Tuesday, 31 May 2011

If he's a criminal mastermind then Mother Theresa is running numbers

The Spirit (1987)
Chosen, once again, by INJCulbard's twitter account.

One of those teevee movies that was probably a pitch for a series that (thankfully) went nowhere. It's not as tonally off as the horrid Frank Miller take years later but still doesn't manage to capture what makes the Spirit comics so cool.
It's incredibly, incredibly cheap (the cemetery set is just terrible), features awful performances (Mckinley Robinson as P'Gell is about passable) and a dull trite plot.
I would still watch this a million times over rather than sit through the 2008 version though.

It won't be the nicotine that kills you, Mr. Bond.

You Only Live Twice (1967)
Chosen by Blogalongabond
But not for long
Bond's Intro: After seeing the world's most bored looking NASA worker (you work with spaceships man!) and Shane Rimmer (who later gets promoted out of desk work and commands a submarine) we get the line 'our man in Hong Kong is working on it now' - hur hur. Being Bond of course, who as we know by now is a bit of a rubbish agent, he is naturally dipping his wick. And we have another pre-credit sequence obsessed with the idea of Bond dying. I'm not sure any of this plot thread makes sense (all it really does is show SPECTRE up as monumentally stupid) but it's barely referred to anyway and exists to give the film it's 'poetic' title.

Theme Song and Credits: Not quite the taint exporling antics of Thunderball this plays it more subtly (for Bond anyway) with mostly eyes and head shots over cascading, spurting lava (so not that subtle perhaps). We do get some very perky nipples at the end. The song itself is not bad, a little wishy washy.

The Ladies: Helga Brandt is a weak tea version of Fiona Volpe from Thunderball but has her charms, every Bond villainess should be a redhead. Aki is a rather dull, needy, ally ('you wouldn't touch her would you') and strangely written out so we get Kissy at the end who is never even named in the film.

The Baddies: Some henchmen here make one of the laziest attempts at assassination ever, creeping ever so slowly behind Bond, in a car, a few foot away with a machine gun. Just outside of their office. None of this seems well thought through. Hans is a rather dull tough guy type not even introduced until over an hour in and over shadowed by the piranha. Osato is a beaureaucrat. Blofeld is Pleasance so pretty cool but is as idiotic as his underlings (why does he take Bond on a trip of his lair before shooting Osato, going on another trip and then giving the immortal 'Goodbye Mr. Bond'). He should really feed himself to piranha.

License to Kill: A few security guards are callously shot whilst just doing their job. The little nellie sequence is pretty cool, bond showing off his skills and something we haven't really seen in the other Bond films. Hans is, like so many Bond villains, not actually killed by Bond, who seems to take it in his stride the pushing someone into water will make them scream in pain and die.

Bond hates foreigners: 'why do chinese girls taste so different from all other girls like peking duck is different from russian caviar.' I don't know if this is more condescending to women or nationalities. And the whole disguising Connery as Japanese - yesh.

Bond hates women: 'men always come first, woman second' Bond is told 'I might just retire to here' he of course replies.

Bond's crazy knowledge: 'you forget i took a first in oriental languages at cambridge' 'lox - well it's the american name for smoked salmon but it's also the technical name for liquid oxygen which makes rocket fuel'. Naturally knows the right temperature for saki

Bond's a big fat snob: 'russian vodka well done' except he doesn't seem to mind henderson gets the wrong order for shaken not stirred (still Henderson pays the price for that mistake) 'siamese vodka' ugh - I love Bond looking disdainful.

00's killed: Still not a 00 but henderson last all of two minutes after meeting bond who is a form of black plague to intelligence workers. Later Aki bites it aswell of course.

Mini overview: A tremendously lazy, badly paced (the whole 'wedding' sequence is there for what purpose exactly? - although it does take a slight unintended tinge of sadness with what is to come next film) package. But the fun bits are so much fun that doesn't seem to matter. This is the one with the awesome volcano rocket base. Ninjas! Piranha! Red Heads! Cigarette rockets! Gyrocopters! That cool shot of the fight on the roof! Oh and these guys
Are these the Hot Cops from Arrested Development?

Monday, 30 May 2011

That's the end of the picture. But it's not the end of the mystery!

The Hangover Part II (2011)
Chosen by me as I like to go to the cinema a lot

Unfortunately it wasn't. Though claiming to be a 'gleeful black comedy' there's no funny to be found here for the most part. It's easy to see how this seems mostly forgotten now, it's central gimmick is a dud.
The cameos from a host of Hollywood legends in make-up utterly banal.
The actual mystery (not the spot the star game, which it may cheat at anyway) is mostly compelling until it utterly deflates itself and the film spends way too much time on foxhunts (possibly at Huston's request who had the James Bond spoof Casino Royale rewritten to fit the 'sport' in).

Ok so that was a bad bit of meta-humour by copy pasting my 'review' from yesterday I am of course suggesting that Hangover Part II is the worst kind of sequel. One that merely goes through exactly the same paces as the previous movie. It's kinda understandable, you want to give the viewers what they liked about the first one again but this is so lazily xeroxed over it only makes the flaws of the first so much more noticable.
All the characters are complete aresholes, still, but the lack of surprise means you are focussed on this more. Bradley Cooper's Phil may be the worst of the lot, just a horrid, horrid man.
Everything feels so tired and dull this time, the trail of clues for what happened over the night doesn't seem to really connect or build.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

That's the end of the picture. But it's not the end of the mystery!

The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)
Chosen by me as it was £3 in Fopp and sounded fun.

Unfortunately it wasn't. Though claiming to be a 'gleeful black comedy' there's no funny to be found here for the most part. It's easy to see how this seems mostly forgotten now, it's central gimmick is a dud.
The cameos from a host of Hollywood legends in make-up utterly banal.
The actual mystery (not the spot the star game, which it may cheat at anyway) is mostly compelling until it utterly deflates itself and the film spends way too much time on foxhunts (possibly at Huston's request who had the James Bond spoof Casino Royale rewritten to fit the 'sport' in).

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Your nightmare's only getting worse

I saw the Devil (2010)
Chosen by Andrew who had this to say: 'An unrelenting and brutal Korean revenge thriller by director Jee-woon Kim (The Good, the Bad and the Weird and A Tale of Two Sisters). The highlight of the film is a great performance from Min-sik Choi as a ruthless serial killer.'

A rather grim piece of exploitation melodrama (not enough his pregnant partner is killed but the forensics guy trips over and deposits her decapitated head in front of him).
It's well performed but a bit repetitive and over-long. The revenge angle is at least interesting (though the old saw of hunter and hunted being two sides of the same coin is trotted out again), and after appearing to wimp out of giving horrific consequences to Lee's revenge plot (a couple of people Choi kills after being released are murderers/kidnappers themselves bizarrely) takes it to it's extreme at the end in a way that thematically works but is still dramatically too much.
Not a pleasant film by any means.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Hire the smart, fat girl

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Chosen by Jamie Blackmore who had this to say:'Really liked this movie, even though the plot and eventual conclusion for the main character are signposted a mile away. Also has the severely underused Stanley Tucci, as Nigel. And as Meryl Streep would say, "That's all"'

Annoying in a number of ways not least never questioning the idea that Anne Hathaway could be thought of as fat. At one point a character suggests Meryl Streep wouldn't be thought of harshly if she was a man but the film does the same thing with Hathaway. Everyone gets angry she would dare to be good at her job, sacrificing some personal life (so she didn't make her boyfriends birthday, it happens, way to overreact jerkface) to achieve her dream job. Also the comparison between what she does to Emily Blunt and what Streep does to Tucci seems entirely spurious and as empty and meaningless as the rest of the film.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

We don't murder; we kill.

The Big Red One (1980)
Chosen by Darron Bowley who had this to say: 'Somewhat famous as Mark Hamill's attempted 'break out' film after Star Wars, that idea didn't quite work out as planned did it. This is perhaps the first true 'war' film I've lent Dave. As the war, and it's effects, are the focus of the film. I like the soldier's eye view the film takes, alternating the frantic fighting and 'hurry up and wait' life of a soldier. My favourite story beat is the one involving the opposing German soldier they keep encountering without actually meeting, until the end that is. I like to imagine that there is a companion film out there that tells a story from his perspective, again only intersecting with the others at certain points. All in all, one of the better war movies out there.'

Although a little clunky and slightly overlong this is a pretty terrific film about the madness of war. Closer in tone to Catch 22 or even MASH than Saving Private Ryan.
It offers an unblinking take on what needs to be done in war but catches and contrasts the insanity for both sides with touches of humanity and compassion that are as fleeting and offputting as the violence.
Lee Marvin is terrific but could probably sleepwalk through the role, Hamill is not really good enough (especially for a moment at the end he can't quite pull off) but the film is well worth a look.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

I didn't see shit. And I ain't paid to see shit.

Doom (2005)
Supplied, but not chosen, by Victoria Charvill from a stack of DVDs she was giving away

Most of the dialogue seems strung together from war movie cliches, whether it makes sense or not (plus some irritating technobabble later just to make sure no words out of anybodies mouth mean a damn thing) but to be fair nobody is watching this to hear scintillating chat. However the action is also lack-lustre. Nothing much happens for a long, long time (like many movies of it's type this really wants to be Aliens but simply can't match the action movie chops of that film) and the action is short and dull.
The first person shooter sequence is laughably dumb and certainly not any good. It comes from nowhere, a sudden baffling shift in tone and pace, outstays it's welcome and exists purely as a in-joke to the fans of the game (to paraphrase Harrison Ford "you can play this shit, George, but you can't watch it") but at least it has a pulse.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Did everyone see that? Because I will *not* be doing it again.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Lurching ungainly from one confusing, clunkily staged action scene (so many times soldiers are right behind Depp to suddenly be somewhere else for no reason) to another barely pausing to catch breath. Yet it still spends too much time on too many characters so instead of relentless the pacing feels sluggish and indistinct.
Depp's performance is a little tired but no-one here is especially good, though Rush seems to be having most fun and Cruz is at least a little more interesting than the bland Knightley from the previous movies.
They've always played with the idea that Jack Sparrow is a bit of a dick but the ending is baffling and would make much more sense if it swapped the two characters actions around.

Monday, 23 May 2011

There's no percentage in smartenin' up a chump

The Set-Up (1949)
Suggested by Ian Culbard (kinda it was a twitter mention so not a direct recommendation  hence no intro).

A solid, mostly gripping boxing thriller with the interesting premise of a fixed match except the boxer doesn't know it. It spends half it's short time setting the scene, giving us snippets of other boxers whose matches we never see and who have little impact on plot but create a vivid, compelling world, each pushing Robert Ryan's unwitting chump towards an inevitable but still satisfying decision.
The match itself, taking up most of the rest of the film, is exciting. Simple but strikingly shot, packs power even 60 years on.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Do I look like I carry a pencil

Blitz (2011)
Chosen by me as I like to go to the cinema a lot.

A London based Dirty Harry, this is morally dubious entertainment perhaps but too bland to really offend.
Statham and Considine make for an odd pairing but the movie never really makes enough out of that.
Considine is one of the non-offensive film homosexuals who lives on his own and whose sexual life is only referred to derogatorily by others. Interestingly though so is Statham's (by a female officer who unbuttons her shirt more than would seem to be regulation).
It aims for a 'poetic justice' ending but it doesn't really make much sense.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

I don't think we can teach him anything

Win Win (2011)
Chosen by me as I like to go to the cinema a lot and love Giamatti.

A sweet, neatly observed sports comedy/drama where the sport actually doesn't matter all that much.
Giamatti is once more brilliant as the perpetual sad-sack and has a fine cast surrounding him (Melanie Lynskey is terrific along with Amy Ryan and Margo Martindale pops up for a small role).
A perfectly charming movie.

Friday, 20 May 2011

there is another kind of love, the cruellest kind, the one that almost kills it's victims, it's called unrequited love. of that I am an expert.

The Holiday (2006)
Supplied, but not chosen, by Victoria Charvill from a stack of DVDs she was giving away.

I have little problem with an action movie cheating it's 'love' story. So we get a montage of Tracy and James Bond (buoyed by the awesome Louis Armstrong of course) to show their growing affection for each other. The focus of the film is not their hook up, and the fact it spends even this much time on it is warrented as something special within the films universe.
Romantic comedies constantly needing to do this drives me nuts. So we get montage after montage with no dialogue to cheat out of the crippling difficulty in connecting with another human being (ok so that may be my hang up I guess a lot of people don't find it as difficult as I do). Ha ha ha', they laugh together at some unknown joke (and who laughs like that anyway?). 'oh you' she seems to mouth whilst playfully hitting him on the arm, all the while some lame soft pap pop song plays.
And often they compound the problem by forcing a really short time scale on it. I'll barely have remembered your name after two weeks, let alone fallen in love (again I may not be the best base line for comparison but still).
The Holiday makes it even worse by giving Diaz the terrible character trait of not being able to cry. You see her parents broke up when she was seven and it so traumatised her that she vowed never to feel that way again. Until having to go back home after spending two weeks (well less really) with Jude Law. 
So a terrible moment from her childhood is directly compared to her leaving some bloke after 14 days. Smooth. A lazy bit or hacky writing in a film filled with lazy bits of hacky writing.
Winslet and Black are quite sweet together though, and if that storyline had time to play out properly I may have been kinder towards this crap.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

listening to this crap is guaranteed to make you sterile.

Empire Records (1995)
Chosen by Jamie Blackmore who had this to say about it: 'Pretty well executed slacker type comedy - and with a lovely youthful Renee Zellweger in it. Also has a very young Liv Tyler and Robin Tunney. Why do I love it? Gina in an apron!'

Filled with annoying people doing annoying things.
It feels very much of it's time, I can see why so many people like it but it's fucking terrible. Laboured jokes, 2 dimensional characters given something slightly 'dark' to work through and a wholly pointless ending (that shop is dead in the water anyway).
Not funny enough to get away from the fact none of it makes sense, not drawn well enough to propel the dramatic moments. Just rubbish.
I did like Robin Tunney with the shaven head though.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

If you only heard the sponge cake story.

Thirst (2009)
Chosen by Andrew who had this to say: 'A great post-Twilight vampire film by Chan-wook Park (Oldboy). The film is a fusion of genres with a streak of black comedy. A stylish and different take on the vampire genre with strong performances by Kang-ho Song and Ok-bin Kim.'

A very strange beast. Filled with non-sequiturs and offbeat moments.
It's another visually striking film from Park with great performances.
It's ending is never really in doubt (though even that plays out with some silly humour that makes it all the bleaker), indeed I can think of a number of Vampire films that go for this but the journey there is most unexpected. Elements of The Postman Always Knocks Twice or Les Diaboliques clash up in fun ways with the story of a Priest becoming a vampire and learning to fall in love (and more importantly sin).
Terrific stuff.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Would you force the sea to grow still, to save one wave? To save yourself?

Tales from Earthsea (2006)
Chosen by Sabine Woolnough who had this to say: ‎"for a studio Ghibli film, it was pants" done :D"  
I wasn't too happy with this to be honest so I badgered her for something more and got this: "really weird film, animation totally changed at the end. Was like they couldn't be arsed. Also the storytelling was a little dull too. Didnt really like any of the characters."

I can't say I noticed too much difference in animation towards the end (maybe a couple of ropey shots when a castle was being destroyed) but she is completely correct about how dull this is.
It starts with some casual patricide which it then ignores for much of the movie and then fails to explain satisfactorily anyway. The world's rules are ill defined and the characters even more so. Dalton delivers some solid voice work but has little to play with.
The film drifts along with little forward momentum and then just kind of ends.
It's certainly pretty in places (although a lot of the design work seems second hand, lifts from Nausicaa especially) but a disappointing effort from a normally solid studio.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Quite sweet really, aren't they?

Attack the Block (2011)
Chosen by me because I like going to the cinema a lot and I'm a massive fan of Joe Cornish.

Attack the Block is a very strong debut film from one half of the terrific double act Adam and Joe (the only radio show I ever listen to) with one fairly major flaw that it mostly gets around.
The film is very clever, though not as funny as I would have liked (it doesn't reach the gag levels of Shaun of the Dead say) but asks you to buy into the redemption story of a bunch of kids who mug a nurse.
I'm very into the idea of 'Chavs' as heroes. Doctor Who in it's very successful relaunch played into this a little. In the first season of Misfits the most stereotypically 'chav' character of all of them is the only one who is not always guided by selfish desires.
There's an idea here that these inner city youths are much better equipped for an Alien invasion than, say, I would be. A lifetime of being crapped on means they won't meekly accept what is happening or wait for the police to sort it out (this of course brings it's own problems the film is smart enough to point out).
That said it expects us to cheer on the main character who only 90 mins earlier was threatening a young woman. It does a good job of explaining where he is coming from, but not excusing.
The aliens are slightly detailed but fun, it cheats a little for the 'heros' redemptive moment (suddenly the aliens become much slower and useless than we had seen) but has a neat little gag which inverts the Zombie (or maybe Invasion of the Bodysnatchers?) cliche and has being a normal human working for stealthing past the creatures.
I look very forward to what Cornish may have up next (beyond scripting on Tintin and Ant-Man) on the basis of this strong, smart fun movie.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Talk hard, I like that. It's like a dirty thought in a nice clean mind.

Pump Up the Volume (1990)
Chosen by Brian Marshall who had this to say: 'Pump up the volume is a film of the 90's which sadly hasn't aged well as much as I'd like to believe it has. It's saving grace is the soundtrack.'

Painfully forced youth in rebellion movie. It's rather confused on what it is actually fighting against and has a slightly dubious grasp of technology.
Some of the music is pretty good I guess, if you don't mind Slater talking over it and you get to see Samantha Mathis' tits if that's your bag.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

I think I might name my daughter Chlamydia.

Waiting (2005)
Chosen by Jamie Blackmore: 'Gross out comedy - why watch it? Well, it introduces the dick showing game... which is just so so wrong! Batwing or the Goat? In general though, ticks the usual american pie type jokes...'

Despite the dick showing game this is a rather tame comedy. Everything feels a little too second hand (wow jokes about mistreating the food in a restaurant - laugh riot) including Reynolds tired 'Jason Lee when wet' knock off performance.
Everyone's an arsehole which would be okay if the film was funny but means it's a drag generally. Who gives a shit about these tossers?

Friday, 13 May 2011

I made that armour. it's not magic. it's just shiny.

The Brothers Grimm (2005)
Chosen by Ian Culbard who had this to say: 'a film you watch while waiting for something to happen. Its entertaining enough and there are fleeting glimpses of Monty Python / Time Bandits / Baron Munchausen - and here I'm thinking more the beggar with no legs, the architecture... elements like that which relate more to Gilliam than the rest of those Pythons... but essentially its rather a flat story that fails to really draw on the rich collected imagination of the Brothers Grimm. IT COULD HAVE BEEN MORE!!!! SO MUCH MORE!!!! when you consider just how many stories the Brother's collected! And that's my gripe with this. I would have liked to have seen a sort of Wold Newton Universe that served only to inspire them in their later years. Something like that.... but anyway. Entertaining fluff, but really nothing more than that. Been a long time since I'd seen it... wonder what you make of it.'

There's a fair bit to like here but as with a lot of Gilliam's films it doesn't quite hang together (and is let down by some really shoddy effects work).
It's a fun take on fairy tales told, and played, very broad (Stormare adds another ludicrously accented eccentric to his collection) and silly.
Damon's performance can't quite get past his accent but Ledger and Headly are pretty good and when Bellucci asks 'who is the fairest of them all?' I don't think we need a second opinion.
Very, very flawed (scenes seem to have no connecting tissue, all a bit random and haphazard) but not without it's charms.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Something about Diana managing to be even more annoying dead than alive.

The Queen (2006)
Supplied, but not chosen, by Victoria Charvil from a bunch of DVDs she was getting rid of.

A fairly bland retelling of the short period after Tony Blair came into power with some fine performances although it's always hard to get away from pastiche of the real people.
I don't really want to rant about how much I hate the Royal family and Diana and how angry this film made me so I'm done for today.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The appalling thing about fascism is that you've got to use fascist methods to get rid of it.

It happened Here (1965)
Chosen by Darron Bowley who had this to say: 'This film postulates the 'what if Germany won' scenario by examining it through the eyes of one woman. Filmed in an almost documentary style it show a bleak vision of England under Nazi rule. It's notable for the sequence where the woman is talking to a bunch of English fascists. Apparently, this was ad-libbed and they are expressing their own opinions in their own words! Insightful in that the film suggests that fascism can breed anywhere given the right circumstances, a poignant point given the current rise in extreme politics/religion around the world. Perhaps a better title would have been 'least we forget...'.'

This doesn't quite hold together strongly on it's throughline but is none the less a compelling 'what if'. Not exactly a 'mockumentary' though filmed in strong raw docu style, with clear influences from Soviet and German propaganda movies, it posits a world in which Germany successfully invaded Britain and holds a power in the simple images of their soldiers marching in London. An incongruous and uncomfortable image backed with neat, small details that make it believable (the acting is fairly terrible for the most part, but that adds to it's documentary charm) and easy to see how the majority of people would go along with it, not out of cowardice but through simply wanting to keep in motion, to not stop their lives.
It has a similar problem to the Robert Harris book and adaptation Fatherland in that it's not exactly a surprise to an audience that the Nazis are killing undesirable persons but this works better by having English nurses carry out the deed and the way they justify it to themselves is horrifying.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

You Samurai are so arrogant

13 Assassins (2010)
Chosen by me as I like to go to the cinema a lot

Compared to the lunacy of some of Miike's movies 13 Assassins is a straight tame affair. But it still has people exploded into a shower if blood, bulls set on fire and stampeding through a bunch of soldiers (not brilliantly rendered but fun anyway), a quadruple amputee with her tongue cut out and other wackiness (*spoiler warning* someone survives a seemingly fatal wound which is jokingly dismissed).
It starts with a fairly slow build of the assassins forming together (we have only 12 for quite a while) before coming to a bloody 40 plus minutes of battle.
It's does a reasonable job of giving most of the characters hooks to recall them by for the final, sometimes confusing fight but can't quite juggle them all effectively, especially with time having to be spent on the interesting bad guys aswell.
It's a compelling, visually arresting film, well worth seeking out.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Tell me what music feels like?

Hanna (2011)
Chosen by me as I like to go to the cinema a lot.

Joe Wright is obsessed with circles, or at least 360 degree movement, in this film. It begins and ends with the same dialogue (which should be obvious the second Ronan says it at the start - it's a bit too 'cute' to not have been the set up for a call back) and the camera is constantly circling warily around the cast (often far too distracting and often the sign of someone who doesn't know how to shoot people talking around a table but it's used here all over the place) in different ways.
I assume this is a deliberate attempt to force some thematic depth on a very slight and silly (it's taken all very seriously of course but at the end of the day this is part of the plot for the upcoming Captain America movie applied to an unwitting young girl) story. It's well made but let down by some horrid moments where it wants to play up the culture clash element of a child taught to do nothing but adapt or die (as long as it comes to killing, she's no good at adapting to turning on a teevee it seems - her Dad should have come in and shot her then, saving us all a whole lot of 'comedy', although the answer "3 Bullets" to a question about how her mother died is a good one).
For all the time it spends with a slightly annoying terribly middle class British family it then denies an emotional pay off, and instead it gives to a character we've seen for about 5 minutes. Odd.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

There's no such thing as the vampire menace

Priest (2011)
Chosen by me as I like to go to the cinema a lot.

In many ways this seems to be more of a Judge Dredd adaptation than a Priest one (at least from my vague memory of the Korean comic, of which I have only read the first volume about 7 years ago). The city is very much Mega City, the wasteland operates like the Cursed Earth, Judges become Priests and religion taking place of The Law.
It's a pretty ropey tale neither the Vampire plan nor the Church's reaction to it make much sense and Paul Bettany makes for a dreary dull lead. But it has it's moments, reasonably thrilling action heroics (with yet another showing for the ever popular cave troll cgi design) and I'm always a sucker for the Western/Science Fiction combo.
3D was ok.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

I'm slightly tone deaf, but Matt's always said if I wasn't tone deaf, I'd have a very good voice.

Confetti (2006)
Supplied but not chosen by Victoria so she has nothing to say (it was a pile of DVDs she was getting rid of, I asked for everyone I hadn't seen so here we are)

A moderately amusing 'mockumentary' with a mostly decent cast.
It can't quite balance the needs of it's humour versus trying to make these seem like real people (it's never in any doubt at all which wedding will win, despite the DVD extra of alternate endings) but does reasonably well. It's just not funny enough.

Friday, 6 May 2011

it's awful not to be loved. It's the worst thing in the world

East of Eden (1955)
Chosen by Lauren Parker who had this to say: 'Nowhere near as great as Rebel Without a Cause but far less of a chore than Giant. Everyone should have to watch Dean's three main performances as in a rare case he lives up to the hype!'

Dean really does make for a great actor. Moments here are painful to watch as the emotions are so raw and powerful in his hands.
Eden takes a little while to get going but it works it's over the top melodrama (all crazy family secrets, betrayal, talk of war) expertly. The big way it achieves this is that all the characters and generally trying to do the right thing. When Dean's father throws back the gift he has been given it's completely understandable but still devastating.
Considering it involves picking beans and failing to make refrigerated trucks it's mostly riveting, living in the small moments of massive emotions.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Green colored condoms? I wanna know who sucks a green dick!

Hellbent (2004)
Chosen by Brian Marshall who had this to say about it: 'A horror film that plays to the gay audience. Paul Etheredge-Ouzts directed and wrote the film, saying he wanted a horror movie where the gay characters didn’t always die first. He then goes on and kills most of the gay cast. An enjoyable film if you like seeing gay men get killed in the most ridiculous ways.'

A rather cheap ramshackle affair but not without it's charms. The characters are reasonably well drawn, each with motivations seperate to each other but the performances are not up to scratch and the filmaking does them no favours.
This is really no different to any number of 'slasher' movies except all the characters are gay. We get the same cliches trotted out but there is a frisson of interest by being one step removed from the heterosexual pairing off  usually seen in these films.
It spends absolutely no time explaining the killer. At all (there's a hint maybe he is after only men's heads as he seems disinterested in the guy in drag until he proves he is a man).

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

I don't dance with naked soldiers.

Passchendaele (2008)
Chosen by Shane Leahy who had this to say about it:'I am a big history buff, when I heard about a film made about Canadian soldiers and partly filmed in Alberta I had to get it. Though I was surprised when I watched the movie and it was more of a love story then a war movie. I still enjoyed the film and it gave a different perspective then what you normally see in a US or UK film.'

The Great War has never been as cinematically represented as WWII, probably because the Nazis make for clear simple villains so the cliches have never become quite as entrenched.
Still Passchendaele feels a little second hand (I get why the love interest would have to be a nurse as how else can the meet on the battlefield but still), it has those small touches of detail (dry matches) that reveal it to be clearly a researched passion piece for Paul Gross.
Unfortunately a rote love story and war is hell text bore more than inflame and a silly ending (a call back to talk about a World War One 'urban legend') which has Gross literally bearing a cross, detracts from some good performances and an interesting look at the 'war at home' in Canada.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The eyes are the nipples of the face

The House Bunny (2008)
Chosen by Jamie Blackmore who had this to say: 'Decent comedy turn by Anna Faris - cast includes the ever great Emma Stone, and you also get Kat Dennings too. Only bad thing about it is that its the usual predictable conclusion. Great to just watch and not think about it too much. Usual college stereotype affair, ugly duckings made pretty.'

I had a snarky review set for this one which consisted of a picture and four words.
So here it is

In a word: Arse
Sorry Jamie, that's all you get for your first DVD. I'm tired.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Meaningless milestone - Hooray

I loves you

Well, here we are 122 films in. Which is probably about 244 hours or so of movie. Only about 10 days solid, doesn't seem so much really. But it's a full third of the way through this endeavour. It's had an odd effect on the way I perceive time. Normally I would see about 2 new films a week. So now, with 7, it feels like I'm much further into the year. Is it really only 4 months ago I saw Choke?

I wasn't sure of the purpose of the blog back then. I'm still not sure now.
I think I am quite a lonely, awkward person. I can be hard to get along with, people don't often invite me to social gatherings (the fact that I would call them social gatherings goes someway to explaining that, I'm just not a fun person).
So I crave my facebook, my twitter, my blog. Every 'like', comment and view genuinely, rather pathetically, cheers me up. It's certainly why I added my rule of not being able to reject any film offered to me but also to force the lender to write a short intro for their choice. My film viewing habits are very solitary and this creates a (fake) sense of interaction.

But of course the other, much better reason is that I get to see things I would never, ever have thought of watching. How could I forget this:
still so amazing
or possibly one of the worst films I have ever seen. A chance to catch missed classics, interesting films I hadn't heard of, great new films (ok granted I would have seen those anyway).

I don't get a massive amount of page views each day but i cherish everyone and become addicted to seeing the tracking number go up as the hours go by (you see - I really don't have much of a life).
A third of the way in and the most popular 'reviews' have been:

5). my conversation with god

4). I like Bradley Cooper I guess but still don't see why this is top 5

3). Another God

2). one of my longest 'reviews', a beautiful rant

1). interactive part of gimmick week

A couple of those are my favourites so it's nice to see them represented. Gimmick week as a whole was annoying as hell to do but fun (am actually very fond of this one with it's forced Community reference and the one that kicked the whole thing off). And of course one of my favourite tags had to be natalie portman masturbates a lot.

I want to thank everyone who has taken part in this, whether just reading the blog or leaving a comment but most especially to those that have lent me movies, good or bad, and taken time to write me up an introduction. It really does mean a lot to me.

Any humiliation which stood in his way could be swept aside by the simple act of annihilation: Murder

Tenebrae (1982)
Chosen by Lauren Parker who had this to say: 'Another choice in my attempt to make Dave squirm or have a heart attack. It's sadly only an average attempt by Argento but it does have some half decent deaths. The axe coming through the window to chop a well placed arm off is my only real memory of it to be honest!'

Not a terrific movie by any means and not too scary thankfully. It has a couple of Argento's trademark kills but everything feels so lazy (a woman is chased into the killer's house by a dog for seemingly no reason at all) that could be explained away in a supernatural story or if the atmosphere and plotting was much stronger.
I'm still not clear exactly how the flashback/dream sequence tie into anything or why some of the people are killed.
The DVD has some of the worst subtitles I've seen since my days of watching lots of Hong Kong movies with entourage being translated as on a roach, jailbait as jelda, perversion as possession and many, many spelling errors.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Thank you, Insurance Man

Cedar Rapids (2011)
Chosen by me as I like to go to the cinema a lot.

A great cast elevate some ok material into a watchable but slight comedy.
It follows one of those annoying trajectories of showing how us losers could be popular if only we slept around and took drugs but is warm hearted enough to not bother me too much.
Someone needs to give Alia Shawkat a leading role already.

Oh, I travel... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.

Thunderball (1965)
Chosen by Blogalongabond which has lots to say on the movie

So I am slightly late with this one, a not very well regarded Bond film but the first one I owned (and indeed one of my only films as a child on purchased video), I used to watch this every week and knew the dialogue off by heart so it holds a special place for me.

Bond's Intro: Still wearing the hat for the gun barrel bit we then see a coffin with the initials JB (continuing a preoccupation with Bond's death in these pre creds, we get another one next film), naturally a clumsy fake out which leads into a clumsy fight but i like it's low key struggle even if we are clearly verging on parody levels here as Bond fights a grieving 'widow'. 
And remember always have an exit strategy, especially one as cool as using a jet pack.
Theme Song and Credits: Our first nudes! In fact on dvd you can almost make out the naked swimmers taint. Tom jones song is basically a male version of Goldfinger, if you listen closely you can hear the clunk as Jones passes out hanging on to that last note and hits the floor. Solid song though i think i prefer Dionne Warwick with kiss kiss bang bang

The Ladies: Oh my, Fiona Volpe! A riposte to the clumsy turning of Pussy Galore her "But of course, I forgot your ego, Mr. Bond. James Bond, the one where he has to make love to a woman, and she starts to hear heavenly choirs singing. She repents, and turns to the side of right and virtue..." is an absloute delight. A sexy strong presence, she seems as handy with a gun as she does ordering around faceless goons or seducing Bond.
Domino is not nearly as interesting but looks good in black and white (constantly - we get it her name is Domino, I don't go around dressed as a Blacksmith for christ's sake).
Pat Fearing is a bit of a nothing role made uncomfortable by Bond's forcing himself on her and blackmailing her into sex.
And poor ol' Paula Caplan serves no purpose except to die.

The Baddies: Largo is an Eyepatch in search of a character but looks the part and feeds people to sharks (in fact I think he may have a bit of a pathological desire for this as instead of simply drowning Bond or just shooting him he creates an escape route to let the sharks in - Blofeld really needs to start doing psych checks before he hires someone) so is pretty cool.
We get a bit more of best boss ever Blofeld but the rest of the baddies are some ugly henchmen with little personality even the slightly prettier version of Rondo Hatton they have.
But my favourite henchmen may have to be the guy at the end. They are being chased by the navy, have a British Secret Service agent on board fighting but still he thinks it's time to bring up the champagne for a little celebration. That's optimism right there.

License to Kill: Bond is still a strange spy. He gets into a war of pranks with Count Lippe (we never got to him swapping the shampoo for glue) and then Volpe finishes all that. He announces to Largo who he is (despite punching Leiter for saying 007 in front of a goon) but Domino gets to sort all that out. Still he has his moments, he may have co-incidently stumbled onto the pilot doppleganger scheme but he knows to follow it up and is mostly competent in his bumbling way to finishing the job. 
I love that he has no idea who Kutze is at the end, he really is a terrible secret agent.

Bond hates women: He does punch a widow in the face - so ok it turns out to be a spectre agent but still. As mentioned he blackmails Pat fearing into having sex with him.
'Most girls just paddle around. you swim like a man.' he tells Domino in a horrible reverse compliment. When Volpe is giving him a lift it seems strange he would be nervous at speed, I think it is clear he just hates female drivers.

Bond's Crazy knowledge: Recognises a Tong tattoo after a brief glimpse.

Bond's a big fat snob: 'you shouldn't have opened that car door yourself' 
00's killed: It's not specified but two colleagues are mentioned as being killed by Jacques Bouvar (maybe 00s, although nine seats look pretty full when the Operation Thunderball briefing is being given)
Mini Overview: It relies on some contrived plotting and has a whole lot of characters doing nothing but Thunderball is a blast anyway. The big underwater sequences are splendid and coupled with Fiona Volpe make for terrific fun. 
There's quite a few plot holes but the thing that really bothers me is how do they board the plane at the end?