Today was the return of our fantastic Cheltenham Film Club’s Unlimited Day 2 where we embarked on a movie marathon of 4 movies all in one day at the cinema…
#191 / 365 – ‘Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 3D/4D’ – 89 mins
Cinema Challenge #75 / 115
On the surface, Marissa Cortez Wilson (Jessica Alba) seems to have it all. She’s married to famous, spy-hunting TV reporter Wilbur (Joel McHale) and has a new baby and a pair of bright, competitive stepchildren. But Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook) make it clear they don’t want her around, and Wilbur wouldn’t know a spy if he was living with one. In fact, that’s exactly what he is doing. But retired spy Marissa’s life of domesticity comes to an abrupt end when she’s recalled by the OSS, home of the now-defunct Spy Kids division, after the maniacal Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) unleashes a plot to take over the planet by stopping time.
Spy Kids All the Time in the World, stinks and that’s without the non-smelling 4D aroma-a-scope scratch’n’sniff which just proves to be a worthless gimmick, which in turn causes you to miss parts of the film as you fiddle when the coordinated numbers flash up on the screen. Dare I say it again – the 3D element is invisible.
Ricky Gervais career hits a new low as he plays or his voice lends itself to one of films most annoying characters (on a par with the Phantom Menace Jar Jar Binks), Argonaut the robotic dog. The only credit I can give Spy Kids 4 credit for his that Jeremy Piven does well in a trio of villainous roles as Tick Tock, Time Keeper and Danger D’Amo. After the three previous outing where Spy Kids gave us some good thrills, unfortunately Robert Rodriguez disastrously fails here.
The Spy Kids 4 story is all about having all the time in the world, well I didn’t and all I did frequently throughout was look at my watch hoping for those end credits to arrive sooner rather than later.
#192 / 365 – ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ – 118 mins
Cinema Challenge #76 / 115
1875, New Mexico Territory. A stranger (Daniel Craig) arrives in the sun-baked outpost of Absolution with a mysterious shackle on his wrist and no memory of his past. He soon finds that the townsfolk don’t take kindly to outsiders. What’s more, Absolution is ruled with an iron rod by Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). But the climate of fear gets a whole lot worse when mysterious alien invaders start to swoop down at astonishing speed, blinding residents with bright lights as they snatch them one-by-one. As the outcast gunslinger begins to recall his past, he realises that he holds the one secret that could save this desolate town from devastation. With the help of the elusive Ella (Olivia Wilde), he pulls together former opponents – townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Apache warriors – for an epic showdown.
Its gritty, its pretty but combining the two popular genres of Westerns and Sci-Fi in Cowboys and Aliens, came over all too disjointed at times. The Western segment is fantastic but the Alien sequences just feel bland and the battles just lack any real excitement. The main characters never faced any immediate danger from the Aliens and with a quick shake of Jake Lonergan mysterious device their task was all to easy.
There’s no denying that Jon Favreau is a great director to helm the big popcorn movies, as he proved with Iron Man, and whilst Cowboys & Aliens does offer some entertainment value with some great performances from an ultra-talented cast. It never leaves the launch pad and I came away just expecting a whole lot more from an idea that intrigued me and one that had the potential to be great.
It seems not even the combination of Indiana Jones and James Bond can save Cowboys & Aliens from being a misfire of a summer action movie, and that’s a shame.
#193 / 365 – ‘The Inbetweeners Movie’ – 97 mins
Cinema Challenge #77 / 115
It’s finally happened. Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas), Jay (James Buckley) and Neil (Blake Harrison) are 18 and School’s out forever! What’s more, the quartet of ex-sixth formers are off on a lads’ holiday in Malia, Crete. But the gawky foursome have no money and very little chance indeed of scoring with the island’s legions of gorgeous but unattainable girls.
Despite having never seen a single episode of the hugely popular BAFTA nominated E4 show. I absolutely loved the adventures of the four lustful lads on a booze-drenched holiday, they all have hilarious set-pieces, and the dance off scenes to impress the girls is just pure comedy gold.
In a nutshell The Inbetweeners delivers a hilarious gut wrenching laugh-a-minute of crude humor, and easily equals the years two other best comedies, ‘The Hangover Part II’ and ‘Bridesmaids’. Right I’m off to play catch up with that TV series now.
#194 / 365 – ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ – 105 mins
Cinema Challenge #78 / 115
Scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) develops a revolutionary therapy that enables the brain to repair itself, offering hope to millions of people with a variety of debilitating conditions. But before his discovery can be marketed to humans, he’s told to test it on chimpanzees. To be certain the treatment is stable, he begins with just one animal. Then something unexpected happens. Baby chimp Caesar swiftly develops advanced mental abilities. As Will’s employers seek to contain the experiment, Caesar’s simian mind turns to thoughts of revolution.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes grabs you from the start, by stimulating your emotions with a feverish sequence of chimps being chased and captured to be taken to the lab for a life of experiments. This then makes for a hugely entertaining watch throughout as you get drawn in to Caesar’s emotional journey where Andy Serkis gives an amazing capture performance with heart within Caesar. Highlight of the film is the climactic sequence when the liberated apes revolt on the Golden Gate bridge – converges in a breathtaking, astonishing moment, full of heart pumping action.
The extraordinary technical vision of the film employed by WETA Digital is truly impressive, from the animatronics to the motion capture to the CGI, are all perfectly integrated. British director Rupert Wyatt pulls everything together beautifully to not only make the apes super intelligent but for an intelligent movie which is constantly engaging ride with its varying emotions. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is quite simply the best of this summers releases. period and in certainly in my Top 10 of the year.