Monday, 19 January 2009

Follow me around...

The Projector Link

"Yes June, I'm bailing out. I'm bailing out but there's a catch, I've got no parachute. "

So 2008 has come to an end and with it this site. I will be doing reviews and such over at but will not be confessing anymore about being a projectionist.

I'd like to say some big thank yous before I go. To Mark, for starting this silly thing. To Suze, for marking this silly thing. To Joe, John, Clara, Amanda, Lewis and Andy for letting me sit in on the numerous checks. To Claire for putting up with the first half of the year. To Mooma for putting up with the profanities. To Big Bro and Sister for reading and boo to littler Bro for not (I will make you read every one, one day). To Justin and Matt for making me feel like a funny guy with an opinion worth talking about. To all the other legends for dipping in and out. To Conor and Luke for helping me rant at people who aren't just my friends. To my two other followers James and Random Guy. To Jacob and John for being there at the end. To everyone who has ever read even one word I've written. Even if you thought it was shit. It's been... fun.

Thanks y'all.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Yes Man Review

It is done. I have watched and reviewed every single film released at my place of work in the year 2008. When I first said yes to this challenge I didn't really understand quite how many films I'd have to watch. Final count, 189. I didn't even think of reviewing them, that was an afterthought. And I never imagined it might be a foot in the door at a national publication. I just said yes because I'm stubborn and I love a stupid challenge. How apt then that my final film would be based on a book by Danny "King of the stupid challenge" Wallace.

Jim Carrey takes the lead role of Carl Allen, a man who says no to life. Whenever he's asked if he wants to learn something new, or help someone out, or even just hang out with his friends he always says, NO. Strong-armed by an old colleague into attending a seminar on positivity Carl's life is turned upside down as he tries saying Yes to everything instead. This means Yes to spam e-mails for penis extensions, Yes to helping the homeless, Yes to speaking Korean and playing the guitar. Most importantly it means Yes to a new life, and possibly, Yes to a new girl.

Like anyone could say no to Zooey Deschanel. She sings, she acts, she is possibly cuter than Wall-E and definitely sexier. She is the ideal women. So when she pops onto the scene in Yes Man you know that structurally at least, we're in rom-com territory. And boy does Yes Man tick off the structure boxes. There's the initial meet where boy likes girl, the fun and games, the dark night of the soul, etc, etc. In fact take along Blake Snyders 'beat sheet' with you and tick them as you go. But let's forget about unpredictability in a rom-com, you will never find it.

And who'd want it. As long as the funny is funny and the romance is romanciful I'm a happy bunny. Yes Man has both. It has the ability to make you smile throughout, giggle occasionally and belly laugh at least two or three times. I swooned at every corny chat up line and felt all giddy at the little tender moments. This is all I wanted from my final film and yet it gave me a little bit more. It gave me a sense of positivity. A sense that if you do something a little stupid, a little different then things may work out for the best.

Sadly my challenge has not changed me as a person or given me Zooey Deschanel. Fucking Movies!!!!

Australia Review

Australia is about Beef. Suprising eh? You think you know a lot about movies, buy your ticket for a classic melodrama by a well-known, romantically enclined director, you settle down with your popcorn and bam! Beef. Lots of Beef. But then I suppose, really, when you think about it, its probably not just about beef. It probably is a classic melodrama about romance and what it means to be an Aussie. The thing is stepping out of Australia I instantly forgot almost everything that had just happened. So all I have to go on is my notes. And they say, in quite big letters, BEEF.

Nicole Kidman is Lady Sarah Ashley, a prissy Brit, who goes to Oz to sort out her philandering husband and get him to sell his cattle ranch. When hubbie gets done-in by an aborigine she sees the beauty of Austarlia and teams up with Drover (Hugh Jackman), a dundee of crocodile proportions. They drive the cows across the convict land with the odds stacked against them. But with the help of a little 'half-cast' Nullah (who also acts as our narrator) the two succeed in their mission (selling Beef), fall in love and live happily ever after. Then some more stuff happens. Before happy ending number 2.

This double happy ending is really the films biggest downfall. Having everything the way it should be at the mid-point gives you absolutely no emotional impact when stuff goes wrong and needs to be corrected. It gives you the same ending you had halfway through. And with melodrama and big sweeping epics, emotional impact is key. There may never be anything unpredictable about any of Baz's films (for they are essentially 'big romance/boo hiss villain' movies) but the epicness can't be faulted. You won't find a more grandiose movie in all of the reviews on this site.

Spanning several years, some huge set-pieces (including Oz's own Pearl Harbour) and enough location chewing shots to make Peter Jackson blush, Australia really is epic. Kudos to Kidman for breaking her 'lame duck' period with a well crafted perormance but if anything is remembered from this film its Wolverine. When he arrived clean shaven for the first time the entire female audience inhaled and in doing so almost sucked the room dry. If that's not the effect a leading man should have then I don't know nothing bout nothing. While Australia may not clean up at the Oscars next year the host should be around for a long, long time.

Bedtime Stories Review

When I set up the admin in a few days time (oh yes, there will be admin) a startlingly awful fact will emerge. Russell Brand will have featured reasonably largely in 3 movies over the course of the year. 3 out of 189. That's almost 2% of the films I've watched this year feature this swaggering STD. He's in more cinematic releases than Sean Penn. More movies than Will Smith. More than Samuel L Jackson and he's in everything! In fact, off the top of my head, I can only think of Brendan Fraser being in an equal amount. There is no God.

Adam Sandler plays a goofy slacker... I'll let that amazing stretch of the imagination sink in for a second. You okay? Right I'll carry on. Adam Sandler plays a goofy slacker who has to look after his sisters kids (The sister is played by Courtney "starting to look worse than Love" Cox). For some reason, that I'm sure wasn't explained, whenever he reads them a bedtime story the story comes true. Or when the kids tell the story it comes true. Or... I don't fucking care anymore.

I only have three movies to go. Why did this have to come so close to the end? Its not like its just one bad movie, it's two. You have to sit through the rubbish kids story part as Sandler gurns his way through every scene, then you have to watch the whole buggering lot again in the real world as the story comes to life. I've had less predictable bowel movements than this. And the 'its a kids movie' defence ain't holding any weight this time round. Surely children aren't so dumb that even when they're told what is going to happen, and then it happens, they can't still get surprised?

There is one amusing moment when Adam Sandler purposefully sprays himself in the face with flame retardant. But I only laughed with pleasure at the thought of his own stupidity causing him pain rather than me. Speaking of pain if I ever see Brand on the silver screen again, with the same hair, same accent, same fucking everything that he sporting in both Penelope and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I will voluntarily donate my senses to be put through the most horrible torture imaginable in return for just one Roshambo on his nether regions. On a similar note I sincerely hope some of Guy Pearces family are in urgent need of expensive medical treatment. It is the single, only, reason that I will forgive him for being in this tosh.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Stone of Destiny Review

Ar the Scots. A proooood bunch they are. Nothing gets a wee kiltie pissed off more than a bit of repression from the English (or as the people north of the border call us, Shitty Fecking Cuntrags). I was going to start this review with lots of jokes about salt and shortbread and deep fried Mars bars but considering one of the only people to read these words will be a lovely Scotch person who could kick my ass from here to Hadrians Wall if I did, I'll just get on with the film.

The Stone of Destiny (or the Scone of Destiny as its sometimes called) is a big lump of rock that we stole a long time ago and put under the coronation chair to show the Jocks that we own them. This pissed them off a bit so every now and again some would venture South and try to steal it back. Attempts failed until finally some pissed up and enthusiastic students decided to break into Westminster Abbey and just carry the thing out.

Coming across like Braveheart meets Oceans Eleven, Stone of Destiny is an accomplished tale of national pride that would have Alex Salmond wetting himself with excitement. Such is the love of country on display a plethora of Scottish actors litter the film like a Rangers/Celtic match. Robert Carlyle, Billy Boyd, Peter Mullan, Stephen McCole (a bit like a fat Ewan McGregor) all queue up for their part and while the leads go to Charlie Cox and Kate Mara (English and American respectively) their accents barely slip giving the whole film a real sense of what it means to come from a place you love.

The heist part isn't quite as effective, as it lacks the drama of most 'grab the money and run' films yet in a way this just adds to the pleasant nature of everything. The gang of 'thieves' don't really have a plan so when the plan backfires and they have to wing it you can still cheer them on. That they finally just resort to a smash and grab tactic seems like the best and most justified way of dealing with things. Although why they don't use the wheelbarrow that's in shot for most of the climactic scenes to carry the huge stone out I'll never know. Dumb Scots.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

A Bunch of Amateurs Review

I bloody hate the theatre. I don't quite no why. It might be because most people involved in it are pretentious and dull and spout crap like 'The Show Must Go On'. Put me in a room full of thesps and I'll scream Macbeth at them until they shit themselves and fall down screaming. This like most of my thoughts and opinions is based on nothing and if I ever left the confines of my bedroom and/or cinema to watch a play I might actually enjoy it. But probably not judging by A Bunch of Amateurs.

Burt Reynolds plays Jefferson Steel, an over the hill action man, star of the brilliantly titled 'Ultimate Finality' movies. When work dries up in America his agent gets him the part of King Lear in Stratford, England. The problem being that there are quite a few Stratfords in England and Upon Avon is not the one that Jefferson is playing to. Instead he's sadled with a community theatre project somewhere in Suffolk where his Hollywood temperement won't be pandered to.

And that's the only real joke in the film. He's a bigshot actor that likes things his way, they are a group of Hicks that wouldn't know their Cappucino from their Al Pacino (where have I stolen that from?). Oh the hilarity that ensues. That last line was sarcasm yet judging by the audience I watched it with there was much hilarity ensuing. Everytime a Shakespeare gag reared its ugly head the 7 other audeince members wet themselves laughing. They also laughed at Imelda Stauntons character, the most eye/ear/nose-gaugingly awful thing on screen since Julie Walters in Mamma Mia, so I think this just reinforces my beliefs about theatre types.

The inclusion of Burt Reynolds as the lead is the only real pulling point. Look its the Bandit in an English pub! But seeing as I don't like him even this doesn't help much. Apart from Deliverance and Boogie Nights I can't think of another good Burt performance. From a man whose career has spanned four decades that's a shit batting average. He's not even good enough to play himself which seems to be what he's doing in this. With an appalling attempt at a romantic story, racial sterotypes ticked off one by one and a painfully predictable plot A Bunch of Amateurs should only be remembered as a funny line in The Big Lebowski.