows out there.

So here’s what I thought was worthy of a look in 2009…

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BEST COMEDY SHOW

WINNER: Flight Of The Conchords (BBC2)

Flight Of The Conchords is such a great show, jam packed with quality songs that it just can’t overlooked. The story of Brett and Jermaine, along with manager Murray, as they try to make it big as a band in New York. Brilliant.

RUNNERS UP:

Gavin And Stacey (BBC1)

Mock The Week (BBC2)

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BEST FACTUAL SHOW

WINNER: Hairy Bikers Tour Of Britain (Cookery – BBC2)

As I’ve said before, I love the Hairy Bikers and this show was a wonderfully informative look at the various counties around the UK. Showing a traditional dish from each region and having a ‘cook off’ against a local chef really gave you a flavour of each part of the country.

RUNNERS UP:

Queens Of British Pop (Music – BBC4)

Match Of The Day 2 (Sport – BBC2)

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BEST SOUNDTRACK

WINNER: Flight Of The Conchords (BBC2)

As I said above this show had such great songs that I couldn’t not give it the gong here. “Hurt Feelings” was a particular highlight for me 😆

RUNNERS UP:

Ashes To Ashes (BBC1)

Hairy Bikers Tour Of Britain (BBC2)

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WORST TV SHOW

WINNER: Demons (ITV)

I was pysched for Demons, as I thought it could be a UK version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer – instead we got a half assed show which started badly and faded from there. Avoid. 😦

RUNNERS UP:

Merlin (BBC)

The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Perrin (BBC)

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BEST NEW SHOW

WINNER: Dollhouse (SciFi)

Already being a fan of Joss Whedon I was predisposed to like Dollhouse from the start and while the first few epiosdes were a bit shaky the show soon hit it’s stride and never looked back. Telling the story of an undercover operation that takes volunteers, wipes their memories and then implants new memories to cater for whatever engagement they are assigned to. Fantastic. 😎

RUNNERS UP:

True Blood (Fox)

Warehouse 13 (SciFi)

Flash Forward (Five)

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ACTOR OF THE YEAR (TV)

WINNER: Philip Glenister (DCI Gene Hunt – Ashes To Ashes)

Ashes To Ashes was really enjoyable and the highlight was the tension between Hunt and leading lady Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes). Glenister is probably always gonna be known as Hunt and for good reason. His performances are brilliant and some of the one liners/terminology the writers give him are awesome.

RUNNERS UP:

Fran Kranz (Topher Brink – Dollhouse)

Jack Coleman (Noah Bennett – Heroes)

Eddie McClintock (Pete Latimer – Warehouse 13)

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ACTRESS OF THE YEAR (TV)

WINNER: Summer Glau (Cameron – Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles)

I was so disappointed that this show got cancelled as it seemed to be really finding it’s feet. Summer Glau’s performance as Cameron, the female Terminator was especially convincing and I thought she caught the innocence of the role extremely well. Her banter with John Connor seemed fairly natural as well.

RUNNERS UP:

Dichen Lachman (Sierra – Dollhouse)

Jennifer Love Hewitt (Melinda Gordon – Ghost Whisperer)

Joanne Kelly (Myka Bering – Warehouse 13)

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TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Dollhouse (SciFi)

The premise of Dollhouse (see above) sounds as crazy as it is but the show really came together for the latter part of the first series and the second series has also started strongly (despite poor ratings and a cancellation). I literally could not wait for this show every week. And that is the sign of a brilliant TV show.

RUNNERS UP:

Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (SciFi)

Heroes (BBC2)

Warehouse 13 (SciFi)

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And there we have it. Any stuff I missed that I should check out? (Except The Wire, which I’m working on) Give me a shout.

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TV: Cancellations And Catching Up

sarahconnor

TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES

Wow. Just can’t believe this show has been cancelled. I know it’s down to bad viewing figures but I suspect it’s Friday night slot didn’t help matters.

Apart from one episode (the “Spiritual” one, seriously what were they thinking?) Sarah Connor Chronicles has been bang on the money every week.

The (slightly creepy) relationship between Cameron and John Connor really delevoped and. Summer Glau was brilliant as Cameron. Some of her delivery was the highlight of the show for me, it was like having a kickass version of Will Ferrell’s Buddy The Elf. 🙂

I really enjoyed this show and still have a flicker of hope it might be picked up by another network.

If not I’ll be waiting for some sort of Blu-Ray boxset of all the seasons so I can relive it all again!

 

primeval

PRIMEVAL

Season 3 of Primeval is scooting along at a great pace and the episode involving Abby’s brother visiting the future was probably the best one I’ve ever seen.

On the whole despite losing a main character or two the show is developing nicely and should be the source of some good old fashioned family fun going onwards.

The special effects deserve a mention as well as they are a vast improvement on previous series and hopefully this standard will be kept as the series continues.

I think there is still plenty of mileage in the format – especially with regard to them being able to go through the anamolies as well.

 

pushingdaisies

PUSHING DAISIES

Ah Pushing Daisies.

Brilliant start to the first season, so-so end of first season but this season has been immense and while I agree the show’s arching storyline hasn’t fascinated me the individual storylines per episode have been great.

Very well written and the comedic timing of all the actors (especially Chi McBride who plays Emerson Cod) has been excellent.

I’m still not sure how this had declining viewers and got cancelled – this season has been really good.

Looking forward to seeing how they wrap the storyline up – this is one show I’m really hoping does have a happy ending.

 

earl

MY NAME IS EARL

Looks like I’ll be trying to find something to watch next year with all these shows being cancelled 😡

Again I thought this season was a return to form for My Name Is Earl and whilst I can understand that the list idea might be getting stale for some people the scope for where this can go – even at this stage of the show’s life is a positive thing for me.

Someone has started the traditional ‘save our show’ campaign but is it too little too late?

It will be a shame to see Earl leave our screens but it’s been a fun few seasons.

 

dollhouse

DOLLHOUSE

Well at least one of these bad boys has been renewed for another season! 😎

Eliza Dushku stars as Echo, one of several ‘dolls’ in the aforementioned house.

Basically people who, for one reason or another (yet to be revealed) are now human shells.

They are hired by high paying clients, who dictate who they want them to be abd how they want them to act.

A specific set of ‘skills’ are imprinted into the them and off they go. None the wiser, doing whatever they are supposed to before returning to the Dollhouse to have their imprints and memories wiped so they can start all over.

Coming from Joss Whedon (Buffy, Firefly, Dr Horrible) I was expected it to be good but it’s exceeded expectations and it’s nice to tuck into a new US show knowing it’ll get a second season.

 

ghostwhisperer

GHOST WHISPERER

Melinda (Jennifer Love-Hewitt) and Jim (David Conrad) return to our screens picking up where they left off.

Melinda is still helping people with their nearest and dearest who won’t move on to the other side.

Professor Payne (Jay Mohr) has left, which I feel may leave a void as Mohr’s comedy brings a nice light touch to proceedings usually.

One thing that confused me – the tears when he left from Melinda, worried about a friend or something more romantic?

I thought the former but a fair few others think the latter.

Have only seen one episode so far so can’t judge the season just yet but it’s nice to have it back on the Sky+ planner 😎

 

flight

FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS

New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk parody act return with a second series that sees the band managerless but getting into the usual scrapes – before Murray returns to… well get them into more scrapes to be honest. 😆

The songs are still just as strong and the episode where Jermaine becomes a gigolo was wickedly funny.

I heard this will be the final season as they don’t want the songs to weaken which I can understand but it’ll be a sad day when Brett, Jermaine and Murray hold their last band meeting.

If you’ve never seen Flight Of The Conchords before check out the video below from season one to see what you’re missing.