Archive for January, 2011

Piranha – Sushi with a smile

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

piranha-3d-posterMove over Jaws, there’s a new fish in town as director Alexandre Aja serves up this rather bitey remake of the silly seventies original.  In all fairness, remake is an understatement as this film’s storyline and characters bear very little resemblance to the ’78 Piranha, or its sequel Piranha II: The Spawning (which happened to be the dubious directorial debut of one James Cameron).

The 21st Century version of Piranha, released as Piranha 3D in cinemas, is set during the all-American alchohol-fuelled bikini-bonanza known as Spring Break.  Young Jake, son of strict Sheriff Julie Forester, is unfortunately doomed to babysit instead of enjoying the madness, but porno director Derrick needs a guide on his boat so he knows all the best places to film his gorgeous actresses Danni and Crystal.  With this offer on the table,  Jake decides to leave the kids to their own devices whilst he goes and, er, enjoys himself.  He also manages to get a girl he likes to come along for the ride, but things take a nasty turn when little things with big teeth show up to spoil the party…

Some prehistoric, savage, bloodthirsty and generally quite irritable piranhas have been freed from their cave-like prison underwater, thanks to some kind of mini-earthquake or something.  This results in a very grisly death for Richard Dreyfuss (sending up his own Matt Hooper from Jaws, complete with ‘Show Me The Way To Go Home’ karaoke session), and this starts off an insane massacre that rarely lets up at any stage.  Much death occurs, along with gratuitous nudity and Ving Rhames using a chainsaw to make a sizeable ton of sushi.  It is bonkers.

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The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Friday, January 14th, 2011

twilight-eclipse-posterLove it or hate it, the Twilight beast rampages on, as book number 3 gets the movie treatment mere months after the release of predecessor New Moon.

In The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, emo-vampires and weightlifting-werewolves are forced to form an uneasy alliance after nutty vampire Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) breeds an army of ‘newborns’. Vampires are at their most aggressive and lethal just after they ‘turn’, and Victoria plans to unleash this army on the sleepy town of Forks, with the ultimate goal of killing the frighteningly miserable Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart).

Victoria is miffed at sensitive gentleman vamp Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) because he killed her partner back in Twilight, and she believes the best way to exercise revenge would be to kill his beloved Bella. Meanwhile, stroppy werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner), aggravated by Bella’s preferred choice of lover, continues to insist that he is the right man-type-creature thing for her. Bella, to Jacob’s dismay, would much rather be a vampire with Edward, which happens to be part of an agreement made with super-vampires The Volturi, during the last instalment.

With the newborn army, and the aggrieved Victoria, on the warpath and heading straight for Bella’s neck, the awkward alliance of werewolves and vampires trains together for about 30 seconds, as they attempt to sharpen their tools enough to defeat the army before Bella is turned into soup.

Eclipse retreads so much of New Moon, and considering that New Moon was shockingly awful, this has not gone well. Eclipse may be following its source material, but that doesn’t mean that the exhaustive exploration of the love triangle translates well to the screen. The dialogue between Jacob, Edward and Bella is at times excruciating and wouldn’t be lost in a daytime soap opera.

Eclipse was marketed as the action-packed instalment that would be more accessible to those who have not been blown away by the surprisingly popular notion of emo-vampires. Considering that these films are about vampires and werewolves, the first two instalments haven’t seen a lot of action from either party, with the movies focusing mainly on Bella mulling over her oh-so-difficult life, whilst two men vie for her affections. In Eclipse we see more of Jacob trying to win her over, more of Edward being very dull and apparently uninterested in premarital sex with the gorgeous Kristen Stewart, more trees and fields, more shockingly bad CGI werewolves doing very little, more topless men and more of Bella being man-greedy, indecisive, morose, selfish, thoughtless and generally irritating.

We have seen so much of Eclipse in the other films, so perhaps it would have been best to cut down on these elements and bring the focus to some of the saga’s new story threads and themes. Unfortunately there is nothing else to the story, other than a weak plot about an advancing army that turns out to be somewhat of a pushover, so there’s nothing to fall back on that could provide the film with something refreshing.

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