Friday, 30 May 2008

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay Review

Its been a long time since I was in love with the little green whore (thanks JC for the best summing up of marijuina I've heard in a long time) but I still get little pangs for it even after two years divorce. I can sometimes do the Howard Marks thing of thinking about feeling baked when straight and experiencing a little high but the days of living a smoke fuelled haze are now long behind me. Still, watching Harold and Kumar bong their way through another eventful week is akin to showing Pete Doherty a recut edition of Trainspotting with the nasty bits taken out.

Starting off only minutes after the first film ends, helpless Harold and hapless Kumar are on their way to Amsterdam to find Harolds newly aquired ladyfriend. As Kumar quips, "Its gonna be exactly like Eurotrip only its not gonna suck." Well if they had just spent the film getting wasted in The Dam it probably would have sucked, more than a Dyson on full pelt. Thankfully though the same kind of ridiculously ridiculous turns of luck that fell upon them in the first film return for the second outing.

The original was such a pleasant surprise, walking that thin line between stupidity and genius, that word of a sequel made me go all funny in the head. And while it might not quite live up to its predecessor there's still a ton of fun to be had. From Guantanamo Bay to the Deep South, from KKK rallies to the Presidents gamesroom, whenever Harold and Kumar are on screen together you're guaranteed a chortle. Kal Penn as Kumar has some astonishingly good comic timing so much so that I'd struggle to find someone of his age that I'd cast in this kind of role above him. As the straighter of the two John Cho has less to do, but as Hardy, Wise, Little and Dec would attest its a harder job to pull off.

Theres a little bit of shark jumping when the pair land in POTUS's house and the politics is played a touch too preachy at times but the nods to White Castle (Or Get the Munchies for us brits) are never overly done as you'd imagine they would be with such an inbuilt audience. Having Doogie come back might smack of unoriginality to some but when you're blessed with a character who can mine more comedy gold than a million Kutchers, you don't leave him sitting on the shelf. The best moment for me though sums up the puerile nature of this laugh a minute treat. When Harold kicks some obnoxious A-hole in the balls they drop to the floor unable to contain a little fart. Even completely wasted it shouldn't be funny. But it is.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Sex and The City Review

I've just spent the last half an hour Googling vaginal dryness. Thats right. Vaginal Dryness. My opening for this review was intended to make a point about how hideously malnurished Sarah Jessica Parker is, to the point where I literally retch when I see her semi naked. I'd been led to believe by Australian comedian Brendan Burns that 'super skinny girls can't get wet'. Researching this in a vain attempt to get people to stop admiring Carrie Bradshaw has led to nothing but dead ends, and a 'google history' of concerning content. While my 'research' has come up with bumpkis (i.e. nothing, not some new sexual term for rimming) I'm standing by the theory. So there.

If you are completely unaware of Sex and The City then you are very unfortunate indeed. Unfortunate not because you're missing out on any high quality entertainment or an insightful cultural piece. No you're unfortunate because it means you are a man that hasn't had any contact with the female race in the last 10 years. Except of course gay men, they love this shit. But for those few sad, lonely masturbators (that didn't tune in because it had Sex in the title) the show, and the film, is about four friends Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Samantha who all love shoes and cock.

A gross over simplification one might say. Well, one is a cretin for saying so because outside of shoes and cock NOTHING AT ALL happens. I don't mean in a kind of Waking Life existential Samuel Beckett 'nothing happens' way. I mean in a bored to tears, where is the nearest exit i hope it has stairs to the roof so I can end this joke of a life, kind of way. While there may be two or three scenes that wake you up from your fashion induced coma they stand out so painfully you can feel your balls retreating. Case in point, the break up set piece. This will go down in history as the most overly melodramatic scene ever. Ever. Wailing orchestra, flowers dropping to the floor, slow motion, hysterical screaming, fainting. I bet people in the middle of the Chinese earthquake reacted calmer than she did when her wedding didn't go exactly as planned.

What baffles me most is why women don't get outrageously offended by this stuff. Women are portrayed as two dimensional, simpering idiots, with no capacity for rationality or change. They never take the time to listen to the other side of the story and after the aforementioned breakup the first thing she worries about is her fucking wardrobe! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!
But none of this ranting will stop this film making a gajillion bucks and sequels appearing like herpes on a hookers arse hole. Hopefully by the time those sequels do turn up I'll have found the exit to the stairs on the roof and I'll be enjoying my 7 second plummet to the ground.
Guys, I'll see you there.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Smart People Review

Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Owen, you must be" - she always called me Owen - "In this world, Owen, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, until I watched Smart People I'd have recommended the former. Now I will recommend the latter. Pleasantness over smarts any day. You may quote me.

This quirky-indie-comedy-dysfunctional-family-drama (you know the type Little Miss Sunshine, Sideways et al) deals with intellectual types that very rarely play at being nice to each other or anyone else around them. Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) is the head of the family, an author/professor who is best summed up by his student evaluations; He's an asshole. He lives with his Young Republican daughter and increasingly distant son. When his adopted brother, a 40 something directionless loser, comes to chaffeur him around his life starts to turn. Add into that a new romance and we have all the ingredients of a 'life lesson to be learnt'.

Thankfully its quite a good life lesson. And I'm a big fan of life lessons in movies. Stories as education have been around forever and as long as the teaching isn't along the lines of "Killing newborn babies is cool" or "Hey, have you tried drinking meths through your eyeball?" I'm happy to sit up and pay attention. In this case its not the story thats going to blow you away (well nothing in this movie is gonna 'blow you away' its not that kind of film) but good characters and a cast of reliable actors to help make them real is paramount. On the actor front, well, 3 out of 4 ain't bad.

Dennis Quaid is suitably misanthropic. He is an asshole and no amount of, yeah but his wife is dead, is gonna give him sympathy. But you may just start to like him once he realises he's a bit of a fraud. The key being he realises this himself. Thomas Haden Church is well cast as the 'idiot' brother, as is Ellen Page as the one who'll do anything to impress her father. The scenes between these two are by far the best, adding a much needed cringeworthy creepiness to the procedings. The loose fourth wheel though is Sarah Jessica Parker, her being as necessary as Anusol on a prolapsed rectum. I would give the cinematic equivalent of Red Rum a bigger kicking but I'm saving that for my The Sex and The City review. In it I'll be covering such topics as dangerously skinny women being unable to generate vaginal lubricant. Stay Tuned Kids!

Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Review

I wanted one thing from Indy. Distraction. I didn't want a carefully plotted movie. I didn't care whether the best visual effects ever screamed at my eyeballs. I wasn't bothered if the old man looked like he might rupture a disc and piss in his colostomy bag. I wasn't even that concerned if my childhood was about 'to be raped' (fucking fanboys) by what I knew and loved being distorted into some sci-fi mindbender. I just wanted distraction. And Indy failed me. But I'll give him this. He had a bloody good go.

Nuclear explosions, Lousie Brooks coiffed Russians, Conquistadors, Motorcycles in libraries, Back to the Future in jokes, Spaceships, self aware monkeys that know who the bad guys are, the most 'London' Ray Winstone performance yet, CGI Gophers, Shia weeping in every scene, Marriage, Death, Jim from Neighbours and the Janitor from Scrubs together at last, if you missed your kitchen sink you won't find it anywhere else this year. So thank you Steve and George for the effort you put in.

Yes the fanboys will be up in arms about certain things, but fuck em its their job to bitch and whine about things thats just not Indy, or bits they would have done differently, etc, etc. If you're unfortuante to be stuck in a room with one just remind them of the jumping out of the plane in a dinghy from Temple of Doom (although you can refer to it as simply Doom they'll like that) or the birds as weapons in Crusade, or the... oh yeah there are no faults with Raiders. And thats why new Indy (in the same way new Star Wars) can never be what they want. Having this perfect ideal of a film means the fans should just stay away. Or lighten the fuck up.

The biggest gripe for some will be the end. And well, yeah, they may have a point. The myth and the legend of folklore seems to belong on this earth. While its fine to jump from hell and heaven and all that jazz, thats rooted in archealogy, its rooted in fortune and glory. Flying objects that are difficult to assign an identity too belong elsewhere. Like a scientology convention. But when all is said and done I can't complain about a film as odd as this. Its unpredictable, in a good way, and that may be the rarest thing I see in the year 2008. A blockbuster where you can't tell exactly whats going to happen? That or I may not have been concentrating enough.

Charlie Bartlett Review

There is no originality in the world. Not a single dose of newness left. We are constantly led to believe that everything is like something else. Brown is the new black, Cameron is the new Blair, Wisap is the new Wispa and Ashton Kutcher is the new Satan. If you're aware of Charlie Bartletts existence (as I write this our print has already sailed long ago) you'll know one thing. Charlie Bartlett is the new Ferris Bueller. Well he's not. He's just a kid trying to make the most of his time in, what is the most painful part of anyones life, high school. Comparing it to one of the only reasons the 80's shouldn't be permanently deleted from everyones memories is unfair for a film thats is quite new, quite funny and fo rthe most part quite enjoyable .

Charlie Bartlett comes from a long line of fast talking, quick thinking, movie Chucks (Charlie Wilson, Charlies Angels, Charlie Chaplin, A Charlie Brown Christmas) and this one is no exception. Kicked out from every private school going Charlie has to learn to deal with a 'normal' run of the mill school. Charlies main goal isn't to survive this experience but to get the one thing that he dreams of. Popularity. He does this by dealing out prescription meds, conselling advice and boffing the headmasters daughter. Well done Charlie.

Your appreciatiation of any high school comedy with such a perky protagonist will no doubt hinge on the performance of the lead and newcomer Anton Yelchin manages to be both infuriating and likeable. Instantly annoying but willing to win you round by being the kind of guy you secretly wish you could have been when you had so much young poon around you. The poon in question is Kat Dennings who I'm starting to get a little crush on. A unique looking gal with a touch of the gothic. Not usually my peppermint, but, well, there it is. Although if Robert Downey Jr was her dad I might just date her to get to him such is my adoration of the man of iron. This is fast becoming a 'who Owen wants to do' review so I'm going to stop.

And return instead to the UnFerrisness of the movie. The biggest thing is the tone is way too dissimilar. Bueller was a romp (I can't beleive I used that word) from start to finish with only one brief respite for Camerons breakdown. Bartlett is littered with real life anxieties. Prison, Suicide, Grief, none of these things seemed to trouble little Broderick as he surfed carival floats singing Twist and Shout. But because all film critics want to get on the movie poster with some easy one-liner they'll plaster their reviews saying it is the new Ferris Bueller. But its not.
Its actually much more like the new Rushmore. Dammit.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Made of Honour Review

You could be forgiven for thinking this was an Italian/American mob movie with guns and beatings such is the ambiguity if the title. But no, instead its the 387th romantic comedy of the year! Its the 152nd to centre around weddings! And lastly its the 93rd since I became single again. Each and every one a horrible painful reminder of the good and the bad times. Thanks for that Hollywood.

Tom (Patrick Dempsey) lives the life of Riley. I don't know who Riley is but he must have a good life if it competes with Tom's because he's disgustingly rich, has friends that actually listen to his problems and has women fawning over him at every step. He also has a best friend in the form of Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) who is the quintessential perfect woman. She is stunning to look at, she's smart and creative and best of all she is complicated. And for any cynics out there, they do exist. Tom only sees her as a friend until of course its too late then he has to win her back. And for any other optimists out there, the winning them back thing doesn't exist.

Coming from the 'you must be taking the piss' school of aptly named film companies, the makers of Made of Honour are called Originals Films. Which is pretty damn laughable when this is just a retread of My Best Friends Wedding crossed with that episode of Friends where Ross comes back from China with Julie. In fact the writers of Friends should be given even more syndication money because almost 90% of big screen romcoms at the moment steal plot devices from the hit show.

While it lacks any originality, coming off the back of that bloody Kutcher/Diaz bullshit, Made of Honour is one of the better films of its kind. Up there with 27 Dresses but it does lack the cross gender appeal of something like Knocked Up. At the end of the day its the type of movie that you watch with a loved one and you tolerate it, at times even slipping into enjoying it, but most of all you know it makes them happy. I watched it alone. Then walked home alone. To an empty bed. And wept. Send your sympathy on a postcard to, Mr. Douchebag...

What Happens in Vegas Review

I hate Ashton Kutcher. I hate him so much a film such as this is my idea of an Austrain basement with a rather bad paternal figure. I hate his face. I hate his smugness. I hate his floppy hair and his grating voice. I hate every film he's ever been in. Mainly because he's in them. Also because they are shit. Really terrible shit most of the time. The Butterfly Effect, Guess Who, The Guardian, Just Married? The first question is how the fuck have I seen all these films and the second is how many times daily does he take the full length of beelzebub's shaft up his asshole.

This may be the hardest premise to write because while I know it has something to do with the increasingly irritating Cameron Diaz marrying that pillock and then having to stay with him for a large sum of money, all I remember is playing my new game of how best to torture Ashton until he owns up to his crimes against humanity and begs for me to end his stupid worthless life. I'd start by shaving his preposterous attempts at a beard, but the razor would of course be blunt and I'd 'inadvertently' end up ripping half his face off.

Once his 'cute' looks have gone he'd know his life would be over and he'd begin to weep eternally. I say eternally but one day I'd catch a glimpse of The Guardian, my least favourite of all his tripe, and run down to the basement where I keep him and smash his face into the ground until it resembles paste and bone. The funny thing is in my head I start to miss his screams. They gave me so much joy and pleasure that now they've gone my life seems emptier. But my work is done, my reason for being on this earth is accompished. After a while all would be right with the world.

Apparently I have to put how this is all a joke and I wouldn't really attempt to kill Mr. Kutcher. Or else I can get into trouble for 'sending death threats' and if Mr. Kutcher did turn up dead I could get blamed. Whatever happened to freedom of hatred? I remember the day when you could write detailed accounts of how you want to systematically torture A-Listers all day long. Barry Norman did an entire piece on Charlie Sheen and a blowtorch. Its political correctness gone mad. So anyway don't kill Ashton. Maybe kick him in the shin though.

Nim's Island Review

There is a long list of Hollywoods best demeaning themselves in front of a camera as soon as their own little moppets come of age to start staring at the silver screen. From the legendary Bill Murray to the, well just the, Ice Cube the cry to cover their collective backs is "I'm not selling out! I just want to do a film my kids can watch!" Now Jodie Foster is the latest gurning face to try and please her offspring with unothordox parenting. My folks never appeared in multi million dollar movies to cheer me up. That may explain a lot.

Nim (Abigail Breslin) lives on an island with her dad (Gerard Butler) and an assortment of live action and CGI animals, all of whom are self aware (even Gerard Butler although how he could have chosen to make P.S. I Love You if he was remains a mystery). When pops goes missing in a storm Nim writes to Alex Rider, an Indiana Jones-esque fictional character, for help. What she gets is writer Alexandra Rider (Jodie Foster), an agrophobe with shades of OCD. Unsuprisingly Jodie comes through and helps Nim.

While the main idea of having a little girl left alone on an island might have the McCanns winning parents of the year there is a half decent amount of danger in the concept. The problem is the film never really fulfils this danger. By danger I don't mean the predatory emails that Alex Rider sends. For example, one such electronic message worryingly asks how old Nim is and whether she's alone, I'd like to beleive that would be flagged instantly. No the danger I mean is suspense, drama, a feeling that all might not be okay in the end.

I think that Oscar nomination may have gone to Abigails head as she seems patronisingly adult. Gerard, or Geraaaard as the trailer calls him, plays dual roles reasonably well. As mentioned before Jodie gurns and mugs for all she's worth, but shes worth a fair bit so we'll let her off. But if I see one more falling over on a treadmill gag this year I may be forced to go on a stabby stabby rampage. Overall when it comes to kids films if its not adult enough I switch off. And I think, paradoxically, so do kids. I'm not suggesting sit the little ones in front of the Saw Trilogy but more Holes and Bridge to Terrabithias please. Less twee, safe tosh.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Fools Gold Review

Oh dear. Oh dear, Oh dear. Where to begin with Fools Gold. Firstly an Olympic anology. The film is not Gold, nor Silver nor Bronze. In fact it would struggle to compete with the inside pant content of a Tibetan monk having seven shades of the brown stuff beaten out of him on a daily basis. The jokes die on their arses, zero suspense is built and the characters are as intolerable as living in Burma. Current Affairs? I like them. I think they're good.

Matthew McConaughey is the fool of the title. A deep sea diver who is on the search for some famous Spainish crap or something. He's recently divorced from fellow hunter Kate Hudson who now works for Donald Sutherland on a boat near the island where Fool is diving. Thats lucky, if they wanna get back together. As is every bloody plot point in the movie. At no point does anyone work out where the treasure is without dumb fucking luck helping them. The same dumb luck that keeps getting Matthew work I assume.

This Z grade Indiana Jones style treasure hunter has zero going for him yet every woman in the movie gets moist as soon as the prick flashes his inbred grin. His sexual prowess is referenced ad nauseum. I'm guessing M McC asks for this to be written in to the script before he signed on to dissuade the popular opinion that repeated cannabis use has left his penis as flaccid as a Cheesestring (available in all good stores, the Cheesestrings, not the flaccid penis).

Two good things come out of this movie. Firstly McConaughey gets slapped about a bit which has inspired in me a new game where I fantasise about torturing the male leads in bad movies (this will come in handy for all Ashton Kutcher movies). Secondly you get to feel really sorry for Kate Hudson. She was Miss Penny Lane for godsake. Maybe someone out there will see this shipwreck of a movie and feel the same pity I did and throw her a damned bone. In the meantime if you want sea-related highjinks check out her mum Goldies Overboard instead. Compared to this its Citizen fucking Kane.

Doomsday Review

I have a confession to make (hey thats the name of the blog!). For the first 20-30 minutes of this movie I was drfiting in and out of consciousness, or sleeping as some people call it. Then when I did wake up the resulting 'reality' was so unbelievably piss poor that I left the cinema to inhale nicotiny goodness, slowly, taking my time. This may sound like a failure in my mission then. I haven't technically watched all of every film shown by my beloved multiplex. Well fuck you, I don't care.

The inexplicable career of Radha Mitchell continues as she plays Snake Plissken a-like Eden Sinclair, a SWAT member that makes Colin Farrel look like a big gay softie. When Scotland is sealed off due to a head burstingly nasty plague Radha is sent in to find the cure. Along the way she meets gimps, punks and Malcolm McDowell in a world that puts the dysentry in distopia.

So we kick off with a plague of 'angry diseased half dead people' (but not rage infected zombies) that is not at all ripping of 28 days later. Then Scotland is annexed and becomes the kind of place that no-one can escape from except a person in an eye patch sent to work by a sinister government (completely different from Escape From New York). The heroine bandies a group of well trained military types together but their initial drive in an APC doesn't go to plan in a way that doesn't seem like a shot for shot remake of the exact same bloody scene from Aliens. And on and on and on it goes.

Mad Max, Lord of the Rings, The Warriors and even Robin Hood Prince of bloody Thieves are all given the 'look I can do a bit from a movie I like' treatment. I'm fine with a nod to other works now and again but the whole film feels like a British Date Movie or Meet the Spartans such is the blatant half inching of other peoples ideas. There is no worse criticism than that last sentence. After the average Dog Soldiers and the very good, and original, The Descent lets hope its a case of Neil Marshall thinking I'm gonna do a movie I want and screw everybody else, rather than a complete failing of any original ideas. Oh and those defending it as a comedy thats well funny, I'm not seeing the humour in a women tied up and beaten by a sneering pantomime villain. I'm also not seeing the humour in having to listen to Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Speed Racer Review

Before I get to the main hub of dismissing a childrens film for being too 'fun' I need to clear one thing up. The main character in this is called Speed. Speed Racer. Its not a nickname. Its his given name. Speed. Speed Racer. At one point during the film his teacher accuses him of being preoccupied with racing and at another his father asks him not to drive anymore. But his name... is... Speed. What the fuck!? Its like having a daughter called Cockgobbler Rimjob and then complaining that "she's a little promiscuous".

So anyway 'Speed' has been raised on cars. Loves 'em. His reason for being if you will. With a mechanic father and a big brother whose the star of the track Speed's destiny lies in putting the petal to the medal. When his brother starts ripping up his competitors like Michael Schumacher's evil twin (not Ralph, he was a good boy) and then pulls an Ayrton Senna, Speed doesn't decide 'no this may not be the life for me afterall' but instead follows in his brotehrs footsteps. Oh and there is some balls about race-fixing and big bad companies and saving the world through driving a car.

So to kick a kids film. Well its pluses and minuses all the way with Mr. Racer and friends. Pluses include spectacular visuals (if you can find a Digital copy do so, it may put me out of a job one day but this kind of film is perfect for the big D) and some quite touching family lessons about not selling out and yadda yadda yadda. If it wasn't Goodman and Sarandon playing the parents it might not work as well but as it is, it does. Negatives include a way too lengthy running time and an unsurity (ooh new word) as to what the film really wants to be.

Is it a cartoon just for kids (the simian and annoying child actor who I'd like to drown in a barrel of monkey poop would suggest so), is it a video game with a bit more characterisation (the lengthy race scenes say a big hell yeah) or is it an anti-establishment punk piece (with the Wachowskis on board it certainly can't be ignored)? The problem being that unless you particularly want all three in a single movie you'll be aggravated by at least one of the other two. A bit like The Matrix then. To continue with the 'doofus am I' theme that occasionally runs through this blog, there is a twist that myself (and a fellow Masters student and psychologist no less) were bamboozled by. So then scarred by a PG and outfoxed by another. I'm glad I'm out of the playground or the tune of thicky, thicky shits his pants would ring out loud. But at least my name isn't Speed.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? Review

There's a lot to be said for documentary comedies. Firstly no matter how worrying the topic, finding humour in troublesome things is what sets us apart from the animals (except the hyenas). Secondly it makes people who usually get bored by facts and figures and other such things sit up and pay attention. A bit like the teacher you liked because they were funny and informative. But getting the balance right is a very difficult thing, crack too many jokes and you lose the respect, don't teach 'em and they won't not learn nuffing.

Morgan Spurlock, the man who ate more Big Macs than any man has a right to do, is back to the feature film format after a small run of tv documentaries on More4. With a brand new baby on the way Morgan thinks the world is just not safe with so many bad things lurking around, top of the list being Americas Occasionally Most Wanted Osama Bin Laden. So just like every hero in the good ol' action flick/westerns he was raised on, he sets off, solo, to find him.

While that brief little synopsis might sound like a kick ass movie if John McClane was on board what we get instead is a sympathetic look at the Middle East and its surrounding areas in a 'see not all Musilms are mental!' kinda way. While its a lovely message of peace and love and all such things you do get the impression that he's just preaching to the choir. Any fan of Spurlocks work will be fully aware that the foreign policy of America is as fair as a wrestling match between Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Stephen 'The Veg' Hawkings. But that alone doesn't mean the movie shouldn't be made.

It just feels a bit like the cinema is the wrong place for it. Instead tapes should be handed out to every classroom in the country so that the little ones can learn from an early age that such things as politics and religion should be kept as far apart as humanly possible. While Morgan's main joke of asking random people where Osama is falls flat pretty quick, the computer effects and the fact that he's not spouting Michael Moore style tirades at everybody who doesn't give their last penny to Oxfam means he's just the right sort of teacher to get his message across. Film as education for the under 16's. The petition starts here.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Shutter Review

In my early days of 'studying' film I was told a story of African tribesmen being shown Gone With the Wind as a social experiment. The natives were sat down and shown the film in its entirity. They talked amongst themselves, occasionally jumped at the sight of fire, all the while transfixed by these moving images. Once the movie finished the translater asked the chief what their analysis was and he replied simply, "What happened to the chicken?". The conclusion that was made; we learn to read film from an early age and all the tribesmen saw was image after image, the most notable for them was the sight of food. Yet even these tribesmen could tell you how Shutter was going to end after only 10 minutes.

A newlywed photographer and his wife move to Japan for the husbands career. On the way they pull a Halle Berry and run over a girl. When the police arrive the girl has up and vanished like a fart in the wind. Spooky hey? Then the girl starts appearing in photos. Wow its getting spookier! Its hard to write sarcastically but that was it by the way. Ten minutes in some of hubbies odious friends turn up and talk about his past being a bit risque. Oooooooh I wonder if the ghost is out for revenge or if she's just dropping in for a cup of tea and a scone. That sarcasm wasn't hidden as well was it?

Joshua 'At least he's not Dawson' Jackson is the photographer whose past is creeping up on him while Rachel 'useless in Transformers even more useless in this' Taylor is the put upon wife. Neither of them are particularly terrible which is disappointing but they are both as bland as a Chinese Take Away's English dish section which is reason enough to throw things at the screen. Although please don't because I'd have to get a ladder out and clean it off.

There are some half decent shocks but they soon become tiresome when they arrive like clockwork to make up for the weak story. There's only so many times someone can be in a room alone when they hear a noise, turn round, see that it isn't the big bad ghostie and exclaim with gusto, "Oh its you! You scared the hell out of me". I don't see this kind of filler trickery vanishing from our screens anytime soon but to do it 48 times in one film is a bit sodding much. If they do ever show this to a tribe of African folk it might fool them the first time but by the end they'd be yawning and moaning along with the rest of us.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

P2 Review

Fear not if you never saw P (there wasn't a P), but do fear if you're watching a christmas movie in May. Also fear if your watching a movie best described as a 'killer in a car park'. I bet the producers shit themselves with joy when they heard that one. "People use car parks all the time!", "It'll do for multistories what Psycho did for showers!". Except it won't. Because its turd.

Kicking off like Die Hard with a lady and no terrorists (so not like Die Hard at all), Rachel Nichols (spell it properly!) is Angela Bridges a workaholic office type who is trying to get home to her family for Chrimbo Eve. Wes 'Eyebrows' Bentley's security guard has other ideas and kidnaps Angela for a spot loving under the misteltoe. Cue 90 minutes of Angie escaping and then getting caught and then escaping and then getting caught and then escaping and all viewers losing the will to live.

As readers of this site will be fully aware I'm a cat that is easily spooked, horror not being my favourite genre of choice if I wish to keep my whites whiter than white. But as the year progresses I'm beginning to get an insatiable bloodlust for one reason only. The sooner these cretinous characters get their heads stoved in, the sooner I can get home and do something constructive like put my balls in a George Forman grill.

Wes Bentley is just awful as the psychotic security guard whose idea of being manic is waving your arms around like a monkey having a run. At one point the police turn up, look around, then disappear not thinking to search Wes's aformentioned massive and evil eyebrows for a weapon. A very poor move by the NYPD. Unsuprisingly no one watched this movie at my cinema. Perhaps it was because its right next door to a big car park and people got scared. Or maybe its because people are not as stupid as I think they are. Or our best testing indicates.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Three and Out (plus Oxford Murders) Review.

A tube driver tries to get someone to throw themselves under his train so that he can scoop a big payday jackpot. What an outrageoulsy offensive movie!!! Except it isn't. It isn't outrageous. It isn't offensive. It certainly isn't a comedy. Because comedies are designed to make you laugh. This film can never, ever be accused of trying to make anyone laugh. Instead its the kind of film I'll look back on my death bed and think, 'shit, why did I spend two hours in my life locked in a room with such crap? I could have been pulling out my pubic hairs one by one instead.'

Mackenzie 'Who did I blow to become a leading man?' Crook is the train driver with the most miserable existence in the world. Such a sad pathetic creature that you'd rather be the people in front of his trains than sitting next to him while he drives. After accidently killing two people with his tube (that sounds like a very dark porno) he finds a third man who is willing to kill himself for a few quid. Then for some ridiculously inexplicable reason he follows him around for the weekend.

Why the suicidal man would want to spend his last 48 hours with the sour faced Crook is just one of many baffling things about this film. For starters the first 20 minutes contains precisly 107 montages set to popular music of the day, each one more pointless than the last. The film contains more padding than a pillow factory and is as tonally unsound as James Blunt fighting a deaf cat with a used vinyl copy of 'BBC sounds of dying children Vol3'.

If it really wanted to be offensive it would have had a scene where a busload of disabled kids is plowed straight into a tree by the little midget guy from Amelie. But if you wanted to see that to get your jollies off you'd have to see The Oxford Murders, which I did and really wished I hadn't. A lame DaVinci Codeish film thats only saving grace is a really big pair of tits on actress Leonor Watling. Quite breathtaking.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Iron Man Review

I wanted to make a superhero movie called Irony Man. In which our fighter uses words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning (yes thats a cut and paste job) in order to prove how messed up the world is. His nemesis, Alanis Morisette, instead tries to think up more inconveniant, irritating things that wouldn't fool a 9 year old Albanian with a poor grasp of the English language into thinking they were in fact ironic. He eventually wins by beating her to death with the transparent dangling carrots she once sung about thanking the world for. Is that ironic?

But alas Marvel has beaten me to it with its first real studio outing (Not the Alanis thing but we can hope in the sequel). Robert Downey Jr is Tony Stark a millionaire, playboy, inventor with the world at his feet. Bummer for him he gets captured by some towelbonced types who ask him to make a missile for them. The irony being that a big weapons manufacturer finds out that the weapons he uses to protect the world are also the ones that can destroy him so then he builds a bigger weapon to stop the ones he first built but then these are also used against him. Is that ironic?

Anyway all this irony blah blah blah is given to us in a big speech by the bad guy (SPOILER Its the man with the beard, all men with beards are unhinged in some way; see photo above) in the final third so none of this is particularly original or good reviewing. So I'll stop. And instead tell you that Iron Man is an absolute pleasure of a film and easily the most fun you can have at the cinema thus far this year. Its not the best film, 'highbrow' films like There Will be Blood and Diving Bell will struggle to be surpassed in my pretentious world but for 'leave the grey matter at home', 'think like a happy retard' fare you can't do better.

Bob Jr is perfect. Always a star (due to his celebism) and an actor (due to his talent) its rare to find a role where he can be both. With Iron Man he shines with the intensity of a freshly polished suit of hotrod red and gold. Jeff clearly has fun with his role and Gwyneth hasn't been this good since John Doe cut her pretty little head off. With Elf being the best Christmas film since Jimmy contemplated suicide and Swingers being the only film to guarantee a (male) smile after a broken relationship, director/actor John Favreau is quickly becoming one of my most favourite people in the whole wide world.

And I'm still struggling with this irony thing, but I do know that 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife is not ironic, especially if you are trying to slash open your own wrists. Its just annoying.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Deception Review

This film has to have been gathering dust, sitting on the shelf longer than the Eagle Eye Cherry CD I bought back in 1997 (I liked that 'Save Tonight' song, it was catchy). And while this review will not hit until May the release of it in April is just further proof that if a cinema goer wants to have a holiday then the month to do it is this one.

Ewan is a dweeby accountant who can't get laid (Like looking in a mirror, except I'm not an accountant) until he 'accidently' gets holds of the mobile phone belonging to Hugh Jackman (sinister business type). This phone happens to have the number of a plentiful supply of female members of a sex club to which Ewan has a little dabble in when he meets Michelle Williams.

Falling instantly in love with someone you meet in a sex club is not a good idea. Especially if you are in a film called Deception. But regardeless of the title, there is nary a surprise to be had in this paint by not going outside the lines 'Erotic' Thriller. This lack of thrills is tripleified if you happened to catch Derailed a couple of years ago in which the same bloody thing happens.

That said there is a small amount of fun to be had thanks to the 'up for a giggle' cast. Ewan who seems to be getting younger and younger at the moment (of course this could be due to the fact that, as mentioned, this has been in limbo for a bit) seems to enjoy the nerdy 'who me?' aspect of his character, Hugh plays a badass for what I think is the first time and Michelle 'you wouldn't last a day on the creek!' Williams is silent and blonde enough to convince as a Hitchcockian femme. The film as a whole however is just Cockian. I mean Cock. Speaking of which where was little Obi-Wan? Ewan + Eroticism usually = Full Frontal. Maybe his 'chap' is also reverse aging.

The Eye Review

In celebration of The Eye, the story of a blind girl who gets new eyes and starts seeing scary stuff, and its monumental lameness he is a list of things I don't want to see again this year. Like what I've done there? Yeah? YEAH?!?!?

1) Jessica Alba - In anything, ever. In fact this is not just for this year, but for all years hence until you can download acting skills straight to the cerebral cortex. As our best scientific estimate is this will occur about 2019 poor Jessies looks will have waned and she'll have nothing left except to be all sickly nice and homely as warm apple pie. I hate warm apple pie.

2) Lovely Disabled People - Speaking of sickly sweet when will people realise that not all people with disabilities or fatal illnesses are happy life affirming people. Lets have a few more 'Michael the blind pianists from Curb your Enthusiasm' please. Add some bitter, twisted kids with leukemia and seven days to live too thank you very much.

3) Opening and Closing Narration - Fair enough this is an auditory beef rather than a visual one but kindly fuck off with telling me what the set up of the film is in the first 20 minutes. I'll work it out for myself and if I don't then you've spunked up the filmmaking at some point. Don't give me some pat 'I've learnt something today' ending either. Have you learnt nothing form over 10 years of South Park. Cocks.

4) Art Deco Cinematography - Just because you've found some wanky, minimalist building to shoot your shitfest in doesn't mean you can frame or light a shot well. Framing and Lighting are there to enhance the emotional drive of the film. Go rewatch Citizen Kane. Yeah I did film studies. I've got a certificate and everything.

5) Predominantly Oriental Supporting Cast - We get it. You remade a Japanese film and you want to doff your crapcap to the original by putting in Japanese ghosts and Chinese restaurants. Here's an idea, don't remake a film to the point that you're basically redubbing it, then you might not feel guilty enough to have to include 'their people'.

6) Scary kids, scary jumps and other things that scare me - I just don't like to be scared okay. So stop doing the whole, 'its gone quiet, she's creeping up to the door, 54321 -Boo!' thing. Once the first 3-D horror comes out I'm literally going to shit into my nice white pants.

7) Saying 'We don't have a lot of time' - The correct cheesy time is running out line is,'We don't have much time'. Get it right.

If I see any of the aformentioned things again this year I will jab my eyes out with chopsticks and then add a Number 78 to the menu - Deep fried crispy eyeballs with Szechuan Sauce. See I can be patronisingly racist too. But I do it with irony so its okay.

Stop Loss Review

Warning this film contains Youtube and Texans. The latter is the one place in the world I don't want to visit, I don't want to hear about and I don't want to survive a nuclear holocaust. Perhaps its been unfairly represented, I know just one Texan and she's a lovely well adjusted person, but if you believe the movies (and to the detriment of my life, I do) the rest of them are backward, gunfucking, line dancing twats. Of course not all Texans are idiots, can the same be said for people who use Youtube?

The plot is the tested and tired 'some soldiers go to war and find out its not very fun and then go a bit mental' (see also In the Valley of Elah). The twist on this tale is that after they've served their time killing innocent people and taking their paycheck some of the soldiers get a bit upset that they have to go and do it all again because of some small print that says "You signed up to be a soldier, we don't have enough of them so you're fucked haha you shouldn't have taken us up on the idea of becoming hired killers quite so lightly should you?"

Ryan 'poor mans Heath' Phillippe is the heroic Texan tool that does the majority of the 'its not fair' toy throwing with his character going from God Bless America to America Sucks in under two hours. Occasionally he stops to think of those people he killed that wanted no part in the war either before, during or after, but dismisses them quickly and tries to find a lawyer to stop this injustice. Like the people of Iraq do on a daily basis. Ooooh sarcasm and politics. I am clever.

As for the youtube bashing that prefixed this review, I'm just pissed off with the 'revolutionising' of the media that I love (visual and audio storytelling) being turned into 180 second pieces for morons with attention spans shorter than their flacid and/or erect cocks. And any director that thinks he can summarise a complex war in the 3 minute 'artform' of compilations of two second shots of beaucoup bad shit is an idiot and deserves to be treated like one. Maybe make him wear a dunce cap for a month. And sit in the corner along with the whiny soldiers.