Films - Old Releases

[FILM] The Simpsons Movie by Allison James

The Simpsons. Once the unquestionable king of cartoon comedy, now currently in its 21st series. It took 12 for it to start declining in quality. Don't get me wrong, it's still watchable, but compared to its glory days 10-15 years ago, it's nothing.The Simpsons Movie is, in series terms, on a par with Series 13-15 - not a wreck, but not hilarious either. It certainly has its moments, but it feels a little too stretched out and at some points it feels like it's trying way too hard to get laughs (here's looking at you, Spiderpig).

In The Simpsons Movie, Lake Springfield is overcome with pollution. A plea from Lisa to the townfolk sees the lake completely fenced off to prevent further, catastrophic contamination. Homer, with the pig he acquired from a Krusty Burger advert, is looking to dump its vast amount of waste quickly to get to a donut giveaway. He chooses Lake Springfield. Alas, the excess polution results in Springfield becoming the most polluted city in America, and the President (Arnold Schwarzenegger, though not guest-voiced by him) blindly chooses a solution which sees the entirety of the city being isolated with a giant, "unbreakable" dome. When the residents discover Homer's to blame for this, they begin a manhunt which ends when the Simpsons discover a sinkhole in their back garden that sends them underneath and out of the dome.

Summary of the rest of the plot - Homer wins a truck (their car, of course, lost in Springfield), move to Alaska, Marge and the kids go back to try to save Springfield, Homer gets lonely and goes back also, and, well, Series 20 followed, so you can figure out if it was a success or not.

So, will regular viewers of The Simpsons be disappointed by the movie? If they've not seen much of the newer stuff, yes. If they have, probably not - it's an improvement on the recent episodes. I wouldn't go so far as to recommending The Simpsons Movie, but if you see it at a low price on DVD somewhere (I got my copy for £5), it's worth watching.



[FILM] The Warriors by Allison James

Note: the copy of The Warriors I own is the DVD of the Ultimate Director's Cut, which is said by the director to be different in certain aspects to the original. The comments I make may not be applicable to the original version.The Warriors is a film from 1979 which focuses on gang culture in New York. It is said by the director, Walter Hill (48 Hrs, Aliens) to take the subject in a futuristic, comic-book way.

The setting of the film is, as said, New York. In this fictional New York, there are around 200 gangs, each controlling their own area (or "turf"). The film begins with representives of 100 of these gangs, including the gang the film looks at, The Warriors, going to a mystery meeting run by The Riffs, the seemingly most promonent gang. The Riffs leader, Cyrus, gives the peaceful crowd a speech about how, if they teemed up, they could easily outnumber the NY police force and run it all. This speech is interrupted when the leader of another gang, The Rogues, shoots and kills Cyrus, then frames it on The Warriors. Most of the remainder of the film focuses on The Warriors' desperate, weaponless return to their turf, and the encounters with enemy gangs they make along the way.

It's a film anyone can enjoy. There's next to no complexity in the plot - the previous paragraph is pretty much all there is to it, but their encounters with other gangs all lead to different results. For example, the 30-strong low-down gang The Orphans seem to have the Warriors outnumbered, until they throw a petrol bomb at the nearest car and blow several of them up. At another point, they have to outrun a gang called the Turnbull ACs to get to the train home in time - the ACs are sporting a large grey bus and a host of melee weaponry.

It's an action film where the entertainment comes as much from the range of characters in the Warriors (the womanising Ajax, the newbie Rembrandt, the serious leader Swan etc) as the stuff they have to endure on their venture home. It comes recommended. And, if you enjoy it, the 2005 videogame out on PS2, the original Xbox, and PSP, serves as a prequel to the story, showing the backgrounds of the characters in the film, as well as being a decent game in its own right.

Here's a trailer of the film, and a trailer for the game too for good measure.




[FILM] Pleasantville by Allison James

Here's the sort of thing the older generation might say: "Films aren't original nowadays". In some ways, it's an agreeable point - the number of action films which do absolutely nothing new is rather high. But, every so often, one is released which has a premise scarcely, or never, seen before. I, personally, have seen nothing like Pleasantville before.Here's the plot. There's a teenage boy (Tobey Maguire) and his sister (Reese Witherspoon). The boy is fascinated with a 1950s black and white comedy soap program, "Pleasantville", in which everything is pleasant. His sister, however, is interested in boys. I won't spoil any of the events in the film, but basically, a series of actions leads to them being sucked into the television and into Pleasantville, where they "become" two of the characters.

As they begin introducing non-pleasant aspects into the village of Pleasantville, such as sex and emotion, things in the world start to change from black and white to colour... then the people engaging in non-pleasant activities do too. The second half of the film focuses on the old fashioned black and white people and the coloured people going against each other.

The film is incredibly entertaining to watch, and very cleverly done. It's a great premise, and the clash between pleasant and non-pleasant (I don't say "unpleasant" because that suggests "bad" - "non-pleasant" can cover emotions like "ecstasy" and "happiness") leads to some interesting results. It was released in 1998, and can be picked up, undeservedly, in most cheap sections of DVD retailers. Highly recommended.