Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Competition: Win a copy of Haywire on Blu-ray & a Hoodie!

The Littlest Picture Show is giving you the chance to not only win a copy of Steven Soderbergh's HAYWIRE on Blu-ray, but a HAYWIRE branded hoodie as well! What's more, there are TWO sets of these great prizes to giveaway, so simply read on to find out how to enter...

Soderbergh directs an all star cast in action thriller HAYWIRE, including mixed martial arts supremo Gina Carano as Mallory Kane, a highly-trained black ops specialist, contracted for hazardous covert missions by the US Government. When her paymaster’s point-man (Ewan McGregor) teams her with fellow agent (Channing Tatum) to extract a Chinese journalist held hostage in a Barcelona safe house, the mission swiftly unravels and she barely escapes with her life. During her next assignment in Dublin, with Irish assassin Paul (Michael Fassbender), Mallory is violently betrayed and pursued across the city by the local police and assorted ruthless hitmen.

HAYWIRE is released on DVD & Blu-ray on May 21st 2012


FOLLOW me on Twitter here and TWEET the following:

#COMPETITION: #WIN HAYWIRE on Blu-ray & a branded hoodie! RT & FOLLOW @littlestpicshow to enter! Details here: #film

NOTE: If you're not on Twitter, then you can email the above quote to including your name, with 'HAYWIRE Blu-ray & hoodie COMPETITION' as the subject title.


Entries must be in by May 19th .
The winners will be selected & notified on May 20th.
Open to UK residents only.
No cash alternative. 
Entrants must be 15 or above.


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Review: Lockout

Rating: 15
Duration: 95 mins

Guy Pearce is memorable for some of his film roles, whether it be the amnesia-suffering Lenny in Memento or the unpopular by-the-book Exley in L.A. Confidential, and it's fair to say he doesn't always opt for the conventionally straight forward. However, here he takes on the character of devil-may-care, misogynistic slacker Snow, in space romp Lockout.

What's clear from the beginning is the visual aesthetic of the film: it's clunky, small-fry and very cheap looking, but can arguably be its intention in order to replicate those low-budget sci-fi action flicks of the 90s. Similar to Battleship, it is perhaps important as to how one interprets: either take it at face value as a genuine, serious attempt, or perceive as homage to trashy 90s TV movies.

Pearce exudes a witty, unconcerned and, at times, charming performance that feels at home within the context of the film but is ultimately a very throwaway mixture of character and plot. The dialogue is ridiculously cheesy, and surely intentionally so, because it generates some laughs due to its absurdity.

Whilst Lockout offers action, fun and frivolity, the tackiness and sheer daft nature makes it hard to really appreciate and engage with, making for a very forgettable film, that includes some other talent such as Joseph Gilgun (This Is England). Maggie Grace (Taken) slots into the world well, but it's unsure whether her acting is intentionally bad and whether in fact she is 'in on it' or not.

The locations looks rather small and confined (even though they are admittedly on a locked down space craft), but not in a good way. It fails to pull off the satirical angle it strives for, especially with some horribly created CGI such as as scene where Snow partakes in a high-speed motorbike chase because it looks truly ghastly.

VERDICT: A lot of people will see this as a poorly made film that reflects its low-end budget - around $30m, which, for a modern sci-fi with a big name as the lead, isn't a lot - and sadly, whatever its intention, just comes off as a sloppily formed and terribly cheesy adventure that holds no weight in the scheme of things (pun possibly intended).

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Review: The Avengers

Rating: 12a
Duration: 142 mins

Joss Whedon seems to be the name of the moment right now after the initial success and hyperbole of The Cabin in the Woods. A mere few weeks on -- in only his second director outing (the first being 2005's Serenity) -- he sees his prowess aired on a much grander scale, with the $220m hugely anticipated blockbuster The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble as per the UK title).

Such was the scepticism surrounding the "unfilmable" Watchmen, the logistics of Marvel's ensemble adventure was given the same verdict. However, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator was the preferred choice, handed both writing as well as directing responsibilities. And credit where it's due, because The Avengers offers up more of what we've seen before in the likes of Thor, Captain America and Iron Man, only on a much more impressive scale. Indeed, The Avengers is bigger, louder and funnier than any Marvel superhero movies that's come before it.

Whedon tackles the unenviable task of crafting a film that not only juggles several big names (Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Iron Man), but must also tie in and offer a degree of back story for everyone involved before the film can really get going. This exposition is achieved competently and manages to introduce the characters without it feeling overly cluttered or clumsily rushed. With so many characters and intertwining stories, there's always the danger of the structure unravelling into an ungodly mess. Where the likes of  the Transformers franchise fails, here the extended battles work a lot better due to a finely tuned narrative and direction.

Whilst the film lacks any genuine depth, it does do a lot of things right: the set pieces are thoroughly entertaining, as are some enthralling sequences, which make up a bulk of the lengthy duration. These elements form the basis for an action-orientated romp, yet the entire film does feel drawn out.

The plot is this: after a powerful energy source known as The Tesseract transports exiled Norse god Loki (Tom Hiddlestone) to Earth, he decides to steal it and plan an army invasion in the hope of world domination. S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) begins assembling an elite group of heroes to battle this foe, thus saving the world from imminent destruction. 

What takes place over the first hour is the initial hero assembling. It's not the most thrilling of times, but a necessary chore. This process is followed by Avengers bonding, bickering and then bonding some more on the battlefield. The interspersion of some great jokes makes this Marvel instalment feel more jovial and light-hearted, and is genuinely amusing throughout. However, that sums up the degree of engagement and intellect, as it ceases to opt for anything on a deeper or maturer level. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as The Avengers ticks the boxes when it comes to creating a well-balanced, exhilarating and entertaining genre movie. 

Showing in both 2D and 3D, the latter offers effective depth perception (which is, after all, the main purpose of the feature), but fails to generate any 'wow, that looks amazing!' moments. It works as (in)effectively as pretty much every other 3D conversion out there, so don't be duped into thinking the third dimension is a must.

VERDICT: The Avengers is a souped-up Marvel movie that's more balanced, structured, better written and far funnier than anything that's preceded it. It fits a lot into the long duration, too, but Whedon and cohort Zak Penn have conjured a tight script that offers whimsical excitement and some great CGI thrills, culminating in a spectacle that'll please existing Marvel fanatics, but may struggle to win over the non-converted.

N.B. Listen carefully for the marvellous line of "mewling quim!" Loki spouts in the direction of Black Widow. I take my hat off to whoever let that belter slip past the BBFC.