Dredd (2012) Review

Dredd (2012)

Directed by Pete Travis

Screenplay by Alex Garland

Based on Judge Dredd by John Wagner & Carlos Ezquerra

Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris, Lena Headey, Domhnall Gleeson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Karl Urban stars as Judge Dredd, a law enforcer given the power of judge, jury and executioner in a vast, dystopic metropolis called Mega-City One that lies in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Dredd and his apprentice partner, Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), are forced to bring order to a 200-storey high-rise block of flats and deal with its resident drug lord, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).

My Opinion:

I finally watched this movie for three reasons:

1) I loved Alex Garland’s Ex Machina and noticed after seeing it that he’d also written the screenplay for Dredd (as well as two other favorites, 28 Days Later & Sunshine)

2) I’m a big fan of a little movie called Hardware (as some of you well know) which, like Judge Dredd, comes from the comic book 2000 AD and

3) I was also a big fan of Anthrax in my teen years and they had a song about Judge Dredd (called I Am The Law) so I was always curious about the character as Anthrax always sang about cool shit.

Oh – and before I start this review, I better give a shout-out to Mike of Screenkicker for finally doing as I said and watching Hardware the other night. Thanks for the running commentary on Twitter as you watched my awesome recommendation, Mike! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve been getting a little sick of all the comic book movies in recent years. I go to them, yes, and I’ve enjoyed the majority of them. They always make for good “popcorn” movies but I can’t say they ever really end up being all-time favorites of mine (although I did love Guardians Of The Galaxy). I even get a little bored with the Avengers, especially when they stick them all in one movie together. Superhero overload!

However, this I quite liked. The dystopian setting and the ultra-violence in Dredd is such a far cry from the likes of the glossy & pretty Marvel films (and Thor’s beautiful hair. and non-hairy butt). It’s weird as I don’t normally like extreme violence but, sometimes, I can stomach it if I think it suits a film and its mood. In the case of Dredd, it works. I hated Sin City. I hated Kick-Ass. I liked Dredd.

As usual with these kind of films, I have ZERO knowledge of the comic book so I can’t compare them but I do know that fans were a million times happier with this version than with the 1995 Sylvester Stallone film (which I have no interest in ever seeing as it looks cheesy as hell). I can’t say I fully bought into the character of Judge Dredd in this, though, as it was more the overall look & mood of the film that worked for me. But this movie does have me interested in knowing more about Dredd’s world as well as knowing more about Judge Dredd himself since there’s unfortunately very little development of the title character.

My favorite bits of the film were the “Slo-Mo” sequences in which we saw the action & excessive violence in slow motion (the way in which those who take the hallucinogenic Slo-Mo drug in the film would see things). These scenes were quite beautiful in a way & I liked that they looked like comic book panels (such as in the above photo). From what I read, Alex Garland helped work on these scenes and spent a very long time getting them just right. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a sequel as Dredd did poorly at the box office but, after proving himself with Ex Machina, I’d love to see a Dredd sequel directed by Garland.

Obviously, I did really enjoy Dredd but I can’t pretend that it doesn’t have its issues. It’s a very flawed film in some ways. I know they chose to focus on just one story instead of an origin story or one that’s more about Judge Dredd himself and, while I did like the Slo-Mo/Ma-Ma drug lord story, I certainly can’t say I know much more about the character of Dredd or his world after this film. Heck, I’d say I don’t know any more about Judge Dredd now than I already knew from that Anthrax song I mentioned.

As I said above, there’s also very little character development of not only Dredd but of all the characters so it was hard to care about any of them. I did like Dredd’s female partner in this but she’s not given a lot to do and ends up a bit too “damsel in distress” for my liking. Things like Mad Max: Fury Road have proven that you can have women who kick ass! Lena Headey is fine as a fairly predictable victim turned villain while Karl Urban is also a decent enough Dredd but, to be honest, someone else could’ve played the character and it wouldn’t have made much difference to this film (except Stallone!). The most sympathetic character was the one played by Domhnall Gleeson (below), who is used very cruelly by Ma-Ma. And I have to say I had no clue that was Domhnall Gleeson until the end credits. Guess his Garland connection landed him the role in Ex Machina! (And I’ll be seeing Gleeson later tonight in…. what’s it called again? Oh yeah – The Force Awakens?) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Summary:

I enjoyed Dredd quite a bit despite its flaws. It’s far from perfect but if you just want a kick-ass, ultra-violent action movie with some style, you won’t be disappointed. If you want something deep or strong characters you’ll buy into, this may not be the film for you. I have to say that my husband and I like a lot of the same movies but when we disagree, we really disagree, and he was very disappointed with this film. I do think you’d either love this one or hate it.

I love anything post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian so this movie’s world suits me just fine. The only comics/graphic novels that I’ve ever read are Watchmen & Tank Girl plus I really liked the V For Vendetta film (although I’ve not read that). I guess I’m just more of a fan of dystopian British sci-fi comics than the slick & glossy American ones. Maybe I just need to get more sun? That’s why the British dystopian thing works so well – the writers aren’t getting any sun! Because, seriously – England is dreary. I can’t imagine someone being able to create Judge Dredd in California!

As for movies based on stories in 2000 AD, however, I have to say that Hardware did it better than Dredd did and on a FAR smaller budget. I liked Dredd a lot and would love to see a sequel where we learn much more about the character but I do wish the film was a little better overall. It does kick ass, though. 

My Rating: 7.5/10

**Stay tuned tomorrow for my review of The Force Awakens! Hopefully. I’ll be very very tired….. ๐Ÿ™‚

Advertisements

My Top Ten Songs Where The Title Isn’t In The Lyrics

I get really annoyed when a song isn’t named what it should be. Such as: Why the hell isn’t Baba O’Riley by The Who called Teenage Wasteland?! They don’t mention the words Baba O’Riley at all in the song but they sing “Teenage Wasteland” over & over again!

Okay, it doesn’t REALLY annoy me all that much – there are bigger things in life to worry about. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I did think it would make a fun top ten list! Like last week, though, I’m going to be annoying & make this a Top 20 (there were too many!). Feel free to add any you think of – I admit that with this list I’ve only looked through what’s on my iPod so there will be loads of songs I’ve not thought of or not mentioned.

So here are My Top Twenty Songs Where The Title Isn’t In The Lyrics (ranked roughly according to how much I like the song – I don’t think the order is important with this one):

20. MGMT – Kids (Should Be: Take Only What You Need)
19. Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (Should Be: Really Hurt Me Baby)
18. Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song (Should Be: Ah Ah Ahhhhhhh AH!)
17. Death From Above 1979 – Black History Month (Should Be: Dunno. Maybe “Hold On”. But that’s a Wilson Phillips song…)
16. Blink 182 – Dammit (Should Be: This Is Growing Up)
15. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Brendan’s Death Song (Should Be: I’m Almost Gone)14. Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues (Should Be: I have no idea… How about “Mixin’ Up The Medicine”!)
13. Interpol – Evil (Should Be: Rosemary)
12. New Order – Blue Monday (Should Be: How Does It Feel?)
11. Daft Punk – Instant Crush (Should Be: We Will Never Be Alone Again)

Top Ten:

10. Public Image Ltd – The Order Of Death
Should Be: This Is What You Want, This Is What You Get

I adore John Lydon & this Public Image Ltd song, which is used prominently in the shower scene in Hardware. Yes! I’ve managed to once again mention the movie Hardware on my blog! Anyway, it’s an awesome song title even if it’s not said – most of the titles in this list are better than my “Should Be” titles.

9. Blur – Song 2
Should Be: Woohoo!

Such a fun song! It’s apparently named Song 2 because it’s two minutes long plus I think it was also the second song on the album? I sometimes play it when timing my kid’s toothbrushing (because kids are meant to brush for two full minutes, right?). Well, it’s a fun way to brush teeth!

8. The Police – Synchronicity II
Should Be: Not sure – maybe “Many Miles Away”

I used to really be into song lyrics as a teen/early twentysomething – you know, the age when you have time to waste on that kind of shit. But I never looked into the lyrics to this one at all until now. Pretty deep stuff with this one! And pretty bleak. This is quite possibly my very favorite song by The Police, who I don’t think really got the credit they deserved. An excellent band & I think I now like this song even more after reading the lyrics but I have to say I still don’t understand the title. I’m too old to think about these things.

7. TIE: Gorillaz – Dirty Harry & Clint Eastwood
Should Be: I Need A Gun & Sunshine In A Bag

I love Gorillaz!!! Do any Americans here know their songs? I think they were far bigger in the UK. I’m actually reading Tank Girl at the moment because it was created by the same guy (Jamie Hewlett) who created this “cartoon band” (one member of the band being adorable Damon Albarn from that picture of Blur I posted for Song 2). These are my two favorite songs of theirs & it made sense to put “Clint Eastwood” & “Dirty Harry” together for this post. The titles are cool. The look of the band is cool. The songs are cool. They should be even bigger than they are!

6. Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five – The Message
Should Be: Don’t Push Me

Seriously. Don’t push me. I’m close to the EDGE! 

5. The Who – Baba O’Riley
Should Be: Teenage Wasteland

I’ve not researched all of these songs but did of course look into this one. Here’s a bit about it from Genius.com:

Initially part of an idea (later thrown aside) of a follow up rock opera โ€” Lifehouse โ€” to Tommy, Pete Townshend wrote it after his experience at Woodstock. The name of the song is a combination of Meher Baba – an Indian guru that kept silent from 1935 until his death in 1969 who inspired Townshend spiritually, and Terry Riley โ€” a musician and classical composer that also inspired him.

There’s actually a lot more to it if you want to read about it at Wikipedia – it’s an interesting read. But whatever the reason for the title, it’s a damn good song.

4. The Cure – Lullaby
Should Be: The Spiderman

I just really really like this song. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Love The Cure.

3. David Bowie – Space Oddity
Should Be: Ground Control To Major Tom

Well, okay – I assume this title is a play on words after 2001: A Space Odyssey. I looked this one up too. Turns out this song is actually about alienation. I thought it was about a guy going into space! I’m so damn literal. This song has now gone up even more in my estimation. And I already loved it like crazy before. Because: Bowie. ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
Should Be: Not sure but any excuse to get Black Sabbath into a list… How about “I Am Frowning All The Time”

Black Sabbath have quite a few songs where the title isn’t in the lyrics (except Iron Man, of course). I almost used Black Sabbath but the word “black” is said, so – close enough! I do love the lyrics to Paranoid – you can tell that Sabbath come from dark, grey, dreary England… ๐Ÿ˜‰

1. The Clash – Train In Vain
Should Be: Stand By Me

Okay – clearly The Clash couldn’t use Stand By Me as the Ben E. King song was such a huge hit. I’m thinking I like The Clash even more than I realized – this song also topped my list of My Top Ten Happy Songs. I love it! And Train In Vain is an excellent title even though I’m sure most people can’t name it.

Almost Mentions:
(I considered these but in looking up the lyrics, I ruled them out as at least one of the words was mentioned)
Harvey Danger – Flagpole Sitta
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now
Radiohead – Paranoid Android (how can I have not noticed that in this song, one of my absolute all-time favorite desert island tracks, there’s a voice saying the words paranoid & android in the background the whole time?!)

CPD Classics: Hardware (1990) Review

20140207-042628 am.jpg
Hardware (1990)

Directed by Richard Stanley

Starring:
Dylan McDermott
Stacey Travis
John Lynch
Iggy Pop
Carl McCoy
William Hootkins
Mark Northover
Paul McKenzie
Lemmy

Running time: 94 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Hardware is a British-American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film. Inspired by a short story in 2000 AD, the film depicts the rampage of a self-repairing robot in a post-apocalyptic slum.

20140207-043524 am.jpg
Why It’s A CPD Classic:

This movie is all kinds of awesome. Why isn’t it more well known? First of all, it’s a “post-apocalyptic science fiction horror”. How cool is that? I love sci-fi, I’m not huge on horror but love it when it’s GOOD (like this is) and, for whatever reason, I’ve always been a sucker for that whole post-apocalyptic thing (you can see my list of My Top Ten Apocalyptic Movies HERE).

20140207-043425 am.jpg
I will say this is quite low budget and feels more like a very early 80s film than a 1990 one. That’s a good thing anyway as the 90s sucked & had a terrible look to everything (watch a re-run of Friends – it’s not aging well!). Really, Hardware is a low budget Terminator but, again, that’s another movie that was all kinds of awesome so that’s fine by me.

20140207-043552 am.jpg
As it says above, this is inspired by a short story in 2000 AD, which I know absolutely nothing whatsoever about. According to Wikipedia, that’s a British science-fiction comic most noted for its Judge Dredd stories. I did know this was based on some sort of comic book and it very much has the look & feel of that. Certain images in the film seem to be right out of a comic book (I mean that in a good way). When I try to figure out just what it is that I love about Hardware, I think it’s a combination of the overall look & style, the quirky (though extremely underdeveloped) characters, and the fact that it has one of the coolest soundtracks ever. Oh, and Iggy Pop & Lemmy from Motรถrhead are in it.

20140207-043659 am.jpg
One other great thing is that Hardware has a strong female character. Dylan McDermott feels like the lead but, by the end, it’s just as much Stacey Travis. I’m surprised she didn’t have a bigger career (although she’s still around & has had lots of roles, mainly in TV). I mean, she’s a blow torch wielding metal sculptor in this. She’s cute & she’s cool. Come to think of it, she should have been on my recent list of Girl Crushes.

20140207-043730 am.jpg
I haven’t said much about the plot but, basically, Dylan McDermott is her sexy post-apocalyptic soldier boyfriend who brings her home these robot pieces he bought off a nomad to give her as a Christmas present as he knows she loves that kind of thing for her metal sculpting art (not knowing it’s a killing machine that’s part of a secret government project). I actually found their relationship very sweet and they have a super sexy shower scene that is very high on my list of My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies. (Yes, I’m mentioning that list yet again as it’s my most viewed thing on this blog BY FAR. That post gets views every single day!). And the f*^king amazing The Order Of Death by Public Image Ltd (I love John Lydon) plays over the scene & fits in SO perfectly, making it one of my all-time favorite uses of a song in a movie. Screw it – I posted the YouTube clip of it before in my shower scene list and I’ll post it again at the end of this review. This song really defines this film for me and gives you a good feel for the vibe of the whole movie – I can’t hear it without immediately picturing the film.

20140207-043804 am.jpg
This review is getting a bit long so I’m not doing well on keeping these CPD Classic reviews short. This movie is cool. It looks cool. The story is cool. The characters are cool. The music is cool. There’s biblical shit going on with the name of the robot (M.A.R.K.-13) & McDermott’s character (Moses). And, holy hell – I’ve not even mentioned the pervy peeping tom neighbor who is one of the creepiest characters in a movie EVER (they all walk the wibbly wobbly walk… *shudder*). Why has no one I know seen this? Why does it have such a low IMDB rating? Why isn’t this a bigger cult classic? Well, I may be alone (along with Mista Mutant) but I think this is a great film, especially for its genre. That’s why Hardware is a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 8/10

20140207-043837 am.jpg

My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies

Ever since I reviewed John Carpenter’s The Ward & happened to mention the shower scene with Amber Heard, I see variations of the search term “Amber Heard shower scene” bringing someone to my blog on a daily basis. Pervs! So, screw it – I’ll make a list! Here are my top ten movie shower (or bath) scenes starting with the best:

1. Psycho

20130429-015312 AM.jpg
Obviously.

2. Hardware

20130429-015435 AM.jpg
Such an underrated cult classic! I never know anyone who has seen this movie. And the shower scene is awesome with one of the BEST movie songs ever – The Order Of Death by Public Image Limited.

3. Carrie

20130429-015537 AM.jpg
Dirty Pillows!

4. American Beauty

20130429-015627 AM.jpg
“This will be the high point of my day: It’s all downhill from here.”

5. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

20130429-015737 AM.jpg
“I recall Central Park in fall.”

6. Weird Science

20130429-015823 AM.jpg
“If you ever get the chance, shower with them. I did. Mmm, it’s a mindscrambler. Hurts so good.”

7. A Nightmare On Elm Street

20130429-015934 AM.jpg
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…

8. The Shining

20130429-020032 AM.jpg
All work & no play makes Jack make-out with creepy dead woman.

8. It

20130429-020112 AM.jpg
Argh! Pennywise! Creepy f@#king clown!!! I don’t even want this damn picture on my blog!

10. Blade

20130429-020217 AM.jpg
Cool bloodbath (well, more like bloodSHOWER) club scene. Set to the tune of the Pump Panel remix of New Order’s Confusion.

Honorable Mentions:
Slither
Arachnophobia
Fatal Attraction
What Lies Beneath
Pleasantville
Porky’s
Pretty Woman
The Big Lebowski
Stoker

For the guys:
Starship Troopers (I hate this movie)

Words to bring the pervs in: Hot, Steamy, Sexy, Naked, Boobies. Lol! They’ll be disappointed – my list isn’t very hot or steamy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s Amber Heard wet in the shower in The Ward:

20130429-022142 AM.jpg

Hardware shower scene with Public Image Ltd song The Order Of Death: