First off, I have to say I am completely neutral about Christopher Nolan. He's made some great films, he's made some decent films, and he's done some shit. I have no agenda against him and I'm not a frothing fanboy who explodes into a rage if anyone dares impugn his all powerful name.
Telling the story of the evacuation of the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940, the film uses a non-linear method of storytelling to keep the tension at its highest. Unfortunately, after about an hour it becomes clear that the reason for doing this is because if the film had been filmed in standard, chronological order, the results would have been dull bordering on tedious.
Focusing on a number of characters rather than one or two, the film is castrated by its own fragmented style resulting in a complete lack of depth and the audience being unable to create an emotional connection to any of the more central figures. When you feel the same for Michael Caine's voice on the radio as you do for the more major characters, then something is amiss. There is no sense of danger as Tom Hardy takes to the skies in his Spitfire because he's Tom fucking Hardy, and the trailer managed to conjure up more of a feeling of dread as the German bombers fly over the heads of the English soldiers on the beach than the actual film. Oh, and the appearance of Kim Hartman (Helga from 'Allo 'Allo) at the end was a peculiar casting choice at best.
The acting is good (even One Direction's Harry Styles doesn't embarrass himself), some of the sequences are superbly shot (from the claustrophobic panic of being below decks as a torpedo hits to some of the aerial dog-fights), and Nolan's refusal to overuse CGI has to be applauded. However, as is mentioned in the film, there were around 400,000 troops on the beach waiting to be rescued, but even taking into consideration that those numbers were probably a total over a few days, and likely only half that number were on the beach at one time (and even after comparing it to actual photos) it looks like Nolan only managed to scrape together about 50,000 extras at the most. It's also recorded that were between 700-900 small boats which came to aid the rescue, but again there only looks to be about a total of fifty, all of which leaves a supposedly big budget film looking more like a BBC dramatisation in places.
Cowardice seems to be the main motivational force for many of the characters. Nobody wanted to see a jingoistic USA! USA! type spectacle, but only Mark Rylance's character shows any true heroism. Also, a couple of aeroplanes aside, the lack of having an actual enemy present on the screen is baffling, but one I can overlook in terms of originality. The Germans here are kept as an unseen force and are probably scarier for it.
As a piece of film making, Dunkirk is excellent in many different ways, but if you want a film where you can engage with the characters and feel their horror and fear (not even the drowning pilot evoked any real sense of danger), then this isn't it.
7/10VICTOR CROWLEYaka Hatchet 4
Although it wasn't entirely accurate, sci-fi nerd lore held (at least for a number of years) that every odd numbered Star Trek film was a miss while all the even numbered ones were hits.
Well, meet the opposite to Star Trek.
It might have only been a bog standard stalk and slash film, but the original Hatchet movie was a great bit of extremely gory fun. Using barely any CGI, the film excelled with its clever use of prosthetic and practical effects, had some reasonably entertaining characters, and also featured a quite wonderful pair of tits (anyone who remembers Harmony from Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel really needs to check those bad boys out).
The second Hatchet, however, was nothing short of dire. A succession of badly written in-jokes with only one notable death scene in the entire film.
The third one was a welcome return to form, featured some great kills, had several genuinely witty moments, and succeeded in making the series fun again.
This one - the fourth in the series - is shit. Shit from the moment it starts and shit to the moment it finishes. Dreadful actors play dreadful characters who spend most of their time in the cheapest sets ever constructed. Other than the obviously hilarious gag of "Youtube woke up Victor Crowley", there is absolutely nothing worthwhile about this film.
Actually, hang on. There is one moment. And it would very probably have been a genuinely shit-your-pants scary moment too, if the silly fuckers hadn't included it on the trailer so you knew it was coming.
So, if you do decide to waste eighty minutes of your life watching rubber bodies filled with sausages and garden hoses that spew fake blood, then make sure you don't watch the trailer first.
And then don't watch the film.
I like the director. Adam Green seems to be a genuinely nice guy who loves horror movies, and as he's shown in the past with Hatchet 1 & 3, and Frozen (no, not the Disney one), he's not entirely untalented either. However, if this series is to continue (which it looks like it is), he really needs to hand it over to someone new.
In the early seventies, the US government tried to block The Washington Post from publishing The Pentagon Papers, a series of documents which included top secret information about the government's involvement in the Vietnam War. Steven Spielberg directs Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in this adaptation of the story, and not much actually happens.
After a tightly shot opening fifteen minutes, the wheels soon fall off and the film ends up dragging itself along for the next hour like a sloth shot in the arse with a tranquilizer dart, and the only interesting way to pass the time becomes playing another round of the popular "Hey, Isn't That Him/Her Out Of...?" game.
Things picks up for a while around the hour mark, but the whole thing is strangely lop-sided, focusing on boardroom grumbling, and some fairly inconsequential family issues (typical Spielberg tbf), but casually and far too swiftly glosses over many of the legal details of the Supreme Court case in about one and a half minutes as it rushes towards its inevitable Hollywood ending.
The film is littered with cliches (just how many more films about the news have to show newspapers being printed, loaded onto the backs of lorries and then driven off?), features a speech so desperately dramatic that I just wanted to hand the woman saying it a massive US flag to wave and be done with it, and with Streep's character being the lone woman among a sea of powerful men, the film also fits in nicely with the female empowerment message the Oscars has acquired this year. Although the sequence where she walks through a crowd of wide-eyed and adoring women is perhaps a little too on the nose, even for them.
Also, as disguised as they are with historical subtext, there are some brutally heavy-handed digs at certain other administrations (*cough* Trump *cough*).
I hate to use the term "phoning it in", but Spielberg could have directed this in his lunch hour, and Hanks never gets out of first gear. Streep does her job well, but its mainly the likes of Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad) and Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), and Bruce Greenwood (Gerald's Game, American Crime Story) who actually put the effort in, even if their parts aren't very big.
A school of genetically modified, extra nastified piranha are accidentally released into a US river system by a local recluse and a female skip tracer as they try to track down a pair of missing hikers. Killing anything unfortunate enough to venture into the water, the fish head downstream towards a summer camp and a new holiday resort as they head towards the open ocean.
Directed by Joe (Gremlins, The Howling) Dante, Piranha is gory, suspenseful, fast paced, and loads of fun, with characters you actually care about as well as those that you can't wait to see chomped into tiny pieces.
Seen as a blatant Jaws rip-off at the time (which of course it was), the film's producers, Roger Corman's New World PIctures, were actually sued by Universal until Steven Spielberg intervened, getting them to drop the lawsuit because he enjoyed the film so much.
"Sir, the piranhas"
"What about the goddamn piranhas?"
"They're eating the guests, sir".
8.5/10PIRANHA 2 - FLYING KILLERS
aka THE SPAWNING
Relocating the action to a Caribbean holiday resort, Piranha 2 is a semi-sequel which sort of carries on from the original but tweaks the back story to suit its own needs (the son of the two main characters may or may not be a young boy seen in a throwaway ten second scene at the summer camp in the original). This time, a batch of piranha have been gene spliced with flying fish to make the resulting monsters into an aerial threat as well as an aquatic one. Why exactly? Because it's the 80s and you don't need to ask those kind of questions.
Anyway, divers get munched on a regular basis, Lance (Aliens, The Terminator) Henriksen scowls a lot, there's some naked underwater fun which ends exactly the way you'd imagine, some gratuitous nudity courtesy of the lovely Carole Davis, all performed by a supporting cast made up of heroically untalented actors.
Known primarily as the first feature film to be directed by James Cameron, the truth is that Cameron only worked on the movie for a couple of weeks before he was fired. Although he distances himself from it at every opportunity, the experience certainly left a mark on him, as he ended up naming Van Leuwen, one of the bureaucratic suits from Aliens, after one of the film's female producers, and after a bout of food poisoning, had a dream which resulted in him coming up with the idea for The Terminator.
It's all utterly ridiculous or course, with flying piranhas attached to fishing wire attacking people while they run around screaming a lot, and maybe I enjoy it more than most because of the certain nostalgic feeling it gives me, but Piranha 2 is just cheap, silly harmless fun.
A completely pointless remake of the original, everything about Piranhas is awful. The gender swapping of some of the characters in the name of political correctness simply doesn't work. In the original, Mr Dumont, the head of the summer camp, is a misguided, obstinate hardass, but doesn't go out of his way to upset people. However, his female counterpart in this remake is just an absolute bitch, and makes you wonder how she got a job in a children's camp in the first place.
Also, turning Dr Hoak (a brilliantly manic performance by Kevin McCarthy in the original) into a woman throws the entire dynamic of the fight scene in the control booth off completely, as you simply cannot show curly headed nice guy William Katt (a friendly, amiable writer rather than Bradford Dillman's grumpy alcoholic in the first one) slapping a woman into unconsciousness.
Lines are recycled, actual footage from the original is continuously recycled with absolutely no interest for continuity, the piranhas make a stupid screeching noise while attacking (the bubbly attack noise of the original films wasn't perfect, but it didn't sound terrible) and the whole thing just reeks of cheapness.
The only thing of note is that it happens to be the film debut of Mila Kunis, who plays the extremely blonde William Katt's extremely dark haired and dark eyed daughter.
Not a remake but a complete reimagining, the piranha this time are dino-fish trapped in an underwater cave, released after millions of years by a subterranean earthquake just in time for Spring Break.
There is literally no fucking about here, with a streamlined ninety minutes filled with virtually nothing but jiggling tits and extreme gore. The cast is quite impressive too, with Elizabeth Shue playing the local Sheriff with Ving Rhames as her no-fucks-given deputy. A pre-Parks and Recreation Adam Scott plays a marine biologist, and Jerry O'Connell is brilliant as the sleazy porn producer. There are some nice cameos by Christopher Llloyd, Richard Dreyfuss and Eli Roth, while Porn stars Gianna Michaels and Riley Steele show off their chests in glorious 3D, the latter even engaging in a brilliantly gratuitous five minute nude diving sequence with Kelly Brook for literally no other reason than it looks fucking spectacular.
With half the budget of Piranha 3D, it was obvious that the sequel wasn't going to be anywhere near as good, but it does try its best with some lovely tits and lashings of blood. David Koechner (Champ from Anchorman) plays the sleazy owner of a water park where one of the featured attractions is an adults only pool where female nudity is pretty much compulsory. Pontins was never like this when I was a kid.
The effects aren't as good, the acting certainly isn't as good, but it's fast paced, short, and there are some welcome returns for past characters, as well as cameos from Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd again, and (the director's father) Clu Gulager. Plus David Hasselhoff gets to play an ageing David Hasselhoff. And of course, tits.
"Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina".
Oh, and it's