Cinepub


Review: The Ides Of March by Jamie

I fucking love American politics, especially during election season. They’re so much more ridiculous than the humdrum British politics I have to deal with. They’re basically just a massive spectacle, every candidate bending over backwards in order to please as many people with as many different views and opinions as they possibly can. You want to appease the anti-immigration crowd whilst also trying to attract a portion of the Latino vote. And there’s also the uncompromising religiosity (Christian religiosity, of course) that, if you don’t actually believe it, at least have to pay lip service to. “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”, indeed.

So I was quite looking forward to watching ‘The Ides of March’, the George Clooney directed film about Gov. Mike Morris (Clooney), his campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and deputy campaign manager Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) as they attempt to defeat Senator Ted Pullman (Michael Mantell) and his campaign manager Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) in the Democrat primaries and win Morris the Democrat nomination for president.

As you can imagine in a taut, political drama things don’t go as smoothly as planned. Morris is unapologetically liberal, leaving him slightly unpopular with moderates and deeply unpopular with the more conservative contingent in Ohio, a problem because Ohio has an open primary meaning that registered Republicans are allowed to vote in the Democrat election. Both sides are also hoping to gain the endorsement of Senator Thompson (Jeffrey Wright) who, with his 356 delegates, would be able to secure the nomination for either man. The only problem with this is that Morris deeply dislikes Thompson and refuses to capitulate to his demands in return for the endorsement.

That’s about all I can say about the plot without giving too much away. Suffice to say it is a well acted, well scripted and well paced political drama with the number of twists that you’d expect to see in the week of any average political campaign (See the current Republican primaries for examples). Does it, however, really say anything new about the political process? Honestly, it really doesn’t. Yes, it’s an entertaining film but the commentary it has with regards to the world of politics, it’s ability to corrupt and jade anyone who involves themselves in it for any particular length of time, is something we have pretty much all been aware of since the Watergate scandal if not longer.

Of course, this isn’t the fault of the film. Politics and power corrupts. What more can you really say about that world at this point? Does that mean that we should stop making political dramas at all? Well no. Just because it has nothing new to say doesn’t mean that The Ides of March isn’t a good film. I suppose if there is anything new that it brings to the table it’s that it makes the political process far more personal than I remember seeing before. So there’s that. Anyway, I highly recommend this film, especially if you love the tipsy-topsy world of American politics as much as I do. Four pints out of five. Laterz.

Advertisements


Review: Zookeeper by Jamie

I’ve never been a fan of Kevin James. I don’t find him particularly funny and I dislike the fact that he promotes the idea that average, overweight guys can get ridiculously attractive wives. Admittedly, this is something that has been going on since at least The Flintstones but Kevin James is not part of the solution and therefore he remains part of the problem. Also, he’s in some terrible, terrible films. Like proper shit. So it was with some trepidation that I decided to sit down and watch his latest effort, Zookeeper. That trepidation was well placed.

It’s basically the typical story of a guy who breaks up with his girlfriend, remains obsessed with her and enlists the help of his friends in order to try and get them back including a woman who agrees to help him but eventually falls in love with him herself. What’s so special about this particular iteration of this story? Well, apart from the girl, all of the friends who try to help him out are animals at the zoo where he works! Hilarity.

The animals are portrayed by a host of celebrity voices such as Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler and others and stuff. It really doesn’t matter because all they are really there for is to basically try and get Kevin James to act like their particular species in order to attract his mate. Yes, the man joke running throughout this film is that “Hey! Animals behave differently than to what people do! Could we possibly make a film out of that and stretch it for an hour and forty minutes by slapping it around some tired romantic comedy subplot? We can! Brilliant! Might as well print our own money!” Yeah, that’s how I think the pitch for this movie basically went.

Seriously Hollywood. I’m fed up of this shit. This is basically the ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ of talking animal/romantic comedy movies. Take two tired, old film premises, stick them in a blender and shoot. How many times have we seen a film where animals can talk to people? How many times have we seen a film where a man wants one woman only to realise the close friend was the woman for him all along? I want some goddamn fucking originality. Even if you have to rehash something, you can still make it awesome. Just look at ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’. An awesome film based on a concept which had been all but ruined by Tim Burton.

I guess I could say one thing was kinda funny. The opening scene where Kevin James goes to all the trouble of trying to make his proposal as romantic as possible only to have her reject him. That did make me chuckle. Slightly.

I really can’t be bothered to talk about this pile of wank anymore. Don’t watch it. Not even if your curious. If you see the DVD in the store, throw it on the ground, stamp on it and then punch the store employee who tries to throw you out in the face whilst screaming “I’m just doing my part for the good of mankind!” To sum up, it’s bad. Half a pint out of five for that opening scene and nothing else.



Documental: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey by Jamie

I never used to get on with Elmo. Like many people who watched old school Sesame Street I felt that he overshadowed some of the shows core classic characters and was generally pissed off with the little red monsters dominance over all aspects of the Street’s merchandising and marketing but I will admit that my impression of the character has softened recently mainly because of videos like this one:

What further helps to soften my image of my once most hated Muppet is the documentary I just watched, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, a film that covers the life and career of Kevin Clash, the man who would come to voice and perform the titular character. I shall not try to be spoilery in my review although it’s generally difficult to spoil a documentary unless it’s something like ‘Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father’. Anyway, on with the review.

Kevin Clash grew up in a relatively poor area in Baltimore and from a young age he found himself obsessed with puppets and puppetry. He used to sit glued to the television watching Captain Kangaroo and when, at age 9, Sesame Street came on the air that his obsession really took off and by age 10 he had built his first puppet out of his father’s best coat.

Kevin’s obsession grew and grew and he soon had a catalogue of eighty-five puppets and was performing shows in the local area, first for his mother’s day-care class and eventually schools. This led to him being teased by his fellow high school classmates but rather than be discouraged, he stuck at it, doing the thing that he loved no matter what anyone else said. He caught the eye of a local TV producer and soon got his first big break in the world of local television and the name calling soon turned to admiration and he was voted most likely to become a millionaire in his high school year book.

Kevin perfected his puppetry by mimicking the actions he saw on Sesame Street, learning to make a puppet move as though it were a real, living human being and he learnt to make the puppets themselves by watching as many specials by Jim Henson on the subject as he could. He finally got to meet one of his heroes, Kermit Love (Muppet building Master), on a school trip to New York and he helped the young man perfect his craft. It wasn’t long until Clash was attracting the attention of Henson himself and the rest is red felt covered history.

The film obviously goes into a lot more detail with regards to Clash’s life and career but I’ll leave the rest of that for you to discover for yourself. What I will say is that it a surprisingly inspirational and moving story for being about a man who performs a child-voiced Muppet. There were a number of occasions when I did feel tears welling up in my eyes, notably when discussing his work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the discussion of Jim Henson’s death (including clips from Henson’s memorial which always makes me a bit weepy). It also makes you feel like a little kid again, especially when you see the kids meeting Elmo and largely just ignoring the fact that there is clearly a man standing behind, operating him. They just fixate on the puppet as if nothing else in the world matters and their faces light up and you get to share in that sense of wonder too.

It is seriously the perfect film to watch at the beginning of a New Year, an inspirational tale of a man who had a dream, stuck to it, achieved it and even managed to go on to continue the spirit of his hero. If I have any criticisms it’s that the film’s a little short at around one hour and fifteen minutes and there’s no mention of the TV show Dinosaurs which I loved… Although Clash did play the series most annoying aspect, Baby Sinclair. Despite these factors, I’m going to give this film five pints out of five just as it’s given me a new appreciation for Elmo and what he’s really all about.



Review: Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked by Jamie

The film series that seems intent on completely and utterly retarding the way that movies are titled continues with this latest entry, Chipwrecked. I can’t help get the feeling that a committee was put together when it came to creating this film and the first point on the agenda was coming up with a stupid pun title and then creating a plot based on said pun. Thus we have the incredibly annoying story of six incredibly annoying chipmunks stuck in an incredibly annoying plot contrivance because the main aim of these films seems to be to do nothing more than annoy the shit out of everyone who might accidentally see them.

So, in case you hadn’t guessed from the title, the main point of this film is that the Chipmunks and the Chipettes find themselves stranded on a desert island and they have to find a way to survive and get off of it and find Dave and for the good sweet sake of fuck does it actually matter? There’s shit to be done out there in the real world and I’m sitting here writing about the third film in a series about musical rodents. Where did I go wrong in life?

See at this point in the series the pain is physical, mental and liable to cause an existential crisis. Seriously, who the fuck actually sees these films (apart from me) that they actually warrant a trilogy? Who the hell are these films even aimed at? The legally brain dead? Rocks? Especially stupid single celled organisms? Certainly not children because a film aimed at children wouldn’t spend quite a bit of it’s plot referencing ‘Castaway’, an eleven year old film that I would go out on a limb and say that absolutely none of it’s supposed target audience has ever seen.

So what magic does this entry in the series bring to the table? Well, we get to see David Cross in a pelican costume. That’s… something. And Simon, the sensible, responsible chipmunk is bitten by a spider whose neurotoxin causes him to think he is a suave, adventurous Frenchman. I may not be a neurotoxicologist but I’m fairly certain that neurotoxins don’t work that way. He is also cured of his affliction near the end of the film with a bump to the head which, again whilst not a neurotoxicologist, I am pretty fucking sure isn’t the cure to being infected with neurotoxins. This turn of events also leads to Alvin rejecting his mischievous ways and taking on the role of the responsible one and we all learn an important lesson about blah blah blah. Fuck this movie.

There’s also a kooky woman who the tiny annoyances meet who has been stuck on the island for eight years. She starts out being quite friendly, if somewhat bats hit insane, but it is later revealed that she is only the island be cause she is trying to find a hidden treasure. In the end it turns out only the chipmunks can reach the treasure and so she kidnaps one of them and forces them to gather it for her as the island becomes volcanic and begins to erupt. She eventually see the error of her ways and we all learn an important lesson about blah blah blah. Fuck this movie.

So yeah, the final scene is everyone coming together to escape the island before the volcano completely destroys it. Of course, in real life no one would be stranded for very long because that island would be swarming with scientists studying the island as it gets ready to erupt. Am I making to much out of the unrealistic nature of a film about six singing chipmunks? Yes. Yes, I most certainly am but these films have driven me literally to the brink of madness and what else am I supposed to do? Write about the plot in detail? That way lies even more madness, a madness from which I fear I would never be able to escape and do you really want that on your conscience? Well, I don’t care if you do or not because it’s an avenue I simply refuse to go down.

In summation, this trilogy of films is a massive cinematic triplets of abortions. They rank with the Transformers films as some of the worst things mankind have ever done to film. Hollywood needs to go to a therapist and show them on the doll where the Chipmunks touched it. I think you get my point. So this film gets zero pints out of five. It has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. If you take you’re children to see it, you are a terrible parent and should have them taken away. And next time I see a rodent, I’m stamping on it’s stupid tiny head and crushing it’s brains with it’s own skull. Unless it’s a chipmunk. I shall kill them slowly to make sure they suffer. Laterz.




%d bloggers like this: