Reviews

Reviews of products, events, movies, TV, products and much more.

The Red Carpet Screens: ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’

 

Yesterday, The Red Carpet screened Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the sequel to 2007’s Transformers and the second film in the live action Transformers series. Subsequently, the film is also known as “Transformers 2”.

For starters, the movie is long, so be warned. The movie is long enough that no matter how much you are enjoying the onscreen action or using your eyes to undress the lovely Megan Fox, who clearly did not get enough screen time, you end up wondering when the movie is going to end. Rounding in at a whopping 150 minutes, this fast paced action movie can, at times, crawl along. The movie is unfortunately plagued with unnecessary ‘fillers’, like an all-spark-transformed-remote-controlled-monster-truck, dry humping Megan Fox’s leg. Granted, given the opportunity, many guys would give their left nut for that opportunity, it was simply not needed and could have been excluded.

Undoubtedly, one of the best aspects of the movie would have had to have been the visuals and special effects. If you thought that the first movie was an explosive feast, wait until you see this iteration of Hasbro’s beloved franchise. There is often so much carnage occurring at one time on the screen that, in my opinion, it is not possible to take it all in on the first viewing. We all know that Michael Bay is known for his over the top implementation of action sequences. However, with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Mr. Bay has done the impossible… he managed to out do himself! Seriously, this movie is an action fiends delight. There were actually moments in the movie where I obtained ‘dry eye’ from my lack of conscious blinking.

The movie does not have a very strong story nor is the acting anything to rave about. If those points matter to you, then avoid Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at all costs. However, if you are looking for a movie which has unadulterated action, comedy and is great fun to watch, then do yourself a favour and go watch this movie!

The Red Carpet gives Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 08/10.

 

Transformers 2 – Official Trailer

 

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

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The Red Carpet screens: Watchmen

As most of you should know, my latest group, The Red Carpet, had its first screening last week Friday (06 March 2009). The movie in question: Watchmen.

For The Red Carpet’s first screening, I decided to go big. How big? IMAX big! If you have not already watched a ‘Hollywood’ blockbuster in an IMAX theatre, then please do yourself a favour, and do so. The sound and picture clarity, not to mention size of the screen, are spectacular in IMAX theatres. The experience is usually breathtaking. Presuming of course you are sitting toward the back of the cinema and not in the second row from the gigantic screen. Which, as Murphy’s Law would have it, is exactly where we were seated.

Courtesy of the ongoing Johannesburg road works and the incapable drivers that are South Africans, we arrived 30 minutes too late for the six o’clock (pm) screening. This was after over three and a half hours, and 150 kilometres, of traffic induced congestion. Note to self: never make plans before seven o’clock (pm) on a Friday if the venue is more than 10 kilometres away. Needless to say, our handsomely reserved tickets had been forfeited. As a result we had no other choice than to accept what was available for the nine o’clock (pm) screening of the movie. Best available tickets for a group of seven? Second row from the front.

Have you ever been seated in the very first few rows of a normal cinema? Unless you are inherently blind, it is, in my honest opinion, a less than pleasurable experience. Now imagine that scenario, but for a screen that is over eight stories high. Seriously… we all came away from the experience with, and I kid you not, sore necks, blood shot eyes and pounding headaches. I would equate watching an IMAX film like this to having a mild brain aneurysm or stroke. Despite the less than adequate seating arrangements, the movie itself was very good.

One of the best aspects of the movie would have had to have been the visuals and special effects. I have commented, time and time again since watching this film, that if someone had to take stills of particular scenes in the movie, that you could use those stills as panels within a graphic novel. Thus, in a pure literal sense, the movie perfectly captures the graphic novel from which it is based. Although I have never read the infamous Watchmen graphic novel, I can clearly and vividly imagine what the novel must be like. Furthermore, never have I been more impressed with a pure digitally created and computer generated character, than I have been with Dr. Manhattan. The only tell tale sign that Dr. Manhattan is in fact a digital illusion is apparent when the character speaks. Although his eyes, skin and genitals have all been recreated flawlessly, it is Dr. Manhattan’s mouth, and its flawed motion, which betray this characters true origin.

One of the strongest aspect of this movie would have to pertain to its story. Unlike conventional ‘super hero’ related movies, the characters within Watchmen are multilayered and somewhat believable. Furthermore, the heroes of the story are flawed, and as a result, all is not what it appears to be. My cousin Freddy summed it up perfectly with the following excerpt from his blog: “Watchmen at its core is a look into superhero ethics and morality. It is refreshing to see superheroes from this perspective as this theme is hardly played on in most comic books. You get a taste of it sometimes but never to the extent of realising how a superhero could view right from wrong and how best to serve mankind. Another point that was refreshing was the concept that the superheroes in watchmen aren’t all ’super powered’, they are mostly humans with the agenda to do good. This has been a staple of the ‘dc-universe’ and I suppose the most appealing part of the human ’superhero’ is that it is accessible to anyone. I must say that the ‘origins’ of the characters played an important part in seeing the humanity of the superhero in question”. I do not wish to elaborate further, for fear of spoiling the plot. Simply put, the movie has a rich politically driven and drama oriented feel that is complimented by a love triangle (with obligatory sex scene) and copious amounts of action related blood and gore.

The Red Carpet rates Watchmen: 08/10

Take a Bow (or The Red Carpet – Coming together for memorable movie moments!)

After having an immensely good time at the Slumdog Millioniare Premiere, further fuelling my penchant for good cinema; and because of the success of The Upper Palatte, not to mention my new outlook on life, I have created a group for like minded movie goers called:

The Red Carpet.

In essence The Red Carpet is a group for individuals who enjoy, like yours truly, the cinema going experience – large screens (See More), deafening sound (Hear More) and riveting stories (Feel More).  At present, the group is scheduled to meet once or twice a month to ‘screen’ a newly released mainstream or art house film. After each screening, members will have the opportunity to get together after the movie and socialise – most likely over dinner or at a coffee shop. Furthermore, members of The Red Carpet will be notified of any South African premiere’s which may take place and which they may, subsequently, be a part of.

For , I may increase the scope of The Red Carpet to include reviews of movies I have ‘screened’ whether they be new or past releases. For instance, this week alone I have seen the following films: Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Role Models, Seven Pounds, The Visitor, The Secret Life of Bees, He’s Just Not That Into You, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Pulse, Drillbit Taylor and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Then again… with the amount of movies I appear to watch… will I even have time to write about anything else? Perhaps, for now, I will just keep the reviews centred on movies screened by The Red Carpet.

For the opening of The Red Carpet, we will be screening the new Warner Brothers movie Watchmen, on the day of release (06/03/09), at the Imax cinema in the Menlyn Park shopping centre. I first saw the trailer for Watchmen this past Sunday when my family and myself went to see He’s Just Not That Into You. Upon first viewing the trailer, I was awestruck by the unique art style and use of clever cinematography. However, what really hooked me into wanting to see this film was the use of the song ‘Take A Bow’ by Muse, which I immediately recognised as it began midway through the trailer (it actually gave me goose bumps). For those who do not know, I have recently become a huge fan of Muse, having been introduced to their music through their influence on Stephenie Meyer and her enigmatic Twilight Saga. I have even gone so far as to purchase all of their available albums and have subsequently labelled their music as hauntingly beautiful.

For your perusal I have included the Watchmen trailer below. If you would like to see a video of Muse performing ‘Take a Bow’ live, please click here. Make sure to tune in again soon for The Red Carpet’s review of Watchmen!

 

Watchmen Trailer (SA Release: 06/03/09)

Slumdog Millionaire – The South African Premiere

Last week I was spammed notified, by Sterkinekor Entertainment, of the first SA Screening of the Oscar® nominated film: Slumdog Millionaire. In line with my new philosophy on life, to enjoy new experiences through living life to the fullest, I decided to get a few friends together and attend the premiere of this highly acclaimed and accolade endowed film.

The premiere took place at the Cinema Nouveau at Cedar Square in Fourways on Tuesday 17th February 2009 from 19:00. We were all rather impressed with the event since they had a red carpet, with paparazzi and all, as well as free cocktails and buffet-like snacks. Furthermore, it was an opportunity to mingle with South African celebrities (if you even know who they are?!)  as well as obtain free popcorn for the film! Even the author of the book ‘Q&A’, which the movie is based on, was available at the premiere for autographs. I would have liked to have purchased a book and have had it autographed but my disdain for none hard covered/backed books prevented me from splurging for the vastly inferior soft cover version. That is just me! LOL!

I did think about writing my own review of the film, but I found this review from Rolling Stones Online which closely resembles my thoughts and feelings towards the film (Oh all right… I was just too lazy to write one myself *snicker*):

What I feel for this movie isn’t just admiration, it’s mad love. And I couldn’t be more surprised. The plot reeks of uplift: An illiterate slum kid from Mumbai goes on the local TV version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and comes off like a brainiac. Who wants to see that? Final answer: You do. Slumdog Millionaire has the goods to bust out as a scrappy contender in the Oscar race. It’s modern India standing in for a world in full economic spin. It’s an explosion of colour and light with the darkness ever ready to invade. It’s a family film of shocking brutality, a romance haunted by sexual abuse, a fantasy of wealth fuelled by crushing poverty.

You won’t find many fairy tales that open with a graphic torture scene. The cops think 18-year-old Jamal Malik (a sensational Dev Patel) is a fraud. Goaded by the show’s host (the superb Anil Kapoor), the police inspector (Irrfan Khan) is determined to beat the truth out of Jamal before he goes back on the show and hits the jackpot of 20 million rupees. Presumably this is not the way Regis Philbin ran things when the show hit America in 1999.

Brimming with humour and heartbreak, Slumdog Millionaire meets at the border of art and commerce and lets one flow into the other as if that were the natural order of things. Sweet. Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty) brings focus to Q & A, the episodic Vikas Swarup novel on which the film is based. Still, the MVP here is Danny Boyle, who directs the film brilliantly. Boyle is the Irish-Catholic working-class Brit who put his surreal mark on zombies (28 Days Later) and smack addicts (Trainspotting), and made us see ourselves in their blood wars. Those movies were so potent, as was his 1994 debut, Shallow Grave, that we looked the other way when Boyle went Hollywood with The Beach and screwed up with A Life Less Ordinary. Somehow we knew that Boyle had the stuff to work miracles.

Here’s the proof. We learn the history of Jamal and the other principal characters in flashbacks, as Jamal answers questions on the TV show not from book knowledge — he has none — but his own life experiences. Jamal is searching for two people from his childhood: his wild older brother Salim (an outstanding Madhur Mittal), now a thief and killer, and his adored Latika (the achingly lovely Freida Pinto), now stepping up from child prostitute to plaything of a gangster. Every incident, including the brothers’ watching their mother die in an anti-Muslim riot, feeds into Jamal’s answers on the show. OK, the concept bends coincidence to the breaking point. But Jamal’s traumatic youth is his lifeline. Boyle makes magic realism part of the film’s fabric, the essential part that lets in hope without compromising integrity.

Anthony Dod Mantle uses compact digital cameras to move with speed and stealth through the slums and palaces of Mumbai. The film is a visual wonder, propelled by A.R. Rahman’s hip-hopping score and Chris Dickens’ kinetic editing. The whoosh of action and romance pulls you in, but it’s the bruised characters who hold you there. Every step Jamal takes toward his final answer could get him killed. Even in the Bollywood musical number that ends the film, joy and pain are still joined in the dance. The no-bull honesty of Slumdog Millionaire hits you hard. It’s the real deal. No cheating.

PETER TRAVERS

(Posted: Nov 13, 2008)

All in all a brilliant time was had by all who attended! Make sure to view the photographs to see exactly how it went down and to view who the ‘real’ celebrities of the evening were 🙂