Posts Tagged ‘Kirsten Dunst’

Spiderman 3

August 2, 2007

And so the cash-cow juggernaut that is the Hollywood sequel continues to drive its way across the world, obliterating almost all that comes before it. After the debacle that was Pirates of the Caribbean 3, I knew that I should abandon this year’s slew of threequels as hopeless and quietly admit that these big budget movies are no longer for me, but the Hollywood gene that was implanted as a child remained intact and like a moth to the flame I was irresistibly drawn towards this third, darker, Spiderman movie.

I knew it was going to suck, I knew I was going to hate it but still I couldn’t give up the ghost of the idea that maybe this time I would be wrong. Maybe this time I would find something satisfying and admirable in the cold, dead eyes of a billion dollar franchise. Maybe this time would be like when I was younger and I’d find giddy enjoyment in the spectacle and find it emotionally engaging as well.

I was a fool to even think it.

Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Poochy is introduced into Itchy and Scratchy but is destroyed by the studios attempts to satisfy every demographic? Welcome to Spiderman 3. The class and style of the first two films appears to have been thrown out the window in favour of a predetermined marketing angle, the established character arcs are dismissed with an almost gleeful preference for point A to B storytelling and the set-pieces are uninspired and formulaic. It’s almost as if the producers had a bullet point list of scenes / toy spin-offs they wanted to include and the story was shoe-horned in around them.

Even taking into account that it’s a comic-book movie and not subject to the general laws of logical storytelling, it was still a staggeringly lazy piece of work. Whole sections of the first movie were rewritten to justify character behaviour, soap opera levels of plotting were used to initiate storylines, villains given absolutely no reason to exist whatsoever and plot lines that had been carefully built up over the two previous movies were discarded in one or two lines of dialogue. What was even worse was that potentially interesting and exciting avenues of the plot were jettisoned in favour of turgid song and dance sequences and horrifically embarrassing ‘comedy’ moments.

This was meant to be the ‘dark’ episode of the trilogy, but instead it was a laughable exercise in bad filmmaking. How do we know Peter Parker has lost his soul to the black suit…? Why, he grows a Kraftwerk haircut. How can we justify his descent into bad behaviour…? Simple, rewrite his motivations from the first film. How can we get the new Green Goblin on Peter’s side..? Easy, give him selective amnesia. The disregard and lack of respect for the audience is evident in every frame as they go about hitting each target for their demograph and the consequences for the story be damned.

The villains were a pathetic lot and had none of the interest or pathos of either the Green Goblin or Doctor Octopus. Venom was a lousy CGI creation that was neither scary nor cool, and the Sandman was lumped with a backstory that was irrelevant and insulting. Kirsten Dunst became an irritating, demanding, self-interested cow barely capable of getting a teenage boy interested, Tobie Maguire had a humiliating dance sequence to explain his descent into badness and even the utterly reliable Bruce Campbell was saddled with a sub-Arthur Bostrom bad French accent that was nigh-on-impossible to watch without having fingers to hide behind.

The CGI was uninspired and shoddy, the fight sequences were boring and hard to watch and the so-called humour made me realise why these people were paid so much money in the first place – to buy their dignity and splash it on the screen. The ending was an insult to everything that had preceded it, the logic frequently dismissed in favour of expositional dialogue and the script was clearly (hopefully) a first draft they couldn’t be bothered to finish. For a series of films that started out very well, this was a terrible, terrible, terrible way to end them.

Of course, it made $800 million at the box office so who gives a fuck if it’s any good? Not the studio or filmmakers who must be swimming in their Scrooge McDuck pools of money and laughing at the gullibility of the global audience. The whole film was a fucking insult.

Friday Night With Jonathan Ross

April 30, 2007

Jonathan Ross 

Let’s face it, Friday night telly can be a bit of a strange beast. It tries to appeal to the widest cross-section of the country on the bizarre theory that those who don’t choose to get arseholed in the local pub would like nothing more than juvenile celebrity based entertainment as a way to unwind. Thankfully things right now aren’t as bad as during the Autumn run when we have to contend with the reprehensible ‘Friday Night Project’ – a show so irredeemably awful that every week I have to sell my television on the off-chance I might catch a few seconds of national fucktard Justin Lee Collins, and his partner in setting back in the cause of gay rights by a decade Alan Carr.

Right now Peepshow fills that slot. This is a show I used to like very much, and to a certain degree still do, but since the godawful ‘Mitchell and Webb Look /Experience / Endurance’ I’ve found it very hard to watch. In hindsight, I should have chosen that programme as it’s still one of the best written things on TV, but the popular rule of the house this week chose Jonathan Ross and who am I to go against the tide?

No-one does the chat show quite like the Americans – overlong fillers for the commercial breaks they may be, but they are anchored by genuine talents and personalities like David Letterman. Over here we have sexual tyrant Jonathan Ross, a man severely lacking the fundamentals of what it takes to be on TV – charm, wit and an approachable demeanour. Quite how this fame pervert rose to the enviable position of the BBC’s flagpole presenter is beyond me – his lucrative contract being the equivalent of executives dancing round the public rubbing the licence fee cash over their naked bodies.

Last night’s edition followed the usual formula; Ross comes out in a bad suit, makes homophobic jibes masked as good-natured-ribbing to his in-house band Four Poofs and a Piano and then moves onto introducing his guests. Normally the running order of chat-shows is dictated by the relative fame of the guests – lesser-known hasbeen first, homegrown favourite second, huge star third. The whole point of this order is to keep the audience watching until the end, to make them sit through the boring stuff until they get to the megastar.

Not this time, though. The main guests were phone slapper Toby Maguire and tit-slipper Kirsten Dunst from Spiderman 3 and the booking deal that came with them clearly dictated they go first – there was no way Sony were going to let potential cinema-goers turn off half way through the scatty ramblings of Sarah Brightman before having had maximum exposure to their product. And so these Hollywood stars were churned out first, and forced to endure the constant masturbation jokes, arse-licking behaviour and out-and-out vanity of Ross in the name of movie-promotion.

It is at this point that a new form of celebrity death-match was invented. Instead of brutal plasticine violence, we had a competition to see who could present themselves as more bored, uncaring and indifferent to the task at hand. I felt kind of sorry for Maguire and Dunst, truth be told, as they were clearly slapping on a plastic smile and trotting out the same old shit on what is, to them, another in a long line of publicity appearances. That said, it’s hardly any justification for the frigid behaviour and lack of will to say anything other than thee movie’s press release.

All three were odious people; Maguire as closed off and cold as a corpse, utterly disinterested in anything other than fulfilling his contractual obligation to be there. Dunst looked like a strung out crack whore, all bones and a perm and giggling like a three year old with mental problems. Ross was his usual charmless self, convinced that self-deprecating humour wavered any thoughts of homophobia, misogyny or sexual obsession. The interview was a self-fulfilling prophecy of mistrust, cliche and banality with Ross’ questions so insipidly basic that they could only have come from the contract with Sony, and the stars’ answers a rehearsed informality which far exceeded patronising.

When Ross deviated from the promotional details Maguire and Dunst clammed up, visibly concerned that Ross’ only interests were Maguires masturbation habits and the colour of Dunst’s hair. One 30-second sequence saw the majority of questions burnt out with a succession of one word answers and uncomfortable pauses, and the only telling moment came when Ross asked Dunst how she dealt with promoting films she didn’t care about and doing interviews she hated, “you just fake it” she replied. The audience applauded the honesty, Maguire looked shocked and Ross, missing the point entirely, simply held his hand out toward her and shouted “women, ha, women.”

The trailer shown, the film lauded as wonderful by Ross and their 10 minute obligation fulfilled, Maguire and Dunst scuttled off to supposedly spend the rest of the hour in the company of the confused audio mess that is Jamie T and his Hoxton support band. After a few minutes the camera stopped cutting back to their reactions, presumably because their immense fame meant they didn’t have to suffer through the rest of the show like the usual B-list celeb plebs forced to hawk their shit on Ross’ show.

Bill Bailey was reliably amusing, although confused as to why Ross kept insulting him in such an unnecessary way. Sarah Brightman was slightly insane but also very charming until the point she mentioned the size of Andrew Lloyd Webbers penis and her credibility dropped in direct proportion to the rise of bile in my stomach. The only truly entertaining section was the scales which tell you which celebrity you weigh the same as, Dunst equalling Fozzy Bear and Bill Bailey somewhere between Ricki Lake and Mr T.

Jonathon Ross is one creepy motherfucker. He isn’t nearly as clever, depreciating or ironic as he has convinced himself he is, and he reminds me of the sort of person that has to legally introduce himself to the neighbour when he moves into a new area. He is seedy, stalkerish and the sort of personality that makes you want to avoid him at parties. It’s about time the BBC dropped this outdated format and presenter and actually tried to make Friday night TV something other than a vacuous indulgence in one mans ego.

Next week I’ll watch Peepshow.