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Penny Glen’s Rants
2012: True Doom and Gloom?
Or an Excellent Incoming Year for Film and Technology?
Part 4 New Films - Reviewed the ‘Penny way’ Page 1 of 6
Be warned this is going to be a marathon which will run for at least four weeks, but at the end of it you will be seriously well informed. You may not like all the films mentioned but at least you will know about them. If this is not your sort of thing there is plenty more to read on other parts of Rochford Life. Happy reading!
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Note: Some of these films haven’t been released yet. Those that haven’t will have a star (*) next to the title.

It is that time of year again, so I’ll give you a quick rundown of what to enjoy and what to run away screaming from. I am harsh, I fall in love with actors and their talents but above all I always tell the truth. If you want to watch a film and don’t know where to turn, always come to me because I will tell you what you actually need to know.

· Paranormal Activity 3
We’ll start with what I’ve just watched. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t see that much of this film - because I had my hand in front of my face the entire time. I am ashamed, as I love and worship all forms of horror – and I’m notoriously not scared by anything. Yet my involuntary jumping while watching this film puts me to shame.  Set in 1988, the two girls from the first two films, Katie and Kristie – have moved into a new house with their mother and her boyfriend. Soon they discover that something has moved in with them – something demonic, evil and scary. As the boyfriend sets up cameras throughout the house, the family must find out what the thing wants before it is too late.
I thought the first film was a work of genius, mainly due to that fact that although it made millions at the box office, the film was only shot for approximately 60,000 dollars.
Although the other two have gone up in price and bravado, the atmosphere is still the same and does freak you out a bit. The films themselves have virtually no substance, yet you find yourself not caring and enjoying the scares more than ever this time around. I especially loved the part with the ‘roaming’ camera. The stepfather makes a camera out of a rotating fan that moves and captures both the living room and the dining room at once. The result is unnerving to say the least. This is definitely not the best film ever, but one to enjoy seeing your sister hiding behind her three month old baby when the scary parts are on.
· The Ides of March
Starring Ryan Gosling, George Clooney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, this political thriller is probably one of the better things I’ve seen lately. I know it won’t be for everyone, but it most certainly has something to give to its audience – although being British and rather politically ignorant, I had almost no clue how to react to the American political system. The things I connected to were the intertwined stories of presidential blackmail, lust, greed, power, integrity and the character portrayals by Gosling and Clooney. They made up for my confusion and for potential boredom connected to politics in general. The ending was not expected though, as almost all of the characters surprised me in their actions. Clooney is the presidential candidate with his morals – will he abandon them? Gosling is the man who believes in truth and helping America – will his integrity remain unscathed? Hoffman is the tough campaign director who takes no funny business – will he remain tough and righteous at the end? Lots of stuff to consider here....worth a viewing.
· Real Steel
Basically Rock ‘em Soc ‘em Robots with Hugh Jackman and a load of C.G.I. – not a lot going on cerebrally yet quite a promising idea. I thought it was ok, but not something I would bother watching again to be honest.
· The Three Musketeers
Utter stupidity – in fancy costumes. Mr. Paul W.S. Anderson (butcher of the Resident evil movies) helms this remake/travesty/abomination with his wife Ms. Milla (Alice – Resident Evil), along with four other men I have never heard of before and Orlando Bloom clad in the most questionable clothing since Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. It’s ridiculous on a brand new level, which tops the Charlie Sheen/Chris O’Donnell embarrassment back in the 90’s. The only thing good about the whole film is the cinematography – which makes everything look very shiny. Other than that – avoid with your life.
· Shark Night
Along with Piranha 3D – this is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Producers have re-realised the appeal of terrible storylines, ridiculous monsters, laughable characters and girls in bikinis – so Shark Night was born. The film is exactly what you think it’s going to be – different species of sharks in a freshwater lake (....okay) terrorizing the local teenagers out in the middle of nowhere. You can’t climb a tree -  they will fly up and eat you. You can’t ride away on a jet-ski – they will fly up and eat you. You can’t be on dry land – they will fly up and eat you. It’s really, really funny. It’s pointless. Not everyone will get it, but it does create a break from everything serious out there these days. It’s so terrible, it’s good.
· The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 *
The fourth instalment of the Twilight series will be upon us soon. God help us all. On the 12
th of March, hide beneath your sofas or you will be bombarded by teenage girls going crazy on the street. Oh, and my mother. Hopefully this one will be bearable as I will certainly be forced to view this. Good luck to you all in my position. Oh, and hopefully that boy will own a shirt this time.
· Fright Night
I wrote a little about this earlier, so I’ll just add a few points to get you to watch it. A teenager realises with dismay that his next door neighbour is a murderous vampire, not one of the sparkly vampires from Twilight – and it munching down on the rest of the neighbourhood bit by bit. By no measure is this the best film here, but if you truly watch a film and see that glimmer of fun dancing in an actor’s eyes, you know that you’re going to enjoy it because he is enjoying it. Colin Farrell makes this film, and in my opinion it means more to me that there is some enjoyment for a project, rather than how a project turns out. Oh, and the vampire effects are great. And David Tennant is in it too – for those of you who adore Dr. Who. I don’t, so that’s just for you guys. Also keep an eye out for the guy who played the original vampire in the 80’s version – he appears in the scene with the car crash. You’ll know him when you see him.
· Don’t be Afraid of the Dark
Produced by Mr. Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy 1 + 2, The Orphanage), I thought this film would be a lot better than it was. A little girl moves into a manor house with her father and stepmother, starts hearing voices in the walls – and realises that creepy little gremlin things want to take her deep into the foundations of the house, to be sealed up in the dark forever. Sounds alright on paper, until you add Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and their miscast roles to the mix. The creepy little gremlin things are not scary or dangerous – unless they get hold of some scissors to poke you in the eye – and the only way one could be scared, is the famous close up when you’re least expecting it. I got bored, honestly. Even though I still adore Mr. Del Toro, I think this is one film he shouldn’t have got involved in producing. Only watch if you’ve run out of decent horrors.
· Friends With Benefits
Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are two people who hate relationships, so they start a no strings attached sexual arrangement which they think will help solve their problems. A clichéd ending proves they obviously can’t, but who saw that coming? The plot leaves a lot to be desired and the ending is positively boring and expected – but the only thing to watch is the brilliant chemistry between the leads and to be honest – Woody Harrelson as a gay guy who carries out his relentless quest to take advantage of Justin’s character at the workplace. Comedy relief is a bit hit and miss in film, but Harrelson is brilliant. Unfortunately saying this, you realise that he overshadows the leads. One of the better romcoms though, even though there wasn’t much to laugh about.
· The Descendants *
George Clooney stars in this Oscar winning drama about a man who must take care of his family when his wife has an accident and goes into a coma. The twist? She was cheating on him and was going to leave him before the accident. I’d like to watch this when it comes out, but I’m not overly bothered. However, I did feel this way about the King’s Speech in the beginning, and that turned out to be one of the best films I have ever seen. I believe that this drama could evoke some of that magic, so I’m keeping my eyes and opinions open. The film does have an atmosphere of quality about it and I know that Clooney is a fantastic actor – it should work very well when I finally see it.
· Monte Carlo *
I hardly know anything about this, and after reading a synopsis I really don’t want to know anything to be honest. Three women head to Paris, one of them gets mistaken for a rich heiress and then they all decide to spend the money in Monte Carlo – shenanigans ensue. Still not bothered, and not enough presence in the film to make me bat an eyelid.
· Straw Dogs*
This remake of the 1970’s film of the same name, stars Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood, Melancholia) and James Marsten (X Men, Superman Begins) as two men on opposite ends of the scale. I’ll make it clear right now that the original starring Dustin Hoffman was pretty brutal, in the veins of I Spit on your Grave and Last House on the Left – yet with a touch of class with a brilliant actor attached to the project. I hope that this version continues the exploration of the human psyche and how far someone will go in the pursuit of survival, or in the other case – sadistic fulfilment. The plot goes like this: A young couple heads to a seaside cabin in the girl’s hometown and they encounter the locals in a rather dangerous and violent way. I won’t say anymore than that – but you get the picture. I do want to see it, but I know thanks to the inherent remake quality, that it won’t be as good as the first one.
· Tintin *
Not a big fan of the cartoon series and not excited about this from a plot perspective – but motion capture is one of my favourite technologies as you know – and this film is chock-a-block with it. Along with special effects guru Andy Serkis, we have Daniel Craig and Jamie Bell joining the cast, who will look hilarious in the special features with the motion capture dots all over them and the blue skin-tight leotards. Steven Spielberg is helming, so whatever the result – it will be of a high quality.

Continuation on next page

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