GregHorrorShow Film Awards 2009

It’s been a good year for film, with lots of great releases. I don’t get to the flicks as much as I used to so these awards might have a touch of the DVD’s about them 😆

Here we go…

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BEST TRAILER

WINNER: Zombieland

This trailer perfectly captures the feel of this film and I ended up watching it several times as it was just funny as hell. A good advert for a brilliant film.

RUNNERS UP:

Sherlock Holmes

The Hangover

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BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS

WINNER: Watchmen

You can say what you like about the film itself but I don’t think anyone could argue with the fact that the special effects in Watchmen were absolutely superb. From Dr Manhattan to the other heroes and even the city itself, this was a truly stunning experience.

RUNNERS UP:

Zombieland

The Damned Utd

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BEST SOUNDTRACK

WINNER: The Boat That Rocked

I’m sure people will question the quality of this film for a long while to come but one thing that can’t be questioned is the quality of the soundtrack: The Who, Dusty Springfield, The Beach Boys, Smokey Robinson, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and The Kinks are just a few of the bands to feature in what was the highlight of the film… it’s soundtrack. 

RUNNERS UP:

Watchmen

Zombieland

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BEST COMEDY

WINNER: The Hangover

A close call this one as all three of these films were absolutely superb but I’m still chuckling over Zach Galifianakis’ performance. The story of the Stag Night from hell, with no-one remembering a thing, the groom missing and the time until the wedding ticking away – The Hangover is essential viewing.

RUNNERS UP:

I Love You, Man

Role Models

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MOST ANTICIPATED FILM OF 2010

WINNER: Kick Ass

I’ve already seen a rough cut of this and can confirm it was fantastic, even in it’s unfinished state. Stand out performances throughout and big props to Nic Cage for his role as well. Check it out when it hits next year.

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BEST ACTOR

WINNER: Mickey Rourke (Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson – The Wrestler)

The Wrestler was such an emotional film it had to have some strong performances and Mickey Rourke really nailed it in his role as aging wrestling star Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson. The scenes with his daughter were among the most touching I’ve seen in a long time and it looks like he invested a lot in the performance.

RUNNERS UP:

Jackie Earle Haley (Walter Kovacs / Rorschach – Watchmen)

Michael Sheen (David Frost – Frost/Nixon)

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BEST ACTRESS

WINNER: Rachel McAdam (Della Frye – State Of Play)

I almost gave this to Abigail Breslin for her stirling showing in Zombieland but in the end, looking back over the year, it was Rachel McAdams performance in political thriller State Of Play as journalist Della Frye that really impressed me. Firstly because it was a great bit of acting and secondly because I’d only ever seen McAdam in rom coms and it’s always nice to see an actor/actress leave their comfort zone and put on a good show.

RUNNERS UP:

Abigail Breslin (Little Rock – Zombieland)

Marisa Tomei (Cassidy – The Wrestler)

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FILM OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Zombieland

Head and shoulders above everything else I saw this year was the superb Zombieland. The tale of four survivors of a zombie outbreak just trying to stay alive long enough to learn to trust each other. Great performances from all four leads, and a wonderful cameo I had no prior knowledge of, made this a joy to watch.

Close behind were The Wrestler, a truly touching tale of an aging ring warrior and Watchmen, which I really enjoyed even if most of the World didn’t 🙂

RUNNERS UP:

The Wrestler

Watchmen

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So that wraps up the film awards for 2009 – only games to go now!

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Watchmen – Film Review

As someone who only really became aware of Watchmen when the first trailers for the film were released last year I was tempted into reading the graphic novel over the Christmas break.

I hadn’t read a ‘comic’ in about 18 or 20 years and didn’t really have much of an interest in them but with the film version coming up I figured I would give it go.

What happened, as I suspect it does for a lot of people, is that I couldn’t put it down! I really enjoyed it and so my interest in the film reached an even higher level. 😀

Watchmen tells the story of a group of former vigilantes, who discover they are being targeted one by one.

The story takes place in an alternate 1985 where costumed vigilantes have been outlawed for almost a decade.

The Watchmen consist of the following costumed ‘heroes’:

The Comedian

Employed by the government when superheroes are outlawed, The Comedian is a nasty piece of work who seemingly doesn’t give a damn about anything. It’s his murder that kicks events off to their dramatic conclusion.

Rorschach

Rorschach is the only member of Watchmen still active and fighting crime. He wears a white mask with a constantly changing ink blot to cover his face, is a brutal fighter and feels he needs to take a moral stand against the filth on the streets.

Nite Owl II

Nite Owl II is a lot like Batman, he has a similar style outfit and is more likely to use gadgets than weapons. The only differences are that he works as part of a group rather than alone and that away from the costume he’s just a regular guy.

Dr Manhattan

Scientist Jon Osterman became Dr Manhattan when he was caught in an “Intrinsic Field Subtractor” in 1959. This gives him abilities far beyond what man can comprehend, let alone ever dream to use. He is also employed by the US Government and is dating Silk Spectre II when the story begins.

Silk Spectre II

The daughter of the original Silk Spectre and lover of Dr Manhattan – Laurie Juspeczyk hits hard and fast, using her smaller frame to launch herself at opponents. She became a superhero to please her mother but seems to relish the role when she steps back into costume.

Ozymandias

Veidt

Ozymandias retired when the law was passed and concentrated on his business under his real name: Adrian Veidt. He made no secret of his former ‘secret identity,’ in fact using it to boost his business with toy lines etc. Said to be the smartest man in the world and certainly the most public of the Watchmen following their retirement in 1977.

Everyone said Watchmen was unfilmable. I personally didn’t agree but thought it would depend on what parts of the novel were used as to whether it was successful or just a big mess.

And so late last week I made my way to Leicester Square with a couple of mates to take in, what was expected to be, a visual feast.

From the opening scenes with the death of The Comedian and the flashbacks to past heroes, I knew this was my kind of film and as far as I was concerned Zack Snyder had nailed the gritty, gloomy film noire style that the novel had. 😎

This is a brutal film – there are broken bones, blood and an incident involving hot fat to name but a few.

The fights are well chreographed and while the slightly overpowered punches and kicks suited the film, I had always imagined the Watchmen as fighting normally – hard and fast but human all the same.

The CGI for Dr Manhattan is breathtaking and the whole look of the film was impressive, with Archie (Nite Owl’s flying ship) also looking great. The backdrops also had a brilliant style and it was a wonderful visual experience.

It’s obvious that this has been a labour of love for Snyder and on the whole he stays true to the novel where possible.

The ending is different and, although I suspect it would enrage fans of the graphic novel, I have to say I thought it was a better way to finish the story.

Of course, this was the theatrical cut so we won’t see his full vision until the director’s cut release on blu-ray/DVD. Be warned though, even the theatrical cut is almost 2 3/4 hours long! 😯

The music used throughout was excellent, with the exception of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” being used over a sex scene – which was the wrong side of cheesy. 😦

Watchmen was a great film with excellent special effects and a wonderful, if at times confusing, story to tell.

Discussing it with a friend afterwards he said he was worried that reading it first might’ve meant the film made less of an impact – I disagree, in fact I feel it gives it more of an impact.

It isn’t imperative to read the novel before you see this film but you may find some of the plot hard to get a grip on if you don’t. Not to the detriment of the film but enough that I’d recommend checking the book out if you get a chance.

This is certainly a film I would recommend to everyone – it’s not your average superhero flick, so it might not be to everyone’s tastes but they should certainly watch it and come to their own conclusions.

Rating: 9/10

Watchmen: The End Is Nigh – Demo Impressions (PS3)

I’ve thought all along that Watchmen: The End Is Nigh looked like a nice little beat ’em up in the vein of the Streets Of Rage series.

After playing the demo my initial impression has been proved correct.

With the huge hype surrounding the Watchmen film it was unsurprising that a game would accompany the movie however this isn’t your standard game/movie tie-in.

The End Is Nigh is a specially written prequel that leads right up to the events of the film version of Watchmen. The game is being released episodically on the PSN store although I suspect a full retail version will follow later in the year (perhaps around the time the DVD comes out :grin:)

You control either Rorschach or Nite Owl, two costumed vigilantes, as they attempt to help out at riot at a prison.

Rorschach is slightly more powerful and certainly has the more agressive move set, in keeping with the character. Nite Owl seemed to be a bit slower but had faster combos so both characters are fairly evenly balanced.

The graphics were very impressive and the makers seem to have caught the mood of the novel/film. The demo is dark and dank, the prison on fire and chaos ensuing – with Rorschach giving a running commentary along the way it’s easy to get swept away with inflicting violence on the inmates.

The demo covers about 20 minutes of the level and as well as fighting there are a few ‘puzzles’ – I use the term loosely as it’s more just both of you pulling levers etc. However it does break up the fighting and there is the chance things will get a little more challenging as the game progresses.

The fighting, for me personally, didn’t get too repetitive but I imagine it could if they didn’t vary the type of enemies coming your way as the game moves on.

One thing that made this a most enjoyable experience was the split screen co-op mode as I often find a human sidekick a lot more helpful than an AI one!

Overall I think this could be a welcome distraction from how deep some games are. As brilliant as say, Fallout 3 or GTA IV were, they were not the kind of game you’d chuck on for half an hour. Or even a few hours if a mate came over.

Watchmen: The End Is Nigh appears to fit that brief perfectly – some throwaway, violent, fun which fans can play to get more backstory on Watchmen and others can blast through for some casual but enjoyable gameplay.

P.S Alternatively you can try the excellent 8bit style viral game that was created to accompany the film (see below picture) here: http://www.minutemenarcade.com/uk/