Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (Contains Spoilers)

It just goes to show – sometimes, some things ARE worth getting excited about! Yes, I am a pretty big geek at heart, but I have been waiting for this film to come out for well over a year now and in all honesty it was totally and completely worth the wait!

I’ve been reading the Scott Pilgrim comic/anime books by Bryan Lee O’Malley for quite a while, after being convinced by a friend working in a local comic shop that I should check it out. I immediately loved what I was reading after the first few pages and was completely hooked after that. Since then, I’ve been recommending the Scott Pilgrim books to any of my friends who I think might like them, and they too have become hooked as well. Scott Pilgrim is the ultimate “non-hero”, and the books have this incredible sense of humour about them that hooks you in and keeps you reading just to see what the next funny bit is going to be. Admittedly, it does take a certain kind of sense of humour to get it straight away (“warped” would be an appropriate phrase…), but then that’s just part of what makes Scott Pilgrim so damn good.

As with pretty much anything, there were a couple of things I wasn’t sure I liked, but they were only small and I’ll get to them later. I’m not going to bitch on about how the film is never as good as the books, because people that compare the films to the books too much are looking for reasons to hate what they see. No, I’m not like that – there are very few films that are going to have everything from the book in them and be as good as, if not better than, the book itself, so grow up and move on.

Anyway, the second you start watching Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, you know that you’re watching something entirely different just from the digitised video-game version of the Universal logo. The first bit of the film is almost exactly like the start of the first book (Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life), and I don’t just mean as in the content – I mean like they’ve taken panels from the books and made them a reality! Shot for shot, some scenes are exactly how they appear in the pages, which is probably more of a testament to Edgar Wright’s capabilities as a director to make sure that the film reflected the look and style of the book, and the fact that he had Bryan Lee O’Malley on the set for filming as well goes to show just how closely everyone wanted to keep the film to the style of the books. And this was not unnoticed in the slightest – in fact, it made watching Scott Pilgrim Vs The World even better than it otherwise would have been because you really feel like you’re experiencing a real-life version of the books. But then, bearing in mind that Edgar Wright is mostly responsible for the existence of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead, I’m sure when people heard that he was at the helm of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World they weren’t too worried about how it would turn out and that it was in pretty safe hands!

All of the characters are brilliantly adapted from the books as well – Michael Cera has been proclaimed by Bryan Lee O’Malley as the person to be Scott Pilgrim, as no-one else could ever really capture him. Mary Elizabeth Winstead looks brilliant as Ramona Flowers, even though in the film she comes across as a bit more of a bitch than in the books, when we actually see a lot more of her kind and caring side and therefore we care a lot more about whether they end up together. But for obvious reasons, there is a limited amount of time in a film to do that without ruining the flow of the action, and they managed to get across everything that was needed from the relationship they share in the books. Mark Webber looks exactly like Stephen Stills, and Kieran Culkin does a fantastic job of portraying Wallace Wells’ character who nearly steals the show with the amazing lines he gets in the film. Even screaming fan-girl Knives Chau (17 Years Old) is brought to life by Ellen Wong in a fantastic way, because she gets the geeky side of Knives and how badly she wants to be noticed.

But of course, the best part of the film has got to be the visual effects. The way that Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is brought to life on the screen is done literally like a living comic book, and I honestly think that without all of the visual accompaniments to on-screen actions, the video-game effects taking place in real-world situations and the super colourful fight sequences that catch you off guard at some points, then Scott Pilgrim really would have been missing something important. And as if the comic book text wasn’t enough, the fight sequences are so huge and crazily bombastic you’re not sure if you’re watching a film or playing a really lifelike game of Street Fighter! Arguably the best example of this is the fight scene against super-powered psychic vegan Todd Ingram (played by Brandon Routh) with Scott getting pretty much plastered to the walls, whilst Routh gets all the great lines in the scene. Easily one of the best scenes of the film, along with the fight with Chris Evans’ Lucas Lee.

There were things in the film that had obviously been added, or elaborated on, from the books. One such scene is the spoof of Seinfeld where Scott enters his apartment and has a back and forth with Wallace to a laugh track. This happens for all of about 3 minutes and then stops, never to be heard from again. Why? Why not. That’s part of what made the books so interesting, so why shouldn’t it be the same in the film?

A couple of things I didn’t like, which were only small, we’re the following – the fact that Envy Adams (played by Brie Larson) isn’t heard from again after the fight with Todd Ingram even though she’s a big part of the storyline and Scott’s back-story, that evil mastermind Gideon Graves (played by Jason Schwartzman, who winked at me after I complimented his moustache. Yes, that’s true.) just doesn’t seem as evil in the film, and that Ramona’s bottomless bag isn’t really explained as it’s linked to how she gets about through all the dimensional doors and stuff. Still, that doesn’t stop it from being hilarious when she manages to pull the world’s hugest sledgehammer out of her bag during a fight scene, obviously poking fun at video game characters that walk around with huge great weapons that are unseen until you actually use them.

Essentially, everything that needed to be in the film was there – there was enough explanation behind each of the characters to not leave any holes in the plot; the humour, the visuals accompanying actions and even the best lines from the books were included; actual panels from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s books were used at certain points, and the whole of the film was generally enjoyable from start to finish without really slowing down too much. Each of the fight scenes with Ramona’s Seven Evil Exes was as crazy and ridiculous as you expect them to be. The ending of the film was slightly different from how I expected it to be from the book, but that itself was almost to be expected. The final fight with Gideon Graves is truly epic, but then everything gets shook up when the “Nega-Scott” turns up. But, the way that it ends with Scott arranging brunch with him next week is a veritable stroke of genius to ending the scene.

In short, I loved Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. It was pretty much everything I expected it to be, and it’s almost entirely incomparable to other films in its visuals and style. I would say to anyone seeing this film that you should definitely read the books, either before or after the film, as it will put the film into more perspective and make you enjoy the books even more. Like I said, there’s no point in comparing the film to the books too much, but it’s clear that the film captured a lot of what made the books so great to read. I even loved the way that the film got rounded off with Scott and Ramona heading off together in a similar way to the book, though the means as to how they got there was not what you expect. I’m giving Scott Pilgrim Vs The World a well-deserved 9 out of 10, even if it’s just for the fact that Bryan Lee O’Malley’s books are the best thing to happen to my eyes, ever! The film is awesome (easily in my Top 3 of the year!), and everyone should give it a go, even if it’s just to see what all the fuss is about!

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The Gaslight Anthem – “American Slang”

Heart is something that tends to get overlooked in some modern day music. Songs about going to clubs, or driving fast cars, or worrying about how you look all lack that essential thing that makes good music completely believable. Heart is something that can make or break a band just starting out, and it is what can keep some bands going for years. One thing that The Gaslight Anthem aren’t lacking in is heart, and that’s what makes them such an interesting band.

The Gaslight Anthem have been heralded as pioneers of the blues-punk genre in their home of New Jersey, and indeed around much of the globe that they have toured. Their influences have been clear from the very start of their career – Miles Davies and many other blues legends, punk influences of all kinds, and above all Bruce Springsteen who they have been fortunate enough to share a stage with as well. Yes, it’s clear where The Gaslight Anthem get their sound from, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something unique. In fact on this, their third studio album American Slang, their own style of blending the heart and soul of blues and the honesty and drive of punk-rock is very much in the foreground.

Their last album The ’59 Sound was a huge success for Brian Fallon, Alex Rosamilia, Ben Horowitz and Alex Levine collectively known as The Gaslight Anthem and truly brought their name into the limelight for a lot of people. However, it was obvious that on The ’59 Sound they were following in the paths of a lot of their influences in their style, but American Slang shows that they are more keen to break out and create something entirely new than they would otherwise have let on.

The album starts with the first single and title track American Slang, which is a beautiful song to start with and Brian Fallon’s unmistakeable vocals bring the lyrics a sense of honesty, even though the guitar refrain sounds just a smidge like The Edge from U2. But it’s alright, because the next few songs follow suit and create a lively sense of trueness, like all the lyrics have been something each member has experienced whilst writing the album. Bring It On is probably the one song on the album where their Springsteen-esque sound comes to the foreground, but again, this is not a bad thing as it smacks of punk-style too with its lyrics mid-way through of “wait a minute, wasn’t I good to you? You don’t know what’s good for you”, blending together their love of Springsteen and the attitude of old school punk in a perfect harmony.

Most of the first lot of tracks up to The Queen of Lower Chelsea suffer the downfall of having a very similar tempo and time signature, despite how different their styles might be, which means that some of them start to become a bit samey and predictable. That all changes with Orphans, though, which mixes everything up into something a lot more bouncy and fast paced with its chorus of “And the lonesome all understand. With their choirs in my head, we were orphans before we were ever your sons of regret”. Orphans leads into the albums second single Boxer, and its story of knowing someone is better than they are shows even more of the heart that’s there behind every Gaslight Anthem song in its swinging riffs that you can’t help but stop and take notice of.

Second to last song The Spirit of Jazz is rather ironically the most punk-rock track of the album, and bursts outwards with bouncy, punchy punk riffs that truly shows more of the true-blue punk rock side of The Gaslight Anthem. Final track We Did It When We Were Young is a considerably slower end to a somewhat faster paced album, but it’s still an emotionally charged song that ends the album in a fitting way.

Yes, heart and soul is definitely something that The Gaslight Anthem have an abundance of. They know where they came from, who their influences are, and what they do best and they do it with such honesty and conviction that you don’t once feel like you’re listening to something fake or manufactured. The Gaslight Anthem have such an air of honesty about their songs because they truly believe in what they are singing about, and that is what gives them the heart behind their lyrics that you can’t help but love. If you haven’t checked out The Gaslight Anthem before, then it’s about time you did, because this album is very hard not to like!

The Last Airbender (Contains Spoilers)

There are certain films that directors or writers create that define their careers within the industry. Some win Academy Awards, some break bold new ground in film-making and some are achieved through minimal budgets and grow to success through their great storytelling. Some are even the brainchild of one person at the helm who creates all the parts of such a successful film single handedly, which then becomes their shining moment in the film-making industry. Unfortunately for M. Night Shyamalan, The Last Airbender is not this film. In fact, it’s probably the furthest thing from it. He has written, produced and directed The Last Airbender and it really shows that he’s bitten off more than he can chew by himself.

I did actually have rather high hopes for this film when I first saw that it was being made into a live action film – after all, the original series Avatar: The Last Airbender (or The Legend Of Aang if you’re outside the USA) was a pretty good attempt at an American-made Animé series. It had plenty of layering and a concept that was pretty cool and original. There were a lot of things going on in the series that weren’t always pointed out, like the way that each Nation uses a different style of Martial Arts reflective of what Element they can bend (i.e. Tai Chi bends Water because of the flowing motion, the Fire element uses lots of jabs and sweeps, etc), it was dramatic and comedic in all the right areas and generally had a lot going for itself. However, it’s a shame to say that a lot of what made Avatar: The Legend of Aang good did not translate well onto the screen.

To start with, M. Night Shyamalan has tried to condense an entire series into a one-and-a-half hour long film, which obviously makes more sense than trying to condense all THREE seasons into one film, but this still means you’re likely to lose a lot of impact if you’re not very careful with what parts you cover. Everything gets introduced very quickly, and as such it means that characters announce themselves so that everyone knows who all the characters are straight away in a completely untactful manner (i.e. “My name is Prince Zuko, and I demand you give me your elderly.” – actual line of dialogue. True fact.), and from this point on there is a lot of untactful announcements of actions that are to come (i.e. “We should go to these small cities and liberate them. Shall we do this?” “Yes.” – more actual dialogue. Yes, it keeps going…). The whole script, from start to finish, seemed to have whole sections of disjointed lines of dialogue that didn’t have any point.

M. Night Shyamalan’s coverage of the events of the first season definitely manages to get all of the important bits in, that’s for sure. Only thing is that it completely at the expense of any kind of coherency of any kind. The storyline doesn’t so much progress, but more jumps about from bit to bit. One scene, the characters will be doing something in one place, and then the next they’ll suddenly be somewhere else without any explanation of how they got there. The plot starts becoming so full of holes, Shyamalan might well have written it on Swiss cheese. As well as this, he’s managed to write in this annoying narration that keeps cropping up at inappropriate times during the film. Sure, the series is narrated in part by the character of Katara (played here by Nicola Peltz), but in certain scenes during the film such as when they arrive at the Northern Water Tribe, it’s no longer a narration but a full-on audio description. Literally, the narration is telling the audience about things they are ACTUALLY WATCHING. It doesn’t enhance the viewing or tell us anything we don’t know, but instead is purely annoying and not much else.

Despite this, The Last Airbender did have some good effects going for it – the way they managed to achieve the bending of the elements was very well pulled off, but it was clear that a vast majority of the budget had gone on that as Aang’s flying Bison Appa made all of about 3 appearances throughout the entire film, even though in the series he’s pretty much part of the main cast. Obviously, there was a bit too much to animate there, and instead Shyamalan spent the money on cool Fire and Water effects instead. Even with this in mind, seeing the film in 3D wasn’t all that much more impressive as there were no real bits throughout the film that really made very good use of the 3D effects technology. Instead, you end up seeing the film with slightly better depth perception rather than having huge towering flames or water pulses flying out the screen at you like I would have expected.

On top of this, the acting left a lot to be desired. Newcomer Noah Ringer plays Aang (here pronounced “Arh-ng” instead of the original “Aa-ng” for some reason) and does as good a job as can be expected from someone relatively new to the big time, but being the central character you would expect Shyamalan to work with him to be as believable as possible, and that didn’t seem to have happened. Jackson Rathbone’s character of Sokka (again, now pronounced “Sow-kah” instead) was made out to be this serious hunter-warrior type when he’s actually more of the comic relief in the series as well as that. It’s easy to see why he’s becoming more successful for his role in The Twilight Saga, because the writing of the characters here didn’t help him much.

What I also couldn’t understand and generally confused me throughout the film was why the Fire Nation were suddenly all Indian. Shyamalan may be Indian in origin himself, but casting an entire nation of evil guys bend on enslaving the rest of the world as entirely Indian when the other nations are American or Asian has GOT to be a little Un-P.C., right? It wasn’t like that in the series (all the nations were generally Asian), so why is it suddenly like that now? More to the point, why is it that Uncle Iroh (Shaun Taub) looks nothing like the character he’s meant to play, and is part of the Fire Nation and speaks with a SPANISH accent? Its parts like these that generally make less and less sense as the film goes on. The only saving grace is Dev Patel as Prince Zuko. He plays his part with conviction, even though his character is written into doing actions that have no explanation other than setting things up for stuff that happens after the film has ended, such as his sister being favored over him for her Firebending skills.

Generally, I felt that not unlike the visual effects of the film, the script and the characters were surprisingly two-dimensional. Not only that, but it is now confirmed that there are to be another 2 films (at least) to follow this one in order to complete the storyline. If these are going to take off in any way, then Shyamalan is going to have to do considerably better than what he’s done with this film. It’s not even that the film wouldn’t have done well anyway – in fact, with the right approach to it, The Last Airbender could have been something really great. Only, it hasn’t, and there’s no changing that now.

Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh considering that this IS a film directed mostly at a younger age group, but I’m giving The Last Airbender a 4 out of 10 and that’s mostly just because I liked the series for its originality and because just a little of that made it through to the film, but probably not enough to make me go back for more.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Contains Spoilers)

Perhaps it is a case of me building up how good something is going to be in my own mind, and then that particular something not quite delivering to the extent I think it’s going to be. I mean, it does happen a lot with certain films, but in all honesty The Sorcerer’s Apprentice came fairly close and only fell slightly short of the mark that I had predicted for it. But that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it – in fact, it’s one of the more enjoyable and easily accessible films I’ve seen recently.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice isn’t exactly one of these films that I have spoken about in which you don’t have to engage your mind very much. Ok, it might not exactly be very challenging either considering that it IS a Disney-produced movie, but thinking of it as being on par with films like Pirates of the Caribbean or Jerry Bruckheimer’s other Disney Studios film this year Prince of Persia is a bit closer to how mentally engaging it is. It is almost a mixture of equal parts clever storytelling and entertaining CGI graphics, mixing the intelligent parts with the effects-lead distractions pretty well.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice basically tells the story of Dave (Jay Baruchel), a young physics nerd who meets Master Sorcerer Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) who tells him that he is the last in the bloodline descendants of Merlin, and must be trained in Sorcery in order to keep the world safe from Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina) who wishes to release Morgana le Fay from her prison and take over the world. Ok, so it doesn’t seem like the most original plot conflict in the world (and in fact, there are bits of it that are a bit predictable because of it) but its the way the story is told and what they do with it that set’s it apart.

There were probably an equal amount of things that I loved and thought less of in this film. Firstly, even though it could have been FAR too easy to do in a film such as this, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice managed not only to steer clear of but completely avoid something I call the “Harry Potter Excuse”. The “Harry Potter Excuse” acts as a plot device which can instantly explain any action taken by someone in a film by saying “It’s magic” and thusly needs no further explanation. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice managed to go the opposite route and ground all the mystical actions of the characters in the real world through saying that Sorcery is a mixture of both Magic AND Physics. The explanation is all there when you watch it, but trust me when I say that it definitely grounded the story a lot more than I thought possible.

There’s also the right mixture of humour and action in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Despite how much Nicolas Cage wears that particular look on his face (you know, the one he put on in Con Air and seems to have had ever since?), he does manage to introduce an element of cool humour to his character of Balthazar, and Jay Baruchel is gradually making his way to the big time with his geeky-but-lovable charm that we saw in How To Train Your Dragon and now in this film, where he brings his natural humour to his main character.

Essentially, there is a lot to be liked in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice as there is something for everyone to enjoy – there’s humour, high-budget effects, a storyline that can easily entertain both kids and adults alike and a concept that draws you in and keeps you from the start. There are effects-driven scenes that are pretty entertaining, such as the car chase scene where the cars change form, and there are parts of the storyline that are pretty grounded so you don’t feel like you’re watching something with too much suspended disbelief. However, as with many films, there was always going to be things that didn’t quite measure up…

Firstly, the biggest thing that The Sorcerer’s Apprentice lacked in was the emotional engagement with the characters. The death scene with Balthazar Blake was pretty obviously on its way, but the only thing that surpassed this obviousness was the fact that he get’s brought back to life again when it actually would have been a bit more emotionally compelling if he had died at the end instead. Perhaps we’re giving a Disney produced movie a bit too much credit as far as depth of character goes, but even so there could have been a bit more to that scene than there was. And on the subject of depth, Jay Baruchel’s Dave probably could have used a bit more of a struggle of character throughout the film, as there wasn’t really anything that created any kind of inner turmoil with him. That’s not to say anything about Jay’s performance, he’s actually very good, but there could have been more of a connection established with his character so that we feel a bit more when things happen to him. Perhaps if it had panned out that Horvath had killed off his love interest (who actually doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than being a love interest until the very end) at the point towards the end when he holds her hostage, that would have created a bit more of a double layering to his character with the consequences of doing the right thing? Maybe, but again perhaps we’re forgetting that this is a family movie and therefore doesn’t require too much depth of character in its make-up.

The only other thing I found annoying, but also satisfied that it didn’t last far beyond the opening credits, was all the obvious narrative pointing that goes on for all the set-up when it probably could have, with a little bit of clever writing, have been a script-lead set up of its own. And it probably was to begin with, but my guessing is that it ran a little to long and they couldn’t shorten it without losing storyline, so they had it narrated instead. At the end of the day, it serves a purpose and gets to the main storyline quicker, but it still seems like it could have been handled a bit differently and been better off because of it.

Apart from these, and the occasional obvious plot-hole and loose end, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is basically a fun, enjoyable film for people who like action, fantasy and comedy all together in a neatly tied together package. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice gets an 8 out of 10 for enjoyability, but the lack of depth from the same people who made National Treasure (which was cleverer in its make-up and set the bar for this) let it down a little bit.

The A-Team (Contains Spoilers)

I have to start this by saying, straight away, that at first I was totally against this film. I thought that re-making anything from TV into a film that’s anything less than Star Trek just wouldn’t work and would wind up being a poor example of film-making and un-original scripts. Then I started hearing more about it, and seeing more about it, and how it was being reworked to be modern and new and fresh. And I STILL thought that it would be a bad idea, but one that the general masses might mindlessly go in their droves and see, thusly meaning they make back their budget spent on production. Then I started seeing trailers for it and thought “Ok, maybe this could be a bit of fun…”.

So when I decided that I’d give it a go and see it, I found that it actually wasn’t too bad, but it’s also exactly what it seems – its fun, its big and bombastic, and you don’t have to think too much whilst you’re watching it. Which is good, because it’s not setting out to be much more than that anyway. Why would it, it IS the remake of The A-Team, and that wasn’t the most thought-provoking series in the world. So in that sense, it’s actually a very loyal re-imagining!

What The A-Team essentially gives you is 2 hours worth of pretty hollow entertainment. Now, “hollow entertainment” isn’t always a bad thing – even the most snobby of film-goers will likely have a couple of them in his DVD cabinet for the odd occasion they just want to watch something you don’t have to have your brain turned on for. And that’s why these kinds of films are good, because for that time you can forget what other things are going on in the world and be with Hannibal, Face, Murdock and BA for a bit. Despite being a bit brainless, they are still popular and there’s no denying that, so its healthy to see one or two every so often. And The A-Team is probably a pretty good bet if you want the guilt-free feeling of seeing something at least a bit grounded in some sort of culture!

One of the few things that I didn’t like about The A-Team was that they felt the need to explain how they all came together in the beginning, which gave it the feeling of being an “origins movie”. Which, in my experience, are never really a good thing unless they get that part over with pretty quickly. The fact that they all met each other partly by chance didn’t sit too well for me, and neither did that for the first 15 minutes of the film there were a few too many close-ups of Liam Neeson being Hannibal Smith, as if they really wanted you to know who he was! Also, the fact that B.A. Baracus (played in this by former UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson) has kicked the asses of several guys for no apparent reason before you even see his face seemed a little bit out-of-place and perspective, but its all over as quickly as it started and moves on to other things. Sharlto Copley does, quite frankly, a fantastic job as Murdock – he’s crazy in all the right places, gets pretty much all the laughs throughout the film, and does so many different dialects its insane. In fact, his part is beaten only by Bradley Cooper being Lt. Faceman “Face” Peck, which was brilliant, if a little obvious, casting as this is the perfect kind of role for him to play and he does it brilliantly.

The storyline of the film was, for the most part, only a little grating as it felt like a majority of the storyline felt like the exposition you normally get right at the start of the film before everything else moves along. It felt like most of the film was building towards something that only happened 20 minutes from the end, which I didn’t like as it should all have been dealt with a bit sooner and they probably could have achieved this if they had been able to step right into the team all being together instead of having them all meet at the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, this does mean we get to see Murdock barrel-rolling a helicopter and dropping a vent onto B.A.’s truck, but that surely all could have been worked into the film somewhere else too. But it all does build towards something, so it is sort of like a plan coming together in the end as Hannibal says, so maybe that’s why?

Apart from all of the set-up throughout most of the film, the action is a lot of fun and the character interactions are hilarious, even at the end when all of the explosions get a little TOO ridiculous and yet everyone still manages to live through it (except for the henchmen, obviously!). However, for all the fun and action and comedy you are getting, it’s not hard to forget you are still watching something just a little hollow, and as such it does suffer from something called “Take-Away Syndrome” – you have plenty of fun whilst you’re there with it, but an hour later and you’ll have pretty much forgotten about it. That doesn’t mean it’s not any good, in fact I really did enjoy The A-Team – it’s just not the kind of film you finish watching and spend hours thinking about afterwards.

As such, I’m happily giving The A-Team a 7 out of 10 for all the fun and explosions, and the ability to switch your brain off for a while, but not for being anything much more than that. Definitely worth going to see if you watched the original series or just want something to chill out and watch.

LISTED Film Previews – August ’10

Once again, here be another bunch of cinema releases happening soon that I’d really like to go and see, but will probably not actually get the chance to do so. *Sigh* oh well, such is life I suppose. HOWEVER, I have made special arrangements with people as far as Scott Pilgrim goes, so expect me to be jumping around like spring on E by the time that gets released! Anyway, enjoy…

THE LAST AIRBENDER (PG) (Dir. M. Night Shyamalan)

Based on the kids cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang (Noah Ringer) is the last of the Air Nation Nomads and the successor in a long line of Avatars who have the ability to control all four elements. After being frozen, he is found by two siblings from the Water Tribe (including Jackson Rathbone from Twilight Saga), and his training begins for his ultimate task – to defeat the Fire Nation Lord and the scarred Prince Zuko (Dev Patel), and end their century-long war on the other three nations. This film might not be the most substantial release of the year, but it will definitely provide some cool effects and entertaining fight scenes, as well as being the biggest 3D release of the year alongside Toy Story 3, so it’s worth checking out for fun. Released August 13th.

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE (PG) (Dir. Jon Turteltaub)

The second film of the year (along with Prince of Persia) which will further make Jerry Bruckheimer a formidable force in Hollywood, this film also comes from the same director/producer team as National Treasure. Nicolas Cage is Master Sorcerer Balthazar Blake, who recruits a seemingly average guy (Jay Baruchel) to assist him in his quest to keep New York City safe from his arch-enemy Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Expect kids and adults alike to be thoroughly entertained by the storyline and visuals of this film, to the extent that it might be successful enough to earn itself a sequel and Nic Cage a better reputation. The tagline reads “It’s the Coolest Job Ever”, and from the trailers that seems all too true! Released August 13th.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD (12A) (Dir. Edgar Wright)

Quite possibly the sleeper hit of the year, Scott Pilgrim is adapted from the series of comedy anime books centred on the layabout musician of the same name (Michael Cera) who falls for the new girl in town, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Only thing is, in order to properly date the funky-haired girl of his dreams, he must first fight (and defeat!) her Seven Evil Exes. Trust me when I say that this is going to be a comedy unlike anything else you have seen, combining together the best parts of the comic (literally, with “comic” text accompanying actions throughout) with awesome effects and the director of Shaun of the Dead backing it to make one single epic entity! Definitely catch this if you like quirky comedy of a different kind! Released August 13th.

THE EXPENDABLES (15) (Dir. Sylvester Stallone)

A film directed by Sly Stallone himself doesn’t sound like the deepest, most thought-provoking film in the world. But when it’s one that stars pretty much every significant action star of the last few decades, how can you really NOT be tempted to watch it? Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren are a team of mercenaries dispatched to South America to overthrow a dictator. Don’t be mistaken – this is going to be a big film! Released August 19th.

As published in Listed Magazine Issue 30 and on www.listedmagazine.com