Wednesday, 24 October 2012

COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES - Film Review





Okay, so this might reek of cheap cash in, yet another zombie film to follow all the other zombie films that have been shat out by zombie film makers to the point where you really don’t give a toss about zombie films any more. Well, you should, because this one is a real diamond (geezer) in the rough.



To compare this to Shaun Of The Dead would be… well, pretty fair, really. It’s another wholly British take on the genre, with the evil undead poppng up to ruin some cheeky Cockney’s bank robbery, which they are pulling to save their Granddad’s retirement home from demolition. That’s basically the plot, and as in most zombie films the rest is all about survival. 

 

There’s two sides to the movie. On one, you have the bank robbers, headed by the charismatic Harry Treadaway as Andy, with Rasmus hardicker as his brother and the always lovely Michelle Ryan as their cousin Katy. They’re hindered by the inclusion of Mental Mickey,  deranged hardcase with a LOT of guns, and general idiot Tuppence, played by Jack Doolan (who you right remember playing a general idiot in Cemetary Junction. )



On the other side of the coin is the boys# Granddad Ray, who is brought to snarling life by Alan Ford, known primarily for his star turn as self confessed “Orrible cunt” Brick Top in Snatch.  Here he is only slightly more sympathetic, but as usual steals every scene he is in. With him in the zombie besieged retirement home are such luminaries as Richard Briers, Dudley Sutton, Tony Selby and none other than Honour Blackman. Naturally they provide some priceless moments, such as Briers trying to escape a zombie on his walking frame, the two of them moving at about the same speed (these being the classic shuffling zombies).



As the boys fight to get to the home, and the pensioners try to stay alive, hilarity definitely ensues. Even though it’s got plenty of gore and violence, not to mention copious swearing, Cockneys V Zombies is a laugh out loud comedy piece. In terms of laughs it overtakes Shaun Of The Dead with ease, although the characters aren’t quite as strong. TV scripter James Moran (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Primeval and all that) has managed to get the whole pitch just right, with the laughs taking priority over anything too meaningful or horrible. The squeamish or easily offended will find nothing they like, but if you find the idea of a mash up of Shaun Of The Dead and Snatch an intriguing one, then this wonderful film is a must see. Oh… and it ends with a song about Zombies by Chas & Dave that will stick in your head for days.

Here's the song, and don't say I didn't warn you!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Hotel Transylvania - Film Review


Okay, so I have to say I wasn’t expecting much from this one. Even though I quite like Adam Sandler, it’s easy to become tired of his shtick, and the thought of him hamming it up as Dracula wasn’t an enticing one. Then again, Sony Pictures animation division has turned out some marvellously quirky gems in the past, such as “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs” and “Arthur Christmas”, although one mustn’t forget (or forgive) “The Smurfs” and the inevitable upcoming sequel.


The first thing to note is that Sandler is almost unrecognisable as Dracula, giving a standard “I vant to bite you, bwah ha ha haaa” performance that is just what is needed, although he handles the more tender moments with aplomb when needed. The rest of the cast is filled out with the likes of Steve Buscemi,  Jon Lovitz and Sandler regularsAndy Samberg (Sandlers recent co star from “That’s My Boy” and the should-have-been-a-hit “Hot Rod”), David Spade and Kevin James. It’s arre to find any serious miscasting in animated featires these days, and Hotel Transylvania is no exception, as it’s all about what’s on screen rather than who you can spot doing a voice.

So what IS on screen? For a start, shitloads of sight gags and references to old monster movies that will delight older fans. The script, by the people who brought you Arthur Christmas (and Borat) is sharp as one of Dracula’s fangs, and I genuinely found myself laughing out load several times, and once had to even wipe away a tear (you’ll know the bit when you see it). It’s one of those gems of animation that has as much for adults as it does for kids, and as such truly merit’s the label of Family Film.


If you want the plot, then Dracula has built his Hotel Transylvania so that monsters (who are a lovely bunch really) can come for a break away from all the nasty humans, and no human has ever set foot there until na├»ve backpacker Johnny blunders in. It just happens to be Drac’s beloved daughter’s 118th birthday party, and when the two ids hit it off he has to try and persuade everyone that Johnny is not a human (he has to protect the hotel’s human-free rep) but a cousin of Franenstein (well, his arm, anyway). That’s all you really need to know, except for the fact that this is one of the funniest CGI toons I’ve seen, and after the relative disappointment of Madagascar 3 it will stick the smile right back on the faced of you and any kids you can drag along.