Sunday, 16 September 2007

Clerks II, Children of Men & Right at your Door -DVD Reviews

It’s been a while since I’ve done this, but seeing as how one of the websites I write for - www.saltyham.com, said I could submit DVD reviews, I thought what the hell, let’s take a look at some of the films I’ve watched recently, beginning with…..
CLERKS II
It was over ten years ago when we first met Dante Hicks and Randall Graves. Back then they were both slackers working at the Quick Stop, spent a great deal of time discussing the merits of the original Star Wars trilogy, as well as complaining about their lives.
Well, over a decade later, they’re back. And guess what? Nothing has really changed.
Clerks II, written and directed by Kevin Smith, sees Dante and Randall working at Mooby’s burger bar, having had to find new jobs because of a fire at the Quick Stop. They’re still serving the public, still having debates about Star Wars, and still annoying the heck out of everyone.
As in the original, Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson are superb in the leading rolls, and, of course, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith as the ever-present Jay and Silent Bob almost steal the show, but it’s the new editions to the cast that are a joy to behold.
Firstly, there’s super-nerd Elias, played by Trevor Fehrman, Dante and Randall’s co-worker at Mooby’s, who is obsessed with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and seems to spend a great deal of time getting the piss taken out of him by Randall.
Then there’s the boss, Becky, played by the perfectly cast Rosario Dawson. Dawson is a breath of fresh air in this role. She’s formed a close bond with Dante, and tries to help him decide whether he really wants to leave everything he knows in New Jersey for a new life in Florida with a woman he’s not really sure he’s in love with.
I must admit that I had my doubts about this one. Having been a huge fan of the original film, I didn’t think that Clerks II could live up to it’s illustrious predecessor. Well, it certainly does, and once again Kevin Smith proves that he’s one of the premier film makers in the business at the moment.
Now onto something slightly darker in tone….
CHILDREN OF MEN
We Brits seem to have a knack of making films in which society is falling apart at the seams. This one’s set in the near future, and that future is very bleak indeed, as the film starts with the news that the youngest person in the world has just died - at the age of eighteen. Mankind is slowly dying, but there is one small hope.
Theo, played by Clive Owen, is asked by his old girlfriend, played by Julianne Moore, who is now the leader of a terrorist group, to help a young immigrant woman get out of the country. Theo uses his government contacts to get the necessary papers, but after one of their group is shot and killed, things take a turn for the worse, Theo becomes an unlikely hero as he has to protect the young woman, even from those who were meant to protect her in the first place.
Children of Men gives us a chilling vision of the future, one that under certain circumstances could actually happen. Owen, as always, is a convincing lead, but kudos must go to Michael Cane for his performance here, and as someone who likes watching films about dystopian futures, this one is certainly recommended.
And finally…..
RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR
Right at Your Door is one of those films that shocks you because what happens here could, given the current state of the world, happen right now.
Mary McCormack as Lexi and Rory Cochrane as Brad are a young couple who have just moved into their new home in suburban Los Angeles. As Lexi goes to work, Brad hears on the radio that there’s been a series of explosions in the middle of the city. But they’re not from normal bombs, they’re from dirty bombs, carrying a deadly virus which will affect the entire city.
While Lexi gets caught in the middle of the chaos, Brad follows the instructions given out on the radio, and with the help of their neighbour’s gardener, seeking refuge in their house, they seal the building off completely so the virus can’t get in.
However, it’s not long before Lexi makes her way back home, but because of the instructions on the radio, Brad can’t let her in, for fear of contaminating the entire house and causing both their deaths.
And this is what makes this story great. Brad runs through the full gamut of emotions as he tries to help Lexi, even though he can’t physically touch her because she’s infected.
And this is what makes this film so scary. The events of Right at Your Door could actually happen. McCormack and Cochrane are perfectly cast in this film, and you feel for the characters as they try to work out what to do in a situation that nobody should ever have to face. But it’s the plot twist at the end of the film which is a real shocker. I won’t spoil it for you here, but all I will say is that you’ll be surprised, but not in a pleasant way.
Well, that’s your lot for this edition. Keep an eye out for the next instalment, after I’ve watched a few more DVDs!
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