Welcome back to the show

Good morning readers.

First things first, yes, I have been absent from your computer screens for quite some time, but it with great jubilation that I announce not only my triumphant (I can hear the trumpets) return, but also the addition of a new member to the family. Without further ado, I present to you, Michael Kiossev.

Hello fellow Movie Hub readers! I’m afraid this is not Chris speaking, but a bright young stud on his way to becoming film criticism royalty. Of course, that’s a total lie, but I am a consumer of movies the likes of which few have seen. Did someone say introduction? No? Oh well, I’m giving one anyway.
The name I generally go by is Michael Kiossev. I’ve been good friends with Chris since high school and I’m now in my third year of studying Journalism at Curtin University. I would say the earliest age I remember getting into movies was 10 or 11. I didn’t know much at the time about movies or the making of movies, but I always pretended to. I just wanted to know more than the regular chump. The first movie I can recall being enamoured with was Enemy at the Gates. By no means a masterpiece, but to an 11 year old, it was pure cinematic bliss. It had violence, it had tension, it had nudity and it had a sniper duel. The damn thing ticked all the right boxes. It was like the best videogame I could never play. A state of immersion I had never experienced or thought possible in watching a movie.
From that it was a cascade of information that I needed to have. I needed to inform everyone I knew that this was the best movie I’d ever seen, and that they should seek it out immediately. I needed to watch the special features over and over to get a sense of how they made certain scenes. I needed to get onto the internet, namely IMDB.COM, and check out the trivia page for all the useless little tidbits that the film had (Did you know that it was the most expensive British film made up to that point? Yeah! I don’t care that much either!).
I don’t actually consider Enemy at the Gates to be one of my favourite movies anymore. Hell, I haven’t watch it in years and don’t really plan on revisiting it. It was however, a powerful indication of what I wanted to do, and what I really wanted to see. I was intoxicated by Cinema of all kinds, of all countries. I had to surround myself in as many movies as humanly possible. It’s disappointing to see in this day and age that few movie-goers are willing to experiment, or see something that really challenges them. With Chris giving me the chance to write for The Movie Hub, I hope to get those people that are curious about movies well and truly obsessed.

Cheers and Happy Reading!
Michael Kiossev

Michael will now be a regular blogger on this site.

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Staring contest: Twilight: Eclipse review

I’m not ashamed to say I have read the Twilight books. Hell, I kinda liked them. They aren’t exactly great literature, but they are entertaining and easy to read, and the characters are far, far more likeable than the wooden cut outs we are offered in the latest film installment to the series.

For those that haven’t read the series, this was the one to watch. It has action, intensity, all the issues between Edward/Bella/Jacob finally come to a head. Unfortunately, director David Slade opted to go with 2 hours of teenagers staring moodily at one another while Bella bites her bottom lip.

The story this time centers around Bella and Edward staring at one another, whilst Jacob continues to wear no shirt and pine after Bella. Flame haired vampire Victoria is back for revenge, this time with new sidekick Riley and his vampire army at her command.

So what was wrong with the film? To be honest, I couldn’t find much that was right with it. The characters are so unlikeable, I found myself genuinely more interested in the villains, which is saying something. We wait nearly the entire movie to see the final showdown between the Cullen clan/werewolves and Victories army, and I can tell you now, it is not worth the wait. It reminds me of childhood experience of making a sparkler bomb. You watch the little fuse wind it’s way to the powder, and when it gets there… Nothing happens. You sit and wait, and keep watching anxiously for the fireworks, and they never come.

The wolves to me are a great disappointment. There just seems to be no weight behind them, they don’t seem to be great warriors like they are described in the book, but rather, more like giant Labradors.

I think I am agreeing with many people when I say I do not dislike Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson. I think they are both very capable actors, but both of them are let down in this film but a totally lifeless script. I don’t have the same high praise for Taylor Lautner, who once again does nothing in this film but wander around shirtless attempting to make tween girls sigh (judging by the box office scores, he is doing his job well at least).

One of the only highlights for me is the inclusion of Australian actor Xavier Samuel. Samuel plays new vampire Riley, and whilst he isn’t given to much room to grow, he at least relishes his role. He is evil, yet we can still sense the innocence of someone who has been drawn into this supernatural world unwillingly. He exudes a certain charisma that a certain other Australian star seems to be severely lacking (Sam Worthington, I’m looking at you). I sincerely hope that I get to see more of Samuels in the future, hopefully in something a little more interesting.

There is still one last chance for the series to redeem itself with the final installment, Breaking Dawn. Breaking Dawn lacks the conflict and action of Eclipse, but without wanting to spoil it for anyone, let’s just say that there are some interesting scenes that could make for a rather absurd film.

All in all I found Twilight: Eclipse to be bloated, boring, stiff and lifeless. I contemplated leaving well before the supposed climax, and did actually leave before the film finished (due to an unforeseen emergency). For some reason fans of the books seem to love the movie series also, which baffles me entirely, as the film betrays every good scene the book created, and leaves so much much wanting in terms of the characters.

Maybe they’re all just content to sigh at Jacobs abs?

1/5

Where do old toys go?: Toy Story 3 review

It’s been 11 long and lonely years since Woody and Buzz last graced the big screen. It’s been 15 since they first appeared. Believe me, I would know, I still remember sitting in that cinema as a 5 year old and falling in love with the toys from Andy’s room. I may also remember writing Andy on one of my shoes, but that’s beside the point.

So for me, there was no room for error on Toy Story 3. I needed Pixar to get this right, to ensure that there is still one series from my childhood that will remain in my mind as fantastic from beginning to end. So did I enjoy Toy Story 3? Unreservedly.

Toy Story 3 is yet another jewel in Pixars ever expanding crown. From the opening moments of Toy Story 3, I was hooked, just as I was all those years ago. The fantastic characters, the perfect score, the rich animation and colour ensured that I could not tear my eyes from the screen from opening credits till close. There were moments of pure elation and gut wrenching sadness. If you have loose tear ducts, I would suggest taking some tissues.

Toy Story 3 see’s Andy’s (John Morris) toys face one final adventure. Andy is headed for college, deciding to take childhood partner Woody (Tom Hanks) with him, whilst the Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang are headed for the attic.

Once again there is a mix-up (I’m looking at you Andy’s mum, get it together!) and the toy’s end up at Sunnyside Daycare, seemingly a utopia where there is never a shortage of children to play with them. Unfortunately, paradise it ain’t, with the daycare being run by the evil teddy Lotso, who lives the good life by ensuring new toys are in the firing line, whilst he and his cronies live the easy life in the butterfly room.

To be perfectly honest, there is very little to fault this movie on. The voice work is amazing, Pixar once again dazzled with their visual mastery, and the story is almost seamless.

Perhaps my only issue with this film is with one of the films most powerful scenes, towards the end. The scene is emotive, captivating, and actually quite frightening. I can’t help but think that this scene may be more than a little overwhelming for young children, I know that more than a few young children have been pretty scared by this scene.

I know that some people dislike the 3D aspects of modern films (Roger Ebert I’m looking at you), and many believe that the implementation of 3D dampens the colours of the films. This is certainly not an issue for Toy Story 3, with Pixar’s fantastic colour pallete once again wowing audiences.

Whether you are 10, 20 or 80, I have no qualms in recommending this film to anybody, because plain and simple, it’s fantastic.

5/5

Have you seen Toy Story 3? What did you think of the final chapter in this great trilogy?

So what have I missed?

Apologies for the lack of post’s readers, I have been away on holidays.

So in to make up for the lack of posts, enjoy this jumbo sized catch up session.

So what have we seen this past week?

There is a new trailer for The Social Network, and after just finishing the novel it is based on, I am pretty excited.

We have yet another new poster for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and it just as cool as those that came prior. This is another film I simply can’t wait to see.

The first reviews for the Christopher Nolan mystery-thriller Inception have started appearing, and it is looking like it will more than exceed expectations.

In other review news, I recently checked out Toy Story 3 and Twilight: Eclipse, and will be posting reviews soon. I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out which was the better film (I may have left the latter early due to an emergency situation/boredom).

I will also be releasing a new edition of The Countdown, this team I offer my choices for the 10 coolest characters to ever hit the big screen.

So that’s all for now readers, but stay tuned for more regular updates and reviews.

Happy viewing.

Soft Spot Cinema: Jumper

Yes that’s right, it’s time for another installment of Soft Spot Cinema, the feature where I attempt to defend the films everyone else loathes. Also, as an added incentive to readers, if you despise this film as much as I love it, send me a review (try not to make it too long) and I will post it on the site (unless it’s really good, in which case I will just pretend I never got it. Saves embarrassment).

This time I’ll be doing my best to defend the 2008 sci-fi adventure, Jumper.

Jumper follows the story of David Rice (played mostly by Hayden Christensen) a young lad who one day discovers that he has the ability to instantly transport himself anywhere in the world. Cue scenes of bank robberies and fantastic holidays. Lunch on The Sphynx and dinner in London. Of course, at some point the fun has to end, and that’s where we meet Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) a man dedicated to hunting down Rice and those like him. I could tell you more about the film, but I think to do so would spoil the fun (it could ruin the plot, but there isn’t much of that in the first place. Or is there too much?)

Jumper for me is an interesting film. Obviously for it to qualify for this segment I have to acknowledge that this film is bad. In this case, there is little getting around that fact. The scripting is relatively two dimensional, the plot line is somewhat confusing, with very little being explained. The film doesn’t really reveal where the conflict comes from, just that it is there, and the love interest seems to serve no purpose other than to be the love interest, a card board cut out is given more character depth.

So yes, on paper, this film is bad. But in reality, it’s exactly what I want from a mainstream sci-fi film. The first, and definitely most enticing factor is the concept. The ability to teleport to anywhere in the world, whenever you want? Yes please.

The film looks slick, with some fantastic scenery being used (Rice is seen surfing big waves in the morning, eating lunch atop the Sphynx and rounding out the day swinging from Big Ben in London), and despite majority opinion, I didn’t despise the acting at all. Christensen is generally considered to have a limited acting ability, however, I count myself in the minority that think he isn’t half bad, and I think he is actually quite well suited to this role. He is arrogant, yet still likeable, and also possesses the naivety of someone who has grown up without fully grasping the implications of his ability.

However, it is not Christensen, but Jackson that is the stand out for me in this film. I am unable to think of a film where I didn’t enjoy Jackson’s over the top acting. He is one actor that takes whatever character he is given and truly runs with it. Here we see Jackson as the self righteous Roland, who along with his cronies, has dedicated his life to hunting down “Jumpers”, a small group that Rice is now a part of.

At the end of the day, despite the mangled religious message (I’m still not entirely what the film was trying to get across in that regard), this is a film that is highly enjoyable as a non-thinking escape, something that many people seem to forget is a viable excuse for a film. It looks good, the acting is more than tolerable, the concept is enticing and there are some genuinely exciting moments in the film. This is not the sort of film you leave with thoughts about the directors interesting take on the modern social climate in regards to religious fascism, but rather, with the sole thought of “Man, what would you do if you had those powers?”

What did you think of Jumper? What films do you love that everyone else hates?

Marvel mini’s for the big screen?

It seems that busiest studio of them all of the past few months has definitely been Marvel.

The latest from Marvel is that some of their lesser known characters will now be given the chance to show their big screen worth.

Characters like Black Panther, Dr. Strange and Iron Fist may star in their own short films that will possibly be shown online or before some of the feature length films.

These short films will give the studio a chance to see what works and what doesn’t before investing the big dollars into a full length feature.

Pixar have been doing something very similar for a long time now, with great success, so there is a high chance that in the not too distant future we could be seeing some exciting new characters on the big screen.

Personally I would love to these Marvel shorts, there are some fantastic characters in the Marvel universe, many of which would make for a fantastic feature film fodder.

Would you like to see some of the lesser known characters in their own short films? Who would you like to see get the big screen treatment?

Graffiti or art?: Exit Through The Gift Shop review

It’s hard to know where to stand after watching street art legend Banksy’s new film, Exit Through The Gift shop. In the end we leave more questions than answers about what qualifies as art. Hell, at the end of the film, we don’t even know what Banksy’s opinion on the topic is. All I can say is that Banksy is one smart guy, and he has made one smart movie.

Exit Through The Gift Shop documents the rise of  Thierry Guetta, a Frenchman living in Los Angeles with a passion for filming everything that occurs in his life. Guetta soon develops an interest in the street art scene after he is introduced to it by his cousin Invader.

I’m still not sure what to make of what follows. Guetta goes about filming as many street artists as possible. All the while filming. Eventually, he sets his sights on Banksy. Somehow, the fates grant Guetta his meeting, and he and Banksy become friends (or do they, I’m still not sure what to believe), with Guetta accompanying Banksy on a couple of his art making escapades, including a hilarious statement at Disneyland.

Eventually Banksy convinces Guetta to make a film from all the footage he has taken. What he comes up with is not so much an intelligent insight into the street art world, as a nightmarish dream sequence. Banksy decides at this point, that he will take over the piece, and tells his adoring French friend to go and make his own art.

Again, at this point, I’m not sure what is real. There are plenty of those who believe this whole film is nothing but a great big hoax. Some say it’s all true. I get the feeling that the truth lies somewhere between the two. Guetta genuinely did host the exhibition seen in the film, and he did make a ton of money for his “art”, but still, somewhere along the line, I think Banksy is having a lend of his audience.

For all of the questions this film left me with, there is no denying it is still fantastically enjoyable film. It provides us with an informative, if slightly unconventional, insight into the rarely seen world of street art, and more importantly, those behind it. It’s funny, well paced and interesting, and leaves the audience wanting more.

So what did I think of it all? I think Banksy has done it again.

I’ll get back to you when I know what “it” is.

4/5

What did you think of Exit Through The Gift Shop?