Cinepub


Holy Moly: Left Behind: The Movie by Jamie

It is my understanding that Kirk Cameron was once in an American TV show called ‘Growing Pains’ which, as far as I can tell, never played in the UK and for good reason. Just watching a video of the theme tune makes it seem as though it’d be a sickeningly sweet show were people have feelings and learns an important lesson. I could be wrong. It could all be about a serial killer who kills people by stretching them on a rack and his struggle to keep his family in the dark about his secret life. Still, that saccharine shit doesn’t really play over here in the UK. We prefer miserable or slightly dodgy characters in miserable or bizarre situations. Just look at some of our most popular sitcoms. Only Fools and Horses, One Foot In The Grave, Blackadder, Red Dwarf and Fawlty Towers. None of them have a sickeningly sweet character in them. The closest you’d really get is Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses but even he is pretty much a complete arsehole though his heart is often in kind of the right place.

Anyway, that got away from me a bit there. My point was I didn’t really become aware of Kirk Cameron until he started using TV and the internet to minister using his Way of the Master program or whatever the hell it is. I came to enjoy Kirk, not because he opened my heart to Jesus but because he was clearly a bit mental. Hell, he appeared in a number of my favourite YouTube videos such as ‘The Atheist’s Nightmare’.

Yes, it’s wonderful that God designed the banana so perfectly for human consumption. Except, of course, God didn’t make the banana that way. Man did through the same kind of guided evolution that we used to create domesticated animals and grains. Still good try. Also what if you don’t like bananas? What if you like pineapples? Does God hate you? Anyway, that’s all beside the point. My point is that I already had a pretty low opinion of Kirk Cameron (though his recent statement that jumping to the conclusion that all those birds falling out of the sky meant it was the end times was ridiculous raised it a little) before I decided to give this film a watch, but hey, I hadn’t seen him act so who knows? Maybe he’ll be good.

Well, he isn’t though I honestly couldn’t say if it’s because of the terrible script or just him. The movie is set at the beginning of Armageddon, the time that some Christians believe will signal the end of the world and the return of Jesus or something. It begins with all the believers being called up to heaven leaving their clothes behind and a bunch of confused people who have to clean up the mess caused by their sudden disappearance. Seriously, cars crash when their holy drivers are called away to paradise and all other manner of accidents occur. It’s a lot to clear away for us simple non-believers. Yeah, thanks for that God. Asshole.

Still, the film begins a little before that. We meet Buck (Kirk Cameron), the world’s most awesome reporter as he’s interviewing an Israeli scientist, Chaim Rosenzweig, about his miracle breakthrough in strains of wheat that will grow practically anywhere! Of course, two evil members of the evil UN want to get their hands on the wheat hoping it will lead to world peace and world unification and so it’s a bad thing in this particular film. The evil UN members basically bribe the scientist by promising that if he gives them the formula for the wheat, they’ll rebuild the Temple of Solomon in Israel, which they are apparently unaware is another sign of the end times. In doing this they’ll control the world’s food supply and therefore profit. Oh, evil UN members! Is there nothing you’ll do to unwittingly bring about the end of humanity?

Anyway during this interview a massive Arab air strike attacks Israel. Buck and Chaim escape to what seems to be an Israeli War Room which is out in this random patch of desert for some reason. Suddenly the jets start randomly exploding completely by themselves. Buck goes outside to report on these events and an old guy comes and babbles about something bibley.

There’s also this secondary plot about this pilot and his family. His wife’s a believer so she get’s raptured along with his son because children are all innocents in the eyes of God or something. So he’s left with his daughter who I think is a Christian’s idea of what a rock chick looks like. She has a nose piercing you see! Holy crap! I wouldn’t be surprised to find out she’d also done the pot! Anyway Buck meets the pilot on a plane whilst the rapture occurs and… Oh, Jesus fucking Christ. It’s so incredibly dull! Ugh, come on. Just push on.

So Buck goes and begins to uncover the truth behind the scriptures and the predictions of the bible whilst the pilot comes to terms with his wife and son’s disappearance, coming to terms with his own lost faith. Buck also finds out about the conspiracy regarding the special wheat and goes to the UN to try and save Chaim from making a terrible mistake. The new leader of the UN, Nicolae Carpathia, is outraged that the two evil UN members, who were apparently his mentors, where behind this evil scheme. He calls a meeting of the UN or something and Buck is brought in to watch because Carpathia wants him as his new media minister or something. Ugh… Not long now.

Anyway, Carpathia kills the shit out the two evil UN members in front of everyone else but then seems to erase everyone’s memory of it. Everyone apart from Buck’s because, you know, he’s awesome and that. Carpathia also announces that this will be the beginning of seven years of world peace which is the same amount of time that some Christians believe there’ll be troubles on Earth before Christ returns. Oh, and Carpathia is the Anti-Christ.

So there, you go. That’s Left Behind: The Movie. I haven’t read the book so I can’t compare it to that but I can say that it’s a pretty goddamn terrible film. It looks like it was made for television by someone who really, really fucking hates television. Like hated it so much that they wanted to punish it by making it appear on it’s screen. But no, apparently this thing was released in actual cinemas and watched by actual people. I mean… fuck.

There are a number of things I could say. I could go into how poorly written the thing is. Characters introduced without any earlier mention only to provide an ‘exciting’ thing to push the story forward. The terrible, terrible dialogue. For example, I’m fairly sure that if people suddenly disappeared, the people left behind wouldn’t watch their language quite as much as they do in this. For fuck’s sake people say heck instead of hell! Millions of people have just vanished and people are saying heck? It’s a world inhabited by Ned Fucking Flanders’! How the hell did anyone get Left Behind? Aside from that, the dialogue is just stilted and unnatural and often crammed uneasily with characters telling other characters that the bible is awesome or Buck is awesome.

I could mention the slightly smug attitude that characters have towards other nationalities or religions. It’s never expressly stated but you get the impression that everyone kinda looks down on the Jews or the Arabs in this film, happy in their security that, even though this is a work of fiction, they’re all good Christians who’re getting raptured right up to heaven when this shit goes down for real. I could go into the fact that the writer’s of this shit seem to have a bizarrely over-inflated notion of just how powerful the UN is. You honestly think they’re going to take over and create a one world government and end all war forever and ever? They couldn’t even stop the invasion of Iraq. The UN is a bunch of people sitting around and bickering with no real power to stop any major world power from doing what ever it wants. Seriously though, is a one world government such a terrible thing? Seemed to work out pretty well in Star Trek. Once we’d sorted out all the world’s problems and gotten together as brothers and sisters we could address the very pressing issue of finding hot alien women and fucking them. How is that not awesome?

I could even go into how terrible the acting was. Again, I’m not sure if it’s just because of the terrible script or the fact that these people have no acting chops. It was just awful. In fact, the only guy I really liked was the Anti-Christ. At least he looked like he was having some fun with his role. Everyone was just treating it so ridiculously seriously that it was laughable. As for the special effects, well, it was almost approaching “Birdemic” level during the initial air strike scene but this was made in 2000 or I assume a tiny budget so I have to cut it some slack. This movie was just painful to watch. Half a pint out of five for the Anti-Christ who, as I say, brought some entertainment to the whole horrible affair. Laterz.



Documental: Prodigal Sons by Jamie

Some may consider this review a touch spoilery but it’s really not to be honest. There’s stuff that may be considered spoilers if you haven’t seen the trailer I suppose.

Kimberley Reed is a magazine editor based in New York but she was brought up in Helena, Montana and is headed back there for her twenty year high school reunion and she’s excited if somewhat apprehensive about seeing her old friends. Part of this apprehension derives from the fact that she’ll be seeing her estranged brother adopted brother Marc who she hasn’t seen for a decade. There’s also the fact that the last time she was in her hometown her name wasn’t Kimberley Reed. It was Paul McKerrow

Yes, Kimberley was born a boy and had suffered with gender identifications for her whole life. In her school days as Paul, he had been one of the co-captain’s of the football team, was popular and had girls chasing after him. When he finally made it to San Francisco after leaving her home town she had the gender reassignment surgery that would make her into the person she would want to be. Marc, on the other hand, didn’t have such a privileged life, at least from his point of view. He was popular but he was also considered hyperactive during pre-school which caused him to be left back a year, putting in the same class as brother Paul.

He was popular enough but he preferred the partying life rather than buckling down and excelling at anything. Then at the age of twenty-one he was involved in a car accident which left his brain scarred and caused him to suffer from seizures. He underwent a couple of surgeries to remove the scar tissue but unfortunately this had other side-effects. Left with a damaged brain that affected his short term memory and ability to control his emotions, Marc began to dwell on the past and the sibling rivalry that he felt characterised it, feeling as though life had cheated him even though out of his siblings in his mind he had turned out normal (He also had another younger brother, Todd, who was gay). Combine this with said difficulty with regard to controlling his emotions and Marc would sometimes lash out, uncontrollably violently at those around him.

Another aspect of Marc’s life that caused him difficulty was the fact that he was indeed adopted. In his eyes, his siblings had another advantage because they were genetically related to their parents, meaning they should have had a better idea who they were. As for Marc, he was always left wondering just who he was supposed to be and just where his innate ability for the piano came from.

So it’s with all this going on that Kim decides to film her reunion and hopeful reconciliation with her brother. At first things seem to be going well but before she’s due to go home, Marc snaps and begins going on about the past and begins tearing shit up. Still, they do part on somewhat good terms, Marc feeling incredibly guilty about his inability to control himself. Some small ground has been made but it’s not really the reunion Kimberley had been hoping for.

Then Marc receives some fairly incredible news about his birth mother. It turns out that she was Rebecca Welles, daughter of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth. Yes, the man who had been jealous of his siblings’ genetic connection to their parents turned out to be related by blood to Hollywood royalty. He’s flown out to Croatia to participate in a documentary about his grandfather by Oja Kodar, Orson’s “soul-mate”. Still it seems that despite these sudden revelations about his famous relatives, Marc is still unable to let go of his past with his adopted family, particularly the brother who became a sister that he had envied so much growing up which causes Kimberley some embarrassment when he shows a picture of the three brothers as youngsters to the crew of the Welles documentary.

That night the siblings have a discussion and Marc says something that suddenly makes Kim rethink her life. He makes her realise that she can’t be true to herself as a whole person if she completely tries to erase Paul from her past. This sends her on a kind of pilgrimage to rediscover her past and confront the transition that she’d tried to bury deep inside herself. She goes back to San Francisco and visits haunts that she’d frequent both before and after her sex change as well as meet up with an old friend of Paul’s.

And so the film continues on but sadly, Marc’s behaviour continues to become more and more erratic and violent until it finally reaches a boiling point during a family Christmas and events transpire that end with his arrest.

I think that’s about enough of a synopsis there. What I can say about this documentary is fuck! It twists and turns like a twisty turny thing. Every time you think that everything might finally be resolved and this family might have a chance at something approaching normality something else happens! It’s truly a pretty fucking incredible story that I promise will keep you hooked from start to finish.

What amazes me the most is that I came to this film thinking it would mostly be about the son of Orson Welles’ long lost grandson, and when you look at Marc the relation is obvious, particularly when you see his nose in profile. There are times when there are sideways close ups of that you almost think Welles has been brought back to life somehow. The fascinating thing, as I was saying, is that I went into this thinking that that would be the most interesting part of this whole film but it turns out it’s actually a fairly minor part of the story in relation to everything else.

No, this isn’t the story of Orson Welles’ long lost grandson. Rather it’s the story of a family and the members of it struggling to find out their true identities, trying to find out just who they are and how they fit into this mental world. Hell, even when Marc finds out who he’s related to it doesn’t seem to change his identity crisis. If anything it’s probably the catalyst for his condition worsening. Imagine if you had grown up jealous of your seemingly superior brother only to suffer brain damage and feel as though you’re completely unable to fulfil your true potential. Then you find out that you’re related to one of the most revered men in cinema history and yet the news basically comes to late for this new information to really change who you are or who you can be. That would probably eat a person alive inside. Of course, I’m just speculating but that’s certainly how I’d feel about it.

All in all, this is a truly incredible documentary that I don’t think I can possibly recommend further. Find it and watch it. Five pints out of five. Laterz.



Documental: Winnebago Man by Jamie

I’ve said it before, the internet is probably the greatest thing mankind has ever created that isn’t directly responsible for saving lives. It allows for almost instant communication, instant dissemination and sharing of news and information and, of course, mountains and mountains of pornography. So much pornography. It also unites people across borders through that most simple of pleasures, the humiliation of others.

Yes, for every internet success there is the other side. For every internet entrepenuer who has amassed billions of dollars, there are those who have become the subjects of ridicule because clips of them that they thought would never see the light of day have become viral video sensations. For every Mark Zuckerberg there is a Star Wars Kid or, indeed, a Winnebago Man. Who is the Winnebago Man? Well, hopefully this clip will clear that up. It is most certainly not safe for work…

That is the Winnebago Man. That clip of outtakes from a 1989 industrial film for the Winnebago company would become a viral video sensation thanks to copies of the original video tape being passed around and eventually reach millions more with the invention of YouTube. It would also become something of an obsession for a film maker by the name of Ben Steinbauer who became determined to find the star of the clip, a man by the name of Jack Rebney, a determination which would give rise to the documentary ‘Winnebago Man’.

He begins his search by investigating a number of avenues. He asks around people who have passed around copies of the tape in the first place and some crew members who worked on the original film. On this journey he also investigates the effect that the viral video had on individuals and on pop-culture in general, including a number of references to it in movies and TV shows. He also investigates the effect that a viral video can have on the often unwilling subjects such as the case of Aleksey Vayner whose boastful video resume ‘The Impossible is Possible’ became a viral hit much to the humiliation of Vayner himself. He apparently even received death threats via e-mail. Yes, the viral video world is not for the timid, which is a shame because often the star has no choice.

But what of the Winnebago Man? His obscenity-laced tirades certainly didn’t seem to indicate he was a timid man. Did he even know he was an internet star? Was he even still alive? After coming up with nothing but dead ends regarding Rebney’s current location, Steinbauer turned to a private investigator to hopefully shed some light on the subject. The PI found a number of post boxes in the man’s name and so the film maker decided to send a letter to each of them. Eventually, he got a response.

And so he got his chance to meet the man, the mystery, the enigma, the Winnebago Man himself, Jack Rebney. And he got to interview him and ask him what he knew about the video and all that. And he found Rebney to be an affable, charming old man, perhaps a little odd because he had become something of a hermit living alone in the mountains but other than that, a perfectly likeable older gentleman. So Steinbauer left after getting his footage, somewhat disappointed that even though Jack Rebney was still alive, it seemed as though the Winnebago Man was dead.

Then he got another message from Jack. In it he explained that he had basically put on a front for the camera and he was actually incredibly pissed off about his internet fame and the world he felt was falling into absolute disrepair. It turned out the foul-mouthed Winnebago Man was very much alive and so Steinbauer finally got his chance to meet him.

And that’s pretty much where I’ll leave the synopsis. I’ll just say that Jack is perhaps even more of the curmudgeon you’d expect him to be from the Winnebago Man clips. He’s sweary, angry and yet also strangely charming and seems able to switch between the two with the flip of a switch. His temper never really seems particularly malicious or at least not overly so. It’s just the way he reacts to the world around him. He views the fans of his outtake clips as a bunch of slack-jawed morons and can’t understand what they possibly enjoy about the video. This all comes to a head when he’s flown out to the Found Footage Festival in San Francisco and he’s brought face to face with his fans.

Now, Winnebago Man isn’t necessarily the most well made or most structured documentary in the world but I don’t think that’s really the fault of the film maker. I think it’s merely a side effect of making a film with a person like Jack Rebney, a man who seems completely unwilling to talk about himself or his past, for the most part, preferring instead to get his message about the evils in the world like Wal-Mart or Dick Cheney. He just seems like a difficult person to work with though ultimately a rewarding subject for the documentary. Throughout the whole film you can’t help but like Jack because, like I said, there doesn’t seem to be anything malicious behind his outbursts. That’s just who he is. The film also has one of the sweetest endings I’ve seen in sometime from a documentary and it honestly brought a few tears to my eyes.

If I had to compare it to another film I’d seen in recent times, I’d probably say ‘Best Worst Movie’ the documentary about the cult following of Troll 2 except kind of in reverse. In that film the main subject, George Hardy, is delighted by his fame and is eager to meet his fans. Jack Rebney, not so much. So all in all it’s an engaging documentary about an intriguing and interesting character but also a nice little study on this new world of viral video fame and how it effects their often unwilling or even unknowing stars. Four and a half pints out of five. Laterz.



Review: Black Swan by Jamie

There are some things in here which might, possibly be considered spoilers. Hard to tell with a movie like this.

Ballet. It’s a thing that people apparently watch and enjoy. I don’t really understand why. Seems to me that if you don’t know the story of the show you’re going to see then you’re watching a bunch of people dancing and prancing about on a stage. In essence you need to have the show spoiled in order to understand the show. Maybe that works for some people but as a movie fan it doesn’t really make much sense to me.

Still, I’m not gonna say ballet is the worst thing mankind has ever done. That is mime. Seriously, fuck mimes. No, I can see the artistry in it and understand the hard work that people put in in order to become really good at it. I’m sure the same could be said for mimes but I mean it, fuck mimes. I’m assuming that’s why people go to the ballet, to see the craft performed well by people who have worked hard to achieve that level of skill. Maybe the story doesn’t matter at all. Again, these are just my musings on why people watch it. I could be totally wrong and the story could be very important. In fact, it probably is. Hmmm, I just seem to be babbling.

So anyway, ‘Black Swan’, the latest film from Darren Aronofsky, features ballet fairly heavily. It’s the story of a young ballet dancer with an over-bearing mother, a demanding teacher and a talented understudy. Yeah, I know, it doesn’t sound that great but wait because there’s more. You see this girl, Nina (Natalie Portman), has a problem in that she’s incredibly reserved and always striving for perfection. She wants the lead in the ballet company’s latest production of ‘Swan Lake’ and whilst her reserved nature is perfect for the role of the White Swan she also needs to perform the role of the Black Swan which calls for a far more loose and sensual performance which the director, Thomas (Vincent Cassel), doesn’t feel she can pull off. Far more convincing for the role is Lily (Mila Kunis) who is exactly the kind of free spirit that Nina isn’t.

Still Nina gets the part even though she doesn’t seem to make much progress in becoming more wild and carefree. That is until Lily shows up at her door and takes her out for a night of wild abandon, much to the chagrin of Nina’s mother Erica (Barbara Hershey). They drink, they screw around, they take drugs, they apparently go back to Nina’s for a bit of girl on girl action… Yes, there’s a scene where Mila Kunis goes down on Natalie Portman. Five pints out of five. Laterz.

Ok, fine. There’s more to the story than that. Basically throughout the entire film there’s an undercurrent of a growing madness within Nina’s mind. It appears as though she’s had mental issues in the past, apparently a self-abuser in the form of scratching herself deeply on her back. This behaviour seems to manifest itself again and with it a new kind of paranoia. Is it the stress of the role playing out in her mind? Is it the dark side of her personality finally trying to break free of years of repression, finding a crack to escape through due to her trying to access it in order to successfully perform the part of the black swan? Whatever it is, the madness begins to show itself by her beginning to believe that she is physically transforming into a black swan, beginning with a rash near her scratch marks that resembles the skin of a bird, eventually growing to a point where she feels as though she’s growing feathers or her legs have bent backwards like those of a swan.

Obviously the film builds up to a massive ending that I won’t spoil here because you should probably go and see this film. I’ll say it’s a very, very good film, hell probably even a great film but it is not a perfect film. Yes, the performances are brilliant although there were times where Natalie Portman’s character was so pathetic that I found her to be a touch annoying and stretching the limits of believability. Still, the dancing is impressive as much as I, a man who knows practically nothing about ballet, can judge such a thing. It’s clear that both Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis spent a long fucking time preparing for this role.

The camera work is also incredibly impressive and features a number of techniques that you’ll probably recognise if you saw ‘The Wrestler’ and it’s clear to see that Darren Aronofsky considered making this a companion piece for that film. There are shots that follow the character from behind and there are shots that manage to focus on the character rather than the choreographed performance that they are giving (dancing in Black Swan and wrestling in ‘The Wrestler’. Yes, wrestling is largely choreographed) which gives you a sense of what the character is feeling whilst they do their thing.

And like I said as damn fucking good as the film is, it’s not perfect. There are times when it seems a bit slow, particularly to start of with, though it’s never so bad that you lose interest in what’s going on. There are also times where it pushes the boundaries of weird and yet at the same time doesn’t seem to go far enough. That may seem like a particularly odd sentence but it’s something I can’t really explain unless you’ve seen the movie. There’s also the ending which, without being spoilery, I’ll just say that I wish certain events had played out a little differently.

Finally my biggest issue with this film is a rather personal one so I’ll understand if you don’t agree with me. I have a terrible aversion to anything bad happening to finger or toe nails and fuck if there aren’t like a thousand separate occasions when horrible shit happens to nails in this movie. Ok, I may be over exaggerating that a little bit but still, there are times when I just couldn’t look at the screen. Again, I know it’s entirely my problem but I’m just saying, if you don’t like bad shit happening to nails then there are gonna be a number of times when you look away during this movie, wincing in pain and trying not to throw up.

Despite this, it is a really, really amazing film. I’m not suddenly gonna develop a deep interest in ballet or anything but I did look up black swans on Wikipedia for a bit. And seriously, if you’re a dude don’t let the fact that there’s a lot of ballet in this film. Things get seriously fucked up including a really fucking horrific scene involving Winona Ryder in a hospital. And don’t forget, Mila Kunis goes down on Natalie Portman. Still, I don’t think it’s as good as The Wrestler and I think a lot of that has to do with the main characters. Mickey Rourke’s character in that film is a genuinely likeable character who’s going through a hard time whilst Natalie Portman’s character in this is sometimes just so pathetic that I found it hard to sympathise with her. Overall four pints out of five. Laterz.



Review: Catfish by Jamie

I thought long and hard about whether or not to make this review spoiler free or not and, in the end, I came to the conclusion that not mentioning spoilers would make this film particularly difficult to write about so yes, there will be spoilers in this review. Due to the nature of this film I would heartily suggest that you go and watch the film before reading further. To make sure that you don’t accidentally read anything that will spoil the film for you, I’ll place a video underneath this paragraph.

Hahaha, that never gets old. Yes, there’s nothing quite as funny as a chimp sexually violating a frog. It’s true what they say, they’re so like us. Anyway, on with Catfish then. I assume that we’re all finally on the same page here, all having watched the film. If you decided to read on anyway without watching the film then I guess that’s up to you. I can’t stop you.

The film begins in New York when professional photographer Nev Schulman receives a painting of one of his pictures from Abby Pierce, an eight year old from Michigan. Nev begins an online friendship with Abby and, by exension, Abby’s family including Abby’s mother, Angela, Abby’s brother Joel and Abby’s older half-sister Megan who Nev takes quite a shine to as they chat online and via phone calls.

Nev’s brother Ariel and his friend Henry Joost begin documenting Nev’s relationship with the family, in particular his developing romance with Megan. It turns out that Abby isn’t the only artiste in the family and that Megan herself is quite the proficient dancer and prolific songwriter. She sends him copies of songs she has recorded and he is quite impressed. Impressed, that is, until he finds that the songs have pretty much been taking from YouTube videos. This leads to the guys investigating some of the other claims the family have made.

For example, Megan had claimed that they had purchased a gallery in order to hold shows for Abby’s work and had sent them pictures of the building. Through some online sleuthing they discover that the building is actually an old JC Penney’s which is actually still up for sale. Determined to find out the truth behind the story of the family, the filmmakers decide to head out to Michigan to confront the family.

The first place they head to is a horse ranch which Megan supposedly owns in the middle of the night, which actually turns out to be quite a creepy scene. Upon arriving they find that find that no one is there and there is certainly no sign of any horses. Furthermore an investigation of the mailbox reveals that it’s full of postcards which Nev had sent Megan on his travels proving once and for all that the British door-based letter slot is far superior than the American mailbox system.

The next morning the three guys decide to just show up at the family’s house. There they find that Angela and her husband doesn’t look anything like their Facebook pictures, Abby isn’t an artist, Megan is no where to be found and Angela is in fact a housewife who cares for two disabled sons and is the actual person behind the paintings. The filmmakers come to the conclusion that it is Angela who has essentially fabricated an entire life on Facebook, creating fictional profiles for a large network of family and friends and that she is, in fact, in love with Nev

Nev eventually gently confronts Angela about all this and the truth finally comes out. The last half hour or so of the film is spent basically interviewing Angela and her family in order to try and get some kind of handle of just who she is. It’s revealed through these interviews that she basically carried out the lie in order to vicariously experience a life she had given up on in order to have the family she has now. During most of her interviews, Angela is seen making a sketch of Nev. When everything is all over Nev returns to New York where he finally receives Angela‘s portrait of himself.

So yeah, that’s basically the film. And it’s a well told story with many interesting turns and twists and you never really lose interest but by far the biggest question surrounding this film is it’s veracity. Are the events pictured real or is it all an elaborate hoax. It does seem as though things play out so nicely that it’s almost unbelievable but I’ve let documentaries slide for that before, the fantastic ‘King of Kong’ being a good example.

Still, there’s something else that just drives me to believe that the whole thing is fabricated and that’s the way people speak, especially the three filmmakers. It just seems to me as though they are saying things that they had planned out and trying to make it sound natural. I’ll admit this could be simply due to the presence of a camera. I’ve seen people just talking about stuff and coming off completely differently simply because they are being filmed. Still, these guys just come off so unnatural to me that I have a hard time believing that the film is a true documentary.

There’s also a scene where they’re talking about chickens and apparently none of them knew that chickens lay one egg a day. Really? Are you shitting me? Who the fuck doesn’t know that? I know that they live in New York but surely they must have learnt that at some point in their lives. The whole thing, again, comes of as something written that they thought would be a wacky little conversation because seriously, I refuse to believe that there’s anyone who has heard of chickens that doesn’t know that they lay an egg a day. I mean Jesus fucking Christ!

Ahem. Whether or not the film is real there are a couple things that just rubbed me up the wrong way. The first is the unrepentant douchebaggery of the three main characters. They just seem so smug to me that I just found them genuinely annoying and I was kinda glad that they’d been played for fools. The second thing is the style of the film. Something about how heavily it relied on the internet imagery pissed me off as well. Yes, I understand it’s a documentary about people meeting and forming relationships over the internet but do I really need to see Google Maps every time they go travelling? And I swear this film had showed Facebook more fucking times than ‘The Social Network’ did. It just seemed as though they were saying “Look! The internet exists and we’re using it a lot in our movie! Aren’t we current and up to date!” It just irritated the hell out of me and I realise that’s more my problem than the films but still.

Despite these flaws, it is a interesting story, true or not, about the perils of relationships with strangers over the internet and one which is certainly relevant right now what with the release of ‘The Social Network’ and Mark Zuckerberg being name ‘Times’ man of the year. Yes, 2010 was the year of Facebook and ‘Catfish’ is another part of that. Overall I’ll give it 3 out of 5.



Review: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 by Jamie

Well the end is nigh for the Harry Potter series and it begins with this film, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ or Harry Potter 7 for brevity’s sake. Yes it’s been a long, strange trip with it’s ups and its down but how does this film fare as the opening of the close? Let’s find out.

So the basic story is that of Harry, Hermione and Ron roaming Britain trying to find and destroy the horcruxes that contain Voldermort’s soul and the effects that the Dark Lord’s return are having on the wizarding world in general. That’s pretty much it. It’s a pretty simple story and yet it manages to be complex in it’s simplicity. Wow, that might be the wankiest thing I’ve ever written.

Wanky or not, it’s true. The film manages to be both incredibly simple yet deep and complex at the same time. The biggest change from earlier films is that all of the action takes place outside of Hogwarts. Gone are the little whimsical touches that were littered throughout that school in general. Instead what you get is a far more realistically grounded film. Yes, you still have people using magic and that but there’s no keys with insect wings or talking portraits. It’s much more serious fare.

And with good reason. This is a very, very dark film compared to others in the series. For one thing, there’s a very fascistic overtone to Voldermort’s overtaking of the Ministry of Magic. The parallels are obvious with Nazi Germany. There’s a scene where they are actually creating propaganda entitled ‘Mudbloods And The Danger They Pose To A Perfect Pure Blood Society.’ So yeah, you don’t really need to scratch the surface too much to find the analogy.

What I am surprised by is just how far they’re willing to take everything for what is still technically a kids film. There are scenes of Hermione screaming as she’s tortured by having the word ‘mudblood’ scrawled into her skin, an opening scene where someone is killed because they promote the ideas of muggles and wizards ‘mating’ (as Voldermort puts it) and a beautifully animated sequence about three wizards and their encounters with Death himself. Beautiful but dark.

There’s been much talk about the number of scenes where the trio are just camping with some saying that the film is basically just that but I honestly didn’t feel as if that was dragged out at all. In fact the film seemed to be paced relatively well, perhaps a little slow here and there but not egregiously so. Still, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some problems with the film. For example, one of the horcruxes they find is a locket which, when worn, turns the person wearing it into a bit of a douche bag so my question is why wear it? Hermione had a magical Mary Poppins-esque bag so why not just keep it in there?

Importantly, this is also the first film where the story of the kids was the most interesting part of the film. In earlier instalments I found myself not really caring what the youngest generation of wizards and witches got up to, caring far more about the story of the adults. In fact I really wouldn’t mind a prequel that told the story of Voldermort’s rise to power the first time around and the death of Harry’s parents/ This time round, however, it was all about kids without much input from the adults at all and I went into the film thinking I might have some problems but the story was engaging enough that I didn’t really mind at all.

Still over all, it is a highly, highly enjoyable film. Just don’t see it if you haven’t seen the films that came before it because you really do need to know the story up to this point in order to follow it. I also have to say I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children, no matter how much they beg. Seriously, that scene with Hermione screaming continuously for what seemed like forever was almost too much for me and I like dark shit. Oh and thank fuck there’s no fucking Quidditch. That’s gotta make it one of the best in the series so far. Anyway, overall 4 pints out of five. Laterz.




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