Posts Tagged ‘Film’

One Minute Review: Diary of the Dead

June 23, 2008

A disappointment, in the same vein as the very-poor-indeed Land of the Dead. Diary of the Dead focuses far too heavily on the survivors – all of whom are irritating stereotypes. We have the geek, the macho jock, the Texan beauty queen and, hysterically enough, the bow and arrow-wielding professor with his terrible English accent.

Worst of all, we have the man holding the camera. Romero’s point about this generation of rubbernecked, car crash watching youtube-addicts is all well and good – but when a pretty girl is being chased by a zombie only metres away and the cameraman (himself a character in the movie) decides to just keep rolling rather than intervene with a sharp implement to the eye socket, any realism sought through the use of digital camera imagery is blown out of the water.

Still, for all that, there are zombies. But the sad thing is, there aren’t many of them. Nowhere near enough of them and at no point do we get a whole load of them swarming towards us – the essential visual when you consider the genre.

Still, there is a really good bit where they use those ECG things you use to jump start a heart on a zombies head, making her eyes pop out like strawberry angel delight – so for that alone it’s worth renting. But a much better and more considered undead film shot from the first person is The Zombie Diaries, an under-the-radar British oddity.

And it’s got Dr Legg in it.

Juno

March 31, 2008

Juno 

Warning – contains spoilers

It’s taken me a week to get over Juno. I saw it last weekend, geared up by the glowing reviews and Oscar receipts. I found out The Moldy Peaches were on the soundtrack well in advance, being a reader of Pitchfork who’s admired the lo fi twosome since their album came out in 2001. It’s fair to say I was looking forward to this film. It’s also fair to say I was massively disappointed by what I saw. I’ll go further… I was bloody annoyed by how utterly shit it is.

First off – Ellen Page’s performance as the eponymous Juno. Ok – so the dialogue she had to work with is soul-crushingly leaden and heavy on the half-arsed witticisms. Fine – she was dressed like the most unconvincing ‘geek’ you’ve ever seen… None of this makes up for the fact that she felt the best way to portray an outsider was to walk like a forty year old man and talk like a sarcastic five-year old. Possibly the most unendearing central performance I’ve seen since Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. This probably explains how she only has one friend in the whole movie – an unreconstructed airhead character who is treated completely one-dimensionally. Probably the only kind of chum she’d ever be able to make considering she speaks like a written-out Dawson’s Creek extra.

And that dialogue somehow won an Oscar. There is something inherently wrong with the world when critics and the Academy decide that overwritten rubbish like Juno deserves such an accolade. In one of her first exchanges, Juno says something along the lines of ‘I am fo’ shizz pregnant’ whilst speaking on her oh-so-amusingly-kitsch hamburger phone to aforementioned braindead pal. How amusing – a fifteen year old girl appropriating hip hop language. In the same piece of dialogue she says ‘silencio’ instead of shut up. Another example of how swamped this movie is with clunky, unappealing, unrealistic, smugly self-aware speech.

Page’s conversations with Michael Cera – the father of her unborn child – are supposed, I guess, to be charmingly innocent. He is a dork on the running team who can barely communicate. A mummy’s boy, in essence. A character who pretty much shrinks into the background of every scene. Not his fault, really – his dialogue is limited to yelps of unfunny reaction. Their relationship is unbelievable. I never for once believed that they’d met before, let alone procreated.

As the film drones on, Juno’s parents appear to speak in exactly the same kind of cliched child-speak she herself waffles in. So at least we know where she gets it from. But their acceptance of her having become pregnant, again supposedly meant to be endearing, actually stretches credibility to breaking point and from this point on, the film loses any grounding in realism it had already abandonded from the off.

When Juno meets the people she’s giving her baby up for, played by Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner, we see that they are yuppies with a lovely house and many, many rules of behaviour. It turns out that Bateman is actually a bit of a child at heart – he becomes friends with Juno away from the prying eyes of his control-freak wife. They watch horror movies together and discuss grunge music. It is entirely unlikely. And creepy by the end – specifically when we see them slowdancing together, sharing trust that really wouldn’t exist in that set of circumstances.

Bateman leaves his missus, just to add to his character’s bizarre air of creepiness and the baby is eventually given to Garner. This is exasperating. The only point at which she’s been able to attempt to convince us that she’s not an OCD-ravaged bundle of neuroses is when she puts her head to Juno’s swollen tum-tum and goes all maternal. With that one brief scene in mind, we’re meant to believe she’ll make a great mother.

This is patently bullshit. And convenient too, as it means Juno has offloaded her ‘problem’ without having to upset the anti-abortion critics (personified by an offensive Chinese stereotype who can’t say ‘born’ without saying ‘borned’). It also sets up the happy ending perfectly without anyone actually getting damaged by the experience. Indeed, the only result is happiness. Juno gets with her boy and Garner gets her babby (and is somehow miraculously transformed into a great Mum).

The final scene really made me gag on the booze I’d been driven to drinking. A wonderfully understated song on the Moldy Peaches debut album named ‘Anyone Else But You’ is pissed on by Page and Cera, who attempt to reinvent it for the purposes of the movie using badly tuned acoustic guitars. They somehow manage to make a lovely, charming, badly-recorded gem sound like a work of evil. Actual, atrocity-level evil. Page tries to embellish the half-spoken lines with Tori-Amosesque shrieks whilst Cera is devoid of charisma and it is woeful beyond explanation.

It’s a fittingly crap end to a mystifyingly celebrated movie. I advise you to avoid, unless you’re willingly swept-away by faux-quirky fakery on the back of misguided recommendations from film critics who should know so much better.

The Bourne Ultimatum

August 23, 2007

Jason Bourne is back in the years most action packed, high-octane, pulse quickening, genre defining, nerve-shredding, hyperbole-producing film of the summer…!

The critics have been falling over themselves to to hurl platitudes at the latest, and possibly final, instalment in the Matt Damon spy franchise – and the most recent of threequels to grace our screens in recent months. It’s not hard to see why they’ve been so nice to the movie, it’s certainly the best of a very bad bunch of high-profile summer releases and it treats it’s audience with respect and provides a satisfying conclusion as opposed to the usual openendedness bollocks you get these days. It’s also pretty bad in places, has a wafer-thin plot and has lost much of the freshness that makes the other two Bourne films so enjoyable.

Paddy Considine is a journalist writing a searing expose of undercover operations by the USA for the Guardian. We know he’s a good journalist because he says things like “he was telling the truth – he was scared” and circles conveniently abstract pieces of plot like ‘it all started with Jason Bourne’ in his notebook. The fact that he works for the Guardian made me laugh – I don’t quite know why but I suspect that it has something to with a newspaper that gladly publishes the work of Steve Bell and Jon Ronson being heroic conspiracy exposers…

Anyway, he meets Bourne and so begins another adventure of globe-trotting. A lot of globe-trotting in fact – so much globe-trotting that after a while you begin to wonder how seemingly the most wanted man in the world is able to travel to distant, ‘axis of evil’ countries and never once get caught up in a security system that ensnares thousands of innocent travellers everyday. I guess he’s that good a spy because we never see him once being fingerprinted when entering the US or being denied a Visa for having parents who once smoked pot.

So he moves like a ninja across the world, arriving at exactly the right time to advance his story a little and everyone he meets dies, but not before they can leave behind a fragment of burnt paper or a photograph to help him move to the next level.

It’s all a little silly. The earnestness of the film at times gives way to reveal the inherent implausibility of the story… That’s not to say though that the whole thing isn’t great fun, because it is. Paul Greengrass shoots the whole movie with such sincerity that for much of it you are swept away. The action scenes are extremely creative – both in their choreography and execution – and while the gullibility of his pursuers seems to have no end, they make very entertaining adversaries.

It’s also nice to see an action film where the bodycount isn’t glorified, deaths are regretted and the bad guy doesn’t go down in a hail of bullets. The Bourne movies deal with the moral complexities of being an invincible super-spy very well and this is possibly the most mature of the series.

Basically it’s an above average action movie that is a pretty decent end to a good trilogy of films… it’s not quite the year’s most action packed, high-octane, pulse-quickening, genre-defining, nerve-shredding, hyperbole-producing film of the summer, but it’ll do.

The Business

March 27, 2007

The Business 

It clearly set itself up to be the UK ‘Goodfellas’, but instead it stands as a lesson in ‘how not to make a film’.

Frankly, it’s actually hard to know where to begin with this one. How about my decision to watch it knowing that it wasn’t going to be very good by default? Okay.

Right… Well I’d made the decision to watch it earlier in the afternoon, I think as part of my ‘hey, maybe Danny Dyer’s actually alright’ therapy. I think this is because I wouldn’t mind, due to okay reviews, seeing Severance and I read something in The Guardian about his relationship with the director being compared to de Niro and Scorcese, or some such. (Shit).

I can’t stand DD (the Dagenham Dildo) I think he’s a crappy actor always playing the same cockney-lad hard-nut, despite looking like a 14-year-old weed with the charisma of a floating turd who’d jump if you gently burped across the road from him. That being said, I decided to give it a shot – despite the Football Factory I hasten to add – which is unreviewable without resorting to filming a ritual-killing.

The plot is ridiculous to the point of farce, not even worth consideration as it’s so badly conceived it makes James Herbert seem like Dostoyevsky. The sewer pipe scene… I can say no more for fear of heart failure.

In terms of casting I can’t complain, all the cons look suitable connish but the little aspect of acting seems to have been ignored. This is born out by the fact that I’ve not seen a single actor in it, before or since. They couldn’t even cast the films ‘totty’ without bothering to look below her neck.

The acting is truly exceptionally dreadful, more wooden than the cross on which Jebus was nailed, though not as interesting. The direction, the cinematography (or lack thereof) and (my personal pet hate in a lot of British film’s output) the lighting is so dire I truly refuse to believe anyone had any experience of their jobs previously. This is particularly depressing when one considers that the money used to make this muck deprived another British movie of funding. Filming me masturbating for an hour and a half until I finally squeeze watery yoghurt onto a tissue would’ve been a fucking boon.

The 80’s soundtrack isn’t actually too bad; it was nice to hear a few long forgotten tunes despite my ‘punk’ self, but to organise them in such a way they actually sucked out whatever life the film had (exposing a tiny frail skeleton with osteoporosis) seemed to me to be counter productive. An example being Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins. I actually screamed when they faded it out even though the ‘plot’ was at it’s most critical, theoretically of course.

But perhaps the most dreadful aspect was the script, or rather, the combination of the script and the supposed acting, especially with regard to one word: ‘cunt’. The word is spoken with such acute self-awareness, I’m sure it was only at the last minute they did away with a flash bearing a fist blasting on to the screen every time it was uttered. Everyone said it repeatedly, when the women said it we were treated to a close up of a snarling mouth to emphasise the ‘shock’ value. The ‘fucks’ came thick and fast but ‘cunts’ were delivered with such diligence and care it genuinely felt as if the Director had gathered the whole crew together before shooting and said. ‘Oh, you can all be very proud of yourselves as I can confirm, THIS IS THE FIRST FILM IN THE HISTORY OF FILM TO USE THE WORD ‘CUNT’’ The cast and crew look at each other jaws dropped, ‘really?’ says one, not believing his ears, ‘YES’ replies the director and they all embrace one another, yell with delight, even a few tears are wiped from shining eyes…

What a fucking heap of shite.

Fuck Severance.

The Believer

January 31, 2007

 

It’s not bad I suppose, its heart is in the right place but, obviously, it’s not easy going.

For a kick off Billy Zane is wearing a wig, because we know in real life he’s as bald as a cootcunt. That was distracting.

The story revolves around a bright young nazi skinhead who is also a fully snipped-up Jew, though he’s a vehement anti Semite??!!! CRAZY. He blames God for, basically, being a control freak after the bit in the Bible/Torah where Abraham is commanded to knack his young son to show his allegiance to the Lord… This theme recurs in visions the young-skin has of being a Nazi impaling a child on a bayonet. It’s well clevah…

But here is the rub, it’s not half as clever as it thinks it is, moreover, it’s quite unbelievable. Not in terms of a Jew being an anti-Semite – Hitler’s mum was a Jew for example, which means he was too by Jewish law – but in terms of the logic and the subsequent practical manifestation of the young-skin who cannot resolve his Jewishness with his Skinheadness. Also, the police are notably absent throughout the film, in one scene he pulls a gun in full view of a café and pokes it into the mouth of a New York Times reporter without any consequence whatsoever. When he does get arrested for a racist fight in a Jewish eatery (you don’t see the fight or the arrest) he and his friends are let off without charge as the incident, according to the beak, was exacerbated by the two Jewish owners asking six enormous and verbally offensive skins to leave.

However, there were some interesting points made, in particular one about Holocaust denial from the point of white supremacists. The latter argue that Hitler killed no more than 200,000 Jews at best, but in doing so they are undermining Hitler’s ‘achievement’, indeed, his failure to make a dent on the Jewish population. It was argued by the young skin that this negates Hitler’s greatness.

I was also annoyed by the fact we see this cracking birds tits and not her bottom which I suspected was enormous – I simply wanted to resolve my suspicions. Is that wrong? No.

Anyway, I was only half watching it. If you go to the links on this page and pop off to Piqued *ahem* you’ll know why.

Invisible Monkey Movie

January 30, 2007

Hollow Man
Watched Hollow Man this weekend pissed out m’mind and farting like a tramp. Thoroughly enjoyed the disappearing monkey but then it all got a bit rubbish when Kevin Bacon (who you may remember played a paedophile in Flatliners) vanished. That said, I did like it when he killed the dog and raped the bird with nice big knockers (though some anal penetration shots wouldn’t have gone amiss). The blonde couldn’t act to save ‘er fucking life, mind, and neither could the big lunk who’s dad gets shot in Westworld. Bacon dies in a lift-shaft after being burnt anyway, and killing a fat man.

RUBBISH!

Calm Down Dear, I’m Clearly Terminal

January 29, 2007

Michael Winner
According to the lazy researcher’s resource, Wikipedia, between 1961 and 1962 Michael Winner directed four films, three of which were called ‘Some like it Cool’, ‘The Cool Mikado’ and ‘Play it Cool’

This, to me, sums up the early makings of a tit.

Apart from being unable to make a single decent film, despite having some of the best acting talent at his porcine disposal, this overpaid gitprong due to his ‘flair’ for self publicity managed to ingratiate himself into the hearts of the British public for being a bit of a womanising bon viveur. How the fuck this came to be I’ve no idea. He’s a fat useless cunt at best, at worse he an irresponsible corpulent sell-out, who’d fuck his own mother for 10p. Winners Dinners

So, moving on, his glittering career arguably ‘peaked’ when the crimson faced porker signed up with an insurance company, not just any insurance company, no, the sort that advertise in between Home and Away and Crown Court. Due mainly to the dope addled media students enjoying a 3-year ‘study period’ these adverts for Esure managed to gain somewhat of a cult status, the immortal ‘calm down dear it’s just a commercial’ uttered flarelessly day in a day out acted as some sort of quasi-religious chant to the vulnerable pond-lives happening to be watching daytime TV, which in tern permeated into the public consciousness.

Following a brief (albeit merciful) hiatus these adverts are now back on our screens, but something has gone terribly wrong.

Somewhere in between Esures ‘heyday’ and the current crop of commercials, Winner is quite literally half the man he used to be. The fat, red Winner with his booming catchphrase has gone, and been replaced by a pale, wizened little old man, replete with thin reedy voice, looking for all intents and purposes as if he’s one heartbeat from death. In fact he looks so ill that I won’t accept he’s not be held upright by a pole, he can’t even be arsed to say ‘…it’s just a commercial’ anymore, leaving the ‘Calm down dear’ to hang alone in the ghoulish air he now pervades like a pre-tombstone epitaph.

It’s a badly kept secret that the BBC agreed, if it came to it, to allow the late and great Alistair Cooke broadcasting ‘Letter from America’ on Radio 4 to die on air. Let’s hope Esure offer Winner the same gratuity, but only after he utters ‘Calm down dear’ simply because it will be funnier.

Be good if he threw up too. Ironic, even

Twenty Ate Days Later

January 25, 2007

28 Days 

Yes, ‘ate’.

I saw it again last night on Film4, but instead of occupying my usual position in the lounge I was reclined in my bed with wines and grass like a fucking KING.

Anyway (I was naked, ladies) it hasn’t aged well and had some classic ‘British Movie’ cock-ups.

Firstly, the contemporary soundtrack. Sheer luck for the producers – Dave Brock of Hawkwind wouldn’t have two beans to rub together to sue for plagiarism, the budget of the production of said plagiarised tunes is clearly lacking, as is technical know how, the resulting din wouldn’t sound out of place performed by a sixteen year old in the first term of Brit School. Then suddenly a song by Granddaddy appears…! Mental.

Secondly the haircut of the just-missed-being-beautiful black lady… It wasn’t made in the 80’s was it? No. Yet she looked liked she’d just been turned down for Bananarama. Judging by the way it had been coiffured, spiked and gelled she’d no more survived a pandemic than I had, lolling in my bed and sucking back on a fat bifter.

Now we get to the leading man. Apart from his Vidal Sassoon transformation midway through the film, there was woeful lack of characterisation at the end when he goes on a mad killing spree, at about the same point at the plot descends into twaddle. Quite honestly, despite the makeovers, up until the point that Christopher Ecclestone appears (and despite outclassing all the acting talent in one fell swoop) the film was engaging, and in places genuinely gripping.

We are led to believe that he can take on a bunch of fully armed up soldiers (stripped to the waist I hasten to add, it’s fucking cold and raining, he’ll catch his death) who he despatches brutally without necessity. And lets be honest, the Ecclestone character made a fair point, putting aside the plot-driven ‘I promised them women’ referring to the gormless lascivious troops who seemed to increase and decrease in number at will, if there was only one woman left in the world it’s fair to assume that the whole future of the human race depends on her.

Right?

RIGHT?

Of course I am, friends

So, nice idea, a good effort with sections of imposed belief-suspension (London Cab driving over a pile up?) and some thrilling shots of an abandoned London, it’s largely let down by the end, and I don’t find that acceptable.

No.