Cinepub


Last Year In Film: The Visitor by Jamie

Well I managed to survive the first round of Razzie nominations and it certainly feels good to get back to films with a certain touch of class about them after the likes of ‘Disaster Movie’ and ‘The Love Guru’ and it turns out that ‘The Visitor’ is a very fine film to come back to quality cinema with.

Now I must admit that I had heard about this film some time ago but then I completely forgot about it and, when I came to seeing this I had absolutely no idea what it was. I’d kinda hoped it might have been some kind of sci-fi alien film kinda thing. Or maybe something about a time traveller from a dystopian future. That’d be cool. But as the film went on I remembered what I’d heard about it and realised what it was and I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I haven’t seen a good sci-fi film since District 9 and that was just over a week ago now. Still I pressed on and watched the film. And wow, was my disappointment completely unfounded.

The story is that of a lonely widowed college economics professor, Walter, who travels to his old apartment in New York in order to present a co-authored paper at a conference only to discover a an immigrant couple living there. Now in the beginning of the film Walter is a, well he’s not exactly a mean man, more an indifferent man, a man who views other human beings in the same way he might view an unfamiliar dog or perhaps a shifty eyed cat. Damn unfamiliar dogs and shifty eyed cats. Unfamiliar dogs and shifty eyed cats killed my parents. True story. Except it isn’t.

Anyway Walter’s life is pretty much turned upside down for the better through the influence of these immigrants, in particular Tarek who begins to teach Walter how to play an African drum, invites him to watch him play at  a Jazz club and takes him to play in a drum circle at what I can only assume is Central Park because I don’t know the name of any other parks in New York.

Walter’s new friendship is threatened all of a sudden when Tarek is arrested at a subway station and taken to a detention centre as an illegal immigrant. Soon Mouna, Tarek’s mother, shows up at Walter’s apartment when she becomes worried that her son hasn’t contacted her in some time. Walter soon begins a friendship with her as well as he tries as hard as he can to get Tarek freed.

The film is steeped with messages regarding the changes in attitude towards illegal immigrants, particularly those of Middle Eastern descent since the events of the 11th of September, 2001. It portrays a rather aggressive Department of Immigration Control treating their detainees as little more than cattle, keeping them locked in a building with no outside area, the closest being a room with no roof. They also randomly move their prisoners to other facilities throughout the country or even have them deported seemingly on a whim without alerting their lawyers.

Despite this definitely being a message film it also has a great story which the message really serves as background for. At the end of the day the tale is about Walter and how his experience with Tarek, his girlfriend Zainab and his mother Mouna all affect his life and, in a way, teach him how to view other people as human beings again.

There are a number of times when the movie strayed dangerously close to being a feel good, mushy story and about an hour through I thought I’d pretty much figured out exactly what was going to happen only to be surprised when the story took a different route, one I certainly wasn’t expecting and that’s definitely a good thing.

The acting is superb with Richard Jenkins as Walter truly making the character and his development absolutely believable and Hiam Abbass is awesome as Mouna, portraying a strong woman who’s absolutely heartbroken at the fact that she can’t even visit her son for fear of being arrested herself and the fact that her sons situation reminds her of her husband’s own predicament as a journalist in Syria, arrested for an article he wrote.

Overall I give this film four pints out of five and I heartily, heartily recommend it. Watch it damn it! Laterz.



Last Year In Film: The Love Guru by Jamie
I’m not a big fan of self-help gurus, a bunch of people who, it seems to me, manage to convince people that the path to true happiness involves buying all of their books and other assorted products. So I thought I might get something out of Mike Myer’s film “The Love Guru” especially considering that one of the first jokes features his character Guru Pitka holding up one of his books entitled “If you’re happy and you know it, think again.” Excellent, I thought. This might turn out to be a fine satire on the whole self-help guru phenomena. Sadly I was wrong. What could have been a quite promising concept quickly descends into a string of sex jokes clearly left over from the Austin Powers movies.
That’s really the problem. If you’ve seen the first two minutes of this film, you’ve pretty much seen all you need to see of Mike Myers’ performance in The Love Guru and probably most of his good lines within the film. These first two minutes actually made me laugh a little but it all turned out to be a deception. It’s exactly the same formula as in the aforementioned Austin Powers series but somehow they managed to sustain themselves throughout three films, although they were becoming kinda stale by the third and were probably saved by the inclusion of Goldmember and Michael Caine as Austin’s father.
Unfortunately The Love Guru probably suffers from following those films but Myers really has no one to blame but himself. Of course people are going to compare this to Austin Powers, it’s filled with exactly the same jokes except this time it’s the fourth time round and there are no familiar characters to draw us in from the beginning. Speaking of reusing jokes from old films, there was one point in this film that really, really pissed me off. Pitka is sitting in a car with a hockey player whose relationship he’s trying to fix. The hockey player is bobbing his head along to some rap music when Pitka changes the radio station and Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ begins to play. Myers mugs to the camera before quickly changing the station. It’s almost as though he knew this film would be shit and was reminding everyone that he was in ‘Wayne’s World’ and at least that was awesome. Well, yes, yes it was awesome but it certainly doesn’t need to be associated with this cinematic abortion.
So what kind of jokes can you expect from the Love Guru? Well, there’s Pitka getting hit in the mouth with a piss-soaked mop, Pitka gets a broken pool cue shoved up his ass which he proceeds to sniff and merriment ensues, Pitka’s Indian house boy prepares a meal called nuts in a sling which consists of two nuts wrapped in dough causing them to resemble a scrote and the whole film pretty much culminates with two elephants fucking, a clumsy yet puerile sight which seems an apt metaphor for this film. Oh and lets not forget the hilarious running jokes like the hilarious Indian names such as Tugginmypudha, Cheddafrumunda and Hathasmalvena and increasingly poor book titles.
What of the rest of the cast? Well there’s the woefully underused John Oliver as the Guru’s agent named >sigh< Dick Pants. Seriously, John Oliver is a damn funny, funny man. I listen to his and Andy Zaltzman’s pod cast, the Bugle every week and it’s hilarious not to mention the fact that he’s one of the funniest correspondents the Daily Show has ever had. Speaking of the Daily Show, the film is somewhat saved by the inclusion of Daily Show alumni and star in his own right, Stephen Colbert playing a recovering drug addict hockey commentator. Even the aforementioned elephant fucking scene is saved somewhat by Colbert’s casual commentary on the incident not to mention a rather funny line early on in the film regarding an attack on Dame Judi Dench. Yes, Colbert may be the only person to walk away from this film unscathed.
The film also stars Jessica Alba who doesn’t leave much of an impression, Mini-Me, who annoys me so much at this point that I refuse to remember his real name or look it up, is there to provide midget based humour. Ben Kingsley appears as the cross-eyed, pissing and farting Guru Tugginmypuddha… Really, Ben? First Uwe Boll and now this… what happened to you, man? You used to be cool. Then there’s Justin Timberlake who, much like Matthew Lillard in Dungeon Siege, I can’t really be made at because he takes his character the French-Canadian, Celine Dion loving Jaque ‘Le Coq’ Grande to such an over the top extreme that he just kind of amuses you. Good for him.
There’s also plenty of cameos such as Jessica Simpson, Val Kilmer, real life guru Deepak Chopra, Morgan Freeman’s voice, Kanye West and Mike Myers. Yes, Myers actually had a cameo in his own film as himself. I can understand why some people called this film ‘utterly self serving’ though in the end it probably won’t do much to serve Myer’s career. Maybe he’ll do some more serious work. I honestly believe that there’s probably still time to change direction for him to avoid the unfunny path that Eddie Murphy has decided to take. Poor Eddie Murphy’s career. It will be missed.
There is one thing I will give Myers credit for, he does seem to have a knack for amusing musical numbers and in The Love Guru we are treated to sitar based versions of Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ and The Steve Miller Band’s ‘The Joker’. Maybe it’s just me because I certainly like the sound of the sitar and The Joker is one of my favourite songs of all time, but I certainly found these scenes watchable. And it’s because of these scenes, Stephen Colbert and Justin Timberlake that I give The Love Guru one and a half pint out of five.
Anyway, I feel I’ve certainly written far more that this film deserves so lets get onto the Razzie worst picture nomination round up. Did The Love Guru deserve to take home the award? Well, I can see that maybe people had higher expectations of this and were sorely disappointed when they finally saw it, especially considering the cast but honestly, I think you can guess which film I think should have won this prize. Yes, no surprises but I honestly think Disaster Movie should have had this one wrapped up. The only reason I can think as to why it didn’t win is that maybe the comitee deciding the result came to the conclusion that it really wasn’t a film merely a collection of things that happened which someone accidentally filmed and distributed.
So that is that then. I can finally go back to watching good films. Next category is Best Actor which has only two films that I haven’t already reviewed. Great. Guess I’ll be back to shit films before I know it. Huzzah.

I’m not a big fan of self-help gurus, a bunch of people who, it seems to me, manage to convince people that the path to true happiness involves buying all of their books and other assorted products. So I thought I might get something out of Mike Myer’s film “The Love Guru” especially considering that one of the first jokes features his character Guru Pitka holding up one of his books entitled “If you’re happy and you know it, think again.” Excellent, I thought. This might turn out to be a fine satire on the whole self-help guru phenomena. Sadly I was wrong. What could have been a quite promising concept quickly descends into a string of sex jokes clearly left over from the Austin Powers movies.

That’s really the problem. If you’ve seen the first two minutes of this film, you’ve pretty much seen all you need to see of Mike Myers’ performance in The Love Guru and probably most of his good lines within the film. These first two minutes actually made me laugh a little but it all turned out to be a deception. It’s exactly the same formula as in the aforementioned Austin Powers series but somehow they managed to sustain themselves throughout three films, although they were becoming kinda stale by the third and were probably saved by the inclusion of Goldmember and Michael Caine as Austin’s father.

Unfortunately The Love Guru probably suffers from following those films but Myers really has no one to blame but himself. Of course people are going to compare this to Austin Powers, it’s filled with exactly the same jokes except this time it’s the fourth time round and there are no familiar characters to draw us in from the beginning. Speaking of reusing jokes from old films, there was one point in this film that really, really pissed me off. Pitka is sitting in a car with a hockey player whose relationship he’s trying to fix. The hockey player is bobbing his head along to some rap music when Pitka changes the radio station and Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ begins to play. Myers mugs to the camera before quickly changing the station. It’s almost as though he knew this film would be shit and was reminding everyone that he was in ‘Wayne’s World’ and at least that was awesome. Well, yes, yes it was awesome but it certainly doesn’t need to be associated with this cinematic abortion.

So what kind of jokes can you expect from the Love Guru? Well, there’s Pitka getting hit in the mouth with a piss-soaked mop, Pitka gets a broken pool cue shoved up his ass which he proceeds to sniff and merriment ensues, Pitka’s Indian house boy prepares a meal called nuts in a sling which consists of two nuts wrapped in dough causing them to resemble a scrote and the whole film pretty much culminates with two elephants fucking, a clumsy yet puerile sight which seems an apt metaphor for this film. Oh and lets not forget the hilarious running jokes like the hilarious Indian names such as Tugginmypudha, Cheddafrumunda and Hathasmalvena and increasingly poor book titles.

What of the rest of the cast? Well there’s the woefully underused John Oliver as the Guru’s agent named >sigh< Dick Pants. Seriously, John Oliver is a damn funny, funny man. I listen to his and Andy Zaltzman’s pod cast, the Bugle every week and it’s hilarious not to mention the fact that he’s one of the funniest correspondents the Daily Show has ever had. Speaking of the Daily Show, the film is somewhat saved by the inclusion of Daily Show alumni and star in his own right, Stephen Colbert playing a recovering drug addict hockey commentator. Even the aforementioned elephant fucking scene is saved somewhat by Colbert’s casual commentary on the incident not to mention a rather funny line early on in the film regarding an attack on Dame Judi Dench. Yes, Colbert may be the only person to walk away from this film unscathed.

The film also stars Jessica Alba who doesn’t leave much of an impression, Mini-Me, who annoys me so much at this point that I refuse to remember his real name or look it up, is there to provide midget based humour. Ben Kingsley appears as the cross-eyed, pissing and farting Guru Tugginmypuddha… Really, Ben? First Uwe Boll and now this… what happened to you, man? You used to be cool. Then there’s Justin Timberlake who, much like Matthew Lillard in Dungeon Siege, I can’t really be mad at because he takes his character the French-Canadian, Celine Dion loving Jaque ‘Le Coq’ Grande to such an over the top extreme that he just kind of amuses you. Good for him.

There’s also plenty of cameos such as Jessica Simpson, Val Kilmer, real life guru Deepak Chopra, Morgan Freeman’s voice, Kanye West and Mike Myers. Yes, Myers actually had a cameo in his own film as himself. I can understand why some people called this film ‘utterly self serving’ though in the end it probably won’t do much to serve Myer’s career. Maybe he’ll do some more serious work. I honestly believe that there’s probably still time to change direction for him to avoid the unfunny path that Eddie Murphy has decided to take. Poor Eddie Murphy’s career. It will be missed.

There is one thing I will give Myers credit for, he does seem to have a knack for amusing musical numbers and in The Love Guru we are treated to sitar based versions of Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ and The Steve Miller Band’s ‘The Joker’. Maybe it’s just me because I certainly like the sound of the sitar and The Joker is one of my favourite songs of all time, but I certainly found these scenes watchable. And it’s because of these scenes, Stephen Colbert and Justin Timberlake that I give The Love Guru one and a half pint out of five.

Anyway, I feel I’ve certainly written far more that this film deserves so lets get onto the Razzie worst picture nomination round up. Did The Love Guru deserve to take home the award? Well, I can see that maybe people had higher expectations of this and were sorely disappointed when they finally saw it, especially considering the cast but honestly, I think you can guess which film I think should have won this prize. Yes, no surprises but I honestly think Disaster Movie should have had this one wrapped up. The only reason I can think as to why it didn’t win is that maybe the comitee deciding the result came to the conclusion that it really wasn’t a film merely a collection of things that happened which someone accidentally filmed and distributed.

So that is that then. I can finally go back to watching good films. Next category is Best Actor which has only two films that I haven’t already reviewed. Great. Guess I’ll be back to shit films before I know it. Huzzah.



Last Year In Film/Great Scenes From Shit Films Part 9: The Happening by Jamie

The Happening is a stupid, stupid movie. I don’t think anyone can deny that. In fact, it may just be the stupidest movie I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen Snakes on a Plane and Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. It plumbs the depths of dumb in ways that few films have ever done before and for that, M. Night Shyamalan deserves some credit. A few days before reviews for the film were posted online, M. Night said that The Happening was intended to be a B-Movie and I can’t help but call bullshit. If it was, why did he wait so long before revealing this fact? Why wasn’t it mentioned in any of the films advertising? Can you imagine if Grindhouse had been released under a different name without any attention being drawn to the fact that they were Grindhouse films? People would be annoyed and rightfully so… Though with the two films released under the Groundhouse title it is painfully clear what is going on even without any reference to it so maybe that’s a bad example. Sorry. Anyway, it’s pretty clear that Shyamalan intended for this film to be something more than a B-Movie and, when he got wind of the reaction to it, he decided to try and bluff everyone. Well, it didn’t work.

Once more, spoilers ahead. The Happening tells the stupid, stupid story of people all along the East Coast of the US mysteriously killing themselves for no apparent reason. It begins in New York in Central Park. People suddenly stop what ever they are doing, walk backwards and start killing themselves. What ever is causing this soon spreads throughout New York ending in a hilarious scene where builders begin leaping off of the building they are working on.

It’s in the next scene, in Philidelphia, that we meet Mark Wahlberg as Elliot Moore, the worst science teacher in the world. He believes in auras and mood rings and at one point, with regard to the disappearance of bees, he actually says:

“Science will come up with some reason to put in the books, but in the end it’ll be just a theory. I mean, we will fail to acknowledge that there are forces at work beyond our understanding. To be a scientist, you must have a respectful awe for the laws of nature.”

Wow, that is truly, truly awful. I can agree with the last sentence but everything before it is terrible. Just a theory? There is no way that a scientist would consider the meaning of the word ‘theory’ to be a guess. That’s the colloquial definition of theory. In science a theory must be based on observed facts and make testable predictions. It must have no equally acceptable or more acceptable alternative theory and it must have survived attempts at falsification. And what’s this crap about acknowledging that there are forces beyond our understanding? A scientists job is to explore those forces and try to understand them. In short, Elliot Moore should not be teaching anyone science. Still, despite all this, Mark Wahlberg is the best thing in this film. More on that later.

Anyway, the school principal, played by Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, closes the school early and Elliot and his best friend, Julian (John Leguizamo), decide to get the fuck outta dodge and get a train to Julian’s mother’s house in Harrisburg. They are accompanied by Julian’s recurring plot device… I mean daughter, Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez) and Elliot’s wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel, yes, she actually spells her name that way.) It’s hinted that Alma may have cheated on Elliot in some way and that she’s still lying to her husband about it. I hope that pays off well.

The train is stopped in the middle on nowhere because, as the train drivers say, “We lost contact… With everyone.” Wow, powerful stuff. Anyway everyone holds up in a tiny diner for a while, getting constant updates on the situation from the TV. This is also where the greatest scene in the entire film occurs. It is literally awesome. In fact, let’s make it a Great Scene From Shit Films entry as well. Ok, here it is:

(I’m sorry, I thought there was a better quality version of this scene on YouTube but I couldn’t find it.)

Fuck me. That dude got his arms all ripped off by lions. Thankyou movie, honestly, for letting me see that. At least you have a reason for existing. That’s more than most of the Razzie films I’ve watched for this segment. Let’s back to the story. Julian can’t get in touch with his wife on the phone and decides to go to Princeton to find her, leaving his daughter with Elliot and his missus. He get’s a ride in a jeep being driven by Dante from Clerks, though you never clearly see his face, his beard in the side view mirror is enough to give him away. Sadly, Julian never meets his wife because, after another hilarious scene which features a bunch of bodies hanging down the road in Princeton, air leaks into the Jeep and everyone becomes infected. Dante intentionally crashes the jeep, somehow managing to propel the person behind Julian over him and through the windshield. Julian survives only to get out of the jeep, pick up a piece of shattered glass and slice open his wrist.

Meanwhile Elliot and co. manage to hitch a ride with a hot dog obsessed botanist and his wife. The botanist doesn’t believe the official story behind what’s going on, that terrorists are behind the mysterious events. Instead he believes it’s plants, because all plants can communicate with each other and they’ve all evolved to want to take us all down a peg. This is, of course, blatantly stupid. Even if plant’s can communicate with members of their own species (and such communication is pretty much limited to releasing chemicals to warn others when they are being eaten so that the others can increase toxin production) they certainly can’t communicate with other species. It’s also impossible to assume that they all evolved this strange neurotoxin at once. Plant evolution works in exactly the same way as animal evolution. The smaller, quicker-breeding plants can mutate quicker whilst the large, slower-breeding plants mutate at a much slower rate, therefore there’s no way the trees and grass could all do this at the same time. Unless it was all part of some nefarious plot, the grass evolving this ability centuries ago and have since been waiting for trees to catch up. Now that they have, the time to strike has come! No… That’s too stupid, even for The Happening.

The group soon meets up with a few more survivors and they begin walking to a lightly populated town in hope of escaping the terrorist attack. They split into two groups, with Elliot, Alma and Jess’ group being in the front whilst the second, larger group follows behind. Suddenly, the first group hears gunshots and realises that the second group are killing themselves. Not only that but the botanist was right! It is the plants! Oh my god! This scene leads up to one of the moments that makes Mark Wahlberg the best thing about this film. He is hilarious.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Wow. Just wow. Throughout the film Wahlberg acts like this and it actually makes the film watchable. If not for him, The Happening would be a boring piece of shit with an incredibly stupid plot. I salute you Mark Wahlberg and your heroic mastery of the craft of non-acting or whatever it is that you’re doing.

This scene then leads into one of the stupidest things ever put to film. Did I mention this film was stupid? Well, what happens next is a scene wherein Wahlberg’s group runs away from the wind. Yes, there’s certainly nothing more exciting in all the world than seeing a bunch of people run away from the wind. And that’s pretty much the point where the film completely falls apart. Each scene is more ridiculous that the last. There’s sights you’d never thought you’d see like Mark Wahlberg pointing to a big house in plain view of everyone and shouting “Hey, there’s a big house.” Mark Wahlberg talking to a plastic potted plant, asking it’s permission to use the bathroom. We also found out what it was that Alma was feeling so guilty about. She confesses to Elliot that she and a co-worker went out for GASP! dessert and she never told him about it! Really? That’s it movie? That’s your big infidelity storyline? Fuck you movie. Fuck you. There’s an awesome scene of a man getting himself run over by a ride on lawn mower and there’s a crazy old lady who lives alone and doesn’t like it when people eye her lemon drink.

It’s while staying at this old lady’s house that Mark Wahlberg’s performance reaches it’s pinnacle, where Wahlberg truly reaches for the stars:

There’s something about this scene that makes it seem as though Elliot was planning to kill the old women, even though I’m pretty sure that never crossed the character’s mind. Maybe he suffers from a similar condition to me. I find it really hard to sound sincere when I say thankyou, even when I genuinely mean it. Maybe Elliot really has a problem trying to sound as though he’s not going to kill someone, even when he has no intention of doing so.

Anyway, the film culminates with The Happening not happening any more just as Elliot, Alma and Jess have to go outside. I mean literally just before. It’s so fucking stupid it makes me damn, damn mad. Anyway, Jess is adopted by Elliot and Alma, Alma get’s knocked up and a man on the TV posits that this was just a warning. We then cut to Paris where The Happening begins to happen again. This time, however, it only lasts a few hours as the French immediately surrender and France is soon ruled by trees. Sorry to any French readers but, well, who can resist?

So there you have it. The Happening was easily the most entertaining film I’ve seen out of the Razzie nominations, largely due to the hilarious performance of Mark Wahlberg. Seriously, without him this would have been an awful, awful film but because of him it’s just a stupidly fun bad film that gets two pints out of five.



Last Year In Film: The Hottie And The Nottie by Jamie

I can’t think of many films that have actually made feel physically ill. I can watch the most horrific scenes of gore-laden violence and not feel sick. There are times however that something pushes me over the edge and makes me feel a little bit woozy. One scene that sticks out in particular is the scene in The Fly when Jeff Goldblum is pulling out his finger nails. There, I just dry heaved whilst thinking and writing about it. Thankfully it’s just one scene. The problem is, you see, I have a major problem when it comes to nails and the disgusting things that can happen to them. Even talking about them can bring me close to puking. It’s weird, I know, but that’s just the way it is. Still, at least it was only one scene and the awesomeness of the rest of the film helped me to overcome it.

This particular film has a running joke early on involving the titular Nottie’s infected toe nail. I knew from the first time it was shown on screen that I was going to have a problem here. I could feel the bile rising in my throat and when the joke finally got to it’s conclusion, the toe nail flying off and getting stuck on someone’s lip, I had to pause the film and go stand by the toilet for a few moments, just in case. I didn’t throw up in the end but it’s still the furthest a film has ever pushed me towards it, so let’s just say I was in a pretty bad mood for the rest of it.

Ok, that’s that out of the way then. The rest of the film is pretty much the usual vapid, pointless gross out teen comedy with one exception. This usual, vapid, pointless gross out teen comedy stars Paris Hilton! And boy does she suck! I’ll give you a moment to insert your own Paris Hilton/Sex tape joke here. Ok, we done? Let’s move on. How does Paris Hilton keep getting work? Seriously?… Fine, insert your own Paris Hilton/Blowjob joke here. Let’s continue. Paris cannot act for shit. Every line she delivers is flat, with only the tiniest flicker of what might be emotion but probably isn’t. There’s also the problem that she’s playing a character who apparently cares about people who are less fortunate and less attractive than she is and I’m sorry but I just can’t but that for one second. And really? Is Paris Hilton that attractive? There’s something about the shape of her head which just seems odd to me. Also I’m a boob man and Paris is definitely lacking in that area.

Now to be fair, the rest of the cast were alright, nothing stellar but passable and there were a few moments when I couldn’t help chuckle a little, in particular when the main character comes to a costume party as Speed Racer complete with the Mach 5 around his waist. In general, however, this movie left me feeling kinda pissed off. After all, the main message seems to be “Hey, ugly girls, everything will be alright as long as you clean yourself up good, get your teeth fixed and get your mole removed. Then men will be able to look past your physical appearance and see the good person you really are underneath.” Still you can maybe give the movie a pass on this just because the Nottie is so ridiculously hideous and beleaguered with so many hideous physical problems that it becomes pretty goddamn ridiculous. You could maybe give it a pass but I choose not to. Fuck you movie. Fuck you. Damn, I wonder how many times I’ve used that phrase in these Razzie nomination reviews. Probably too many times. Still only two more of these Worst movie nominations and then we get to go back to the Oscar nominations. And really, how bad can The Happening and The Love Guru be?

So the rating. Well, it wasn’t as bad as Disaster Movie or Meet The Spartans but it was still pretty fucking awful. I guess I can give it one pint out of a possible five maybe just for the Speed Racer costume. Laterz.



Last Year In Film: In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale by Jamie

There are tales as old as time. Tales of bravery, of good versus evil, of kings and wizards. Then there are tales of people with plastic personalities, wearing plastic armour and fighting with plastic weapons against men in rubber suits who move as if there balls are always uncomfortably caught in their underwear. Uwe Boll’s In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is the latter.

I suppose I should begin by saying I’ve never played Dungeon Siege so I have no idea how faithful this film is to the game so there’s that. What I can say, however, is that I have seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy and my guess is that Uwe Boll has certainly seen them as well. There are shots, costumes and even an actor directly lifted from the fantasy epic and as you watch it, there’s something you simply have to admit. Uwe has some massive balls. For it does indeed take massive balls to so relentlessly rip off a series of films that everyone has seen, received almost universal acclaim and then stand back and still consider yourself a director of any worth. Yet Uwe does and he’ll fight you if you say otherwise.

Anyway, the films about Farmer, a man so called because that’s what he is, who must rescue his wife and avenge his son after an attack on his village by the murderous Orc hordes… Sorry, I mean Krug hordes. The Krug army is controlled by evil wizard Ray Liotta who is playing Saruman wanna-be Gallian. He has a base in a volcano, like Mordor and beneath it is a big lava filled foundry, like Isengard. This is where Farmer and his companions, Norrick played by Ron Pearlman and Bastian played by someone else, must travel to if he ever hopes to see his wife again.

Meanwhile King Burt Reynolds decides to fight this new menace by sending out his armies and stuff. He’s betrayed by his nephew Duke Fallows, played by Matthew Lillard. Oh God, I’m getting bored just writing this synopsis. Anyway, Farmer finds out he is Burt Reynolds’ son and true heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Ehb or something. Then Fallow kills the King and the armies of man join up with the tarzan-esque Elves who go on to assault the land that would be Mordor. Farmer kills Ray Liotta and all is right with Middle-Earth… I mean Ehb. Oh, John Rhys-Davies plays Merick, the kings Magus. Yep, somehow he got roped into this shit. Maybe he just really like getting payed to LARP or something. Oh one more thing. There are ninjas in it too. Make of that what you will.

This film wouldn’t even be in the so bad it’s good if not for two people, Ron Perlman and Matthew Lillard. Ron Perlman always brings a smile to my face, no matter what piece of shit he’s in. Hell, he was the best thing about Alien Ressurection. As for Matthew Lillard, well, what can I say about Matthew Lillard. His over the top portrayal of Duke Fallow is so fantastically awful that you can’t help but enjoy it on some level, though I guarantee not the level intended. Everything he does is terrible. He minces through scene after scene overacting to a ridiculous degree, his accent not helping at all. In fact it’s the accent he puts on which reminded me of another performance that made another bad film so bad that it was good, the heroically stupid role of John Travolta in Battlefield Earth, my own personal yardstick by which all other terribly hilarious performances are measured.

Unfortunately, Lillard isn’t in the film nearly enough during it’s two hour running time to make this really worth watching but I will say this for Uwe Boll. Terrible as this film is, he did actually manage to make a film. It has a plot, actors and direction. All of them terribly, terribly poor but it’s still more than you can say for Meet The Spartans and Disaster Movie. Well done Uwe, you get a whole pint out of a possible five.



Last Year In Film: Disaster Movie by Jamie

Oh fucking Jesus fucking Christ. What the fuck is wrong with the world? Why are things like this allowed to exist? Yes, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer unleashed two pieces of cinematic garbage upon the world in 2008 and whilst Meet The Spartans was a bad film it’s actually kinda watchable when compared with this entry in the _____ Movie franchise, Disaster Movie.

This film has absolutely no redeeming qualities. The jokes are shit, the performances laughable (though not in the way intended) and my world is a far, far more painful place having sat through it. And I have to live with that. I have to spend every waking hour of the rest of my life knowing that I spent an hour and a half watching this. No wait. It’s more than that because it took me three tries before I actually managed to sit through the entire thing. Each time I got about fifteen minutes through before I had to stop. So in essence I’ve spent two hours and fifteen minutes watching this piece of shit. I am a broken man.

And now I’m reliving it all again just so I can write this. Fine. Let’s get this the fuck over with. Remember all those trailers that came out in 2007/2008 for films like Hancock, The Dark Knight, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull? Friedberg and Seltzer clearly did because they inserted parodies of all of those films in this fucking film. They actually parodied films that they hadn’t seen yet. It’s ridiculous. As a result all the parodies of these films are just the character showing up and doing nothing or, in Hancock’s case, parodying one specific piece from the trailer itself. Well done movie. Well done. I applaud your creativity. Sorry, did I say creativity? I meant go fuck yourself movie. Go fuck yourself right to hell.

The rest of the parodies are pretty much the same fare that we saw in Meet The Spartans except somehow they’ve managed to take this time-tested method of spoofing pop culture and make it shitter. This film has even less respect for it’s audience. Where Meet The Spartans held your hand so that you could get each and every joke, this film grabs you by the fucking neck and rubs your face in the joke, whilst shouting at you “LOOK! LOOK WHAT WE’RE MAKING FUN OF! ISN’T IT FUNNY?!?! HAHAHA!” The whole thing is really rather tedious. “LOOK! LOOK! IT’S HANNAH MONTANA! SHE’S SHILLING THINGS EVEN AS SHE DIES UNDER A METEOR! ARE WE NOT EXCELLENT SATIRISTS?” I think you get the picture.

This film, for technically that’s what it is, almost makes me want to somehow stop all things from happening. Because as long as events occur, there will be things for these movies creators to ‘parody.’ Billions of years of evolution and thousands of years of civilisation led to the creation of these movies and for that reason alone I’m starting to think that this whole ‘Human Race’ thing was really a bad idea from the get go and we’d be doing the universe as a whole a favour by simply going extinct right now. And even if we don’t, something else may do it for us. After all, there’s the chance that these films are being beamed into space right now and that, some time in the future they will be intercepted by an otherwise peaceful alien civilisation who, as a result of watching them, come to the conclusion that existence would be a far better thing without these meddlesome hairless apes running around making shitty parody films. Well done Friedberg and Seltzer. You’ve doomed our species.

And what’s the worse thing about this damn movie? (If indeed anything can be considered worse than the impending annihilation of your species by pissed off extra-terrestrials?) The fact that they took something genuinely funny, in this case Sarah Silverman’s song ‘I’m Fucking Matt Damon’ and totally ruin it. Why movie? Why must you ruin good things with your dogged determination to suck so bad? I believe I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. Fuck you movie.

So that’s that then. Disaster movie is done and dusted and I’ll never have to watch it again but there will always be a part of me that is gone thanks to this movie, destroyed by it’s utter awfulness. I’m fairly sure that if you look into my eyes you’ll notice something is off, like a part of me has died in some way. So what kind of a rating can I give this film? I don’t think it really fits into our pint of beer scheme so there is only one way I can rate this. With the grand score of Unicum. If you’ve never experienced Unicum, one of Hungary’s national drinks, then you are exceedingly lucky. It is foul and so is this movie.



Last Year In Film: Meet The Spartans by Jamie

Remember when parody film was a phrase that didn’t send people with half a brain cell recoiling in horror? A time when films like Airplane!, Spaceballs and Monty Python and the Holy Grail strode the comedy plains and delighted audiences far and wide. Do you know why those films were so awesome? Because the filmmakers had a modicum of respect for their audiences. Yes, the humour was sometimes wacky and out of left field but they didn’t have to take you by the hand and explain the jokes to you. The joke played out and you either got it or you didn’t. Meet The Spartans, on the other hand, treats it’s audience as if they had their brain removed and won’t be able to understand a joke unless it’s made very clear exactly what is being made fun of.

Now, I decided to keep a list during this film of the times that I laughed. That list numbers five which I have to admit is more than I thought I would. Of these five times, fthree were light chuckles and two were what I would consider proper laughs. So well done movie for managing to get two full laughs out of me. I commend your efforts. These two times were when Leonadis holds the hand of the Persian Emissary and starts swinging it like a little girl as they walk and when the Spartans joined hands and skipped into battle singing ‘I Will Survive.’ Who knew I was such a sucker for men hand holding humour. That’s the problem with this film though. The only bits that I found funny were when they were in the context of parodying 300 without any real riffing on ‘popular’ culture and that’s really few and far between in this film.

For the most part this film is all about taking the piss out of pop-culture and this could probably be quite funny if one, they cut the fuck back on it a bit, and two, if they took shots at things that weren’t already self-parody in there own rights. Oh, what’s that Meet The Spartans? You’ve got a joke where Britney Spears is shaving her head, being a bad mother and flashing her vagina? Oh, what a witty commentary on modern society. What’s this now? A joke about Lindsay Lohan coming out of rehab and flashing her vagina? Truly movie, you are a jester worthy of the highest of praises.

Perhaps the oddest thing about this film is the credits sequence. The film came to an end whilst there were still twenty minutes left. I was confused. The film itself had only lasted about an hour, which was a small mercy but how could it have had so many people working on it that it would warrant a twenty minute credit sequence? Then, about halfway through the credits some more scenes started. Oh good, I thought, perhaps there are some outtakes. Even a shit film can have some pretty decent outtakes. But no. These weren’t outtakes at all. They were actually just extra scenes that looked like they’d been plucked from the film itself and just placed randomly in the credits. Why? What the fuck were the filmmakers thinking? Oh, wait. I guess they weren’t. They made Meet The Spartans after all.

So what of the acting? Well, it’s kinda hard to judge as I don’t think you can call what the people in this film were required to do acting. I will say this though, Sean Maguire as Leonidas and Kevin Sorbo as Captain do look as though they’re just trying to have fun with the stupid roles they seem to have found themselves in and as such I find it really hard to hate them both. As for Travis Van Winkle, who plays Sonio, well I can’t help but despise him since he was in that piece of shit Friday the 13th remake which so offended me.

Well, what more is there that I can say about this cinematic abortion? I suppose I have to give it a half a pint out of five just for making me laugh a couple of times. That’s a couple more than I predict for Disaster Movie. Still, I have to say stay away from this piece of shit. It’s pretty much repugnant and offensive to anyone descended from anyone who lived during the time of the Ancient Greeks.



Last Year In Film: Slumdog Millionaire by Jamie

As always, spoilers follow.

So this is it then. The big one. The winner of the best picture last year, Slumdog Millionaire. It’s a movie which has a hell of a lot packed into it over the course of two hours. There’s torture, romance, murder, poverty, gangsters, dancing and the quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? So did it deserve the awards, the hype, the praise? Let’s find out, won’t we?

The movie’s set in India, specifically Mumbai for the most part and tell the tale of Jamal Malik, his brother Salim and the girl of Jamal’s dreams, Latika, children born in the slums of the city who are all orphaned by a Hindu attack on their Muslim slums. The film follows their journeys over the years, joined at times, separated at others and all told by an older Jamal during an interview with the police. Why is he being interviewed by the police? Well, he’s currently on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? And he’s doing so well that he’s arrested after his first night on the programme after getting the penultimate question correct, accused of fraud because, honestly, how could someone who grew up on the streets and is currently working as a tea boy possibly know the answers to so many questions? He’s tortured by the police at first and when that doesn’t shed any light on the subject they decided to interview him and he relays that he knows the answers to the questions due to various events throughout his life.

And that’s a bit of a problem I have with this film. It’s a bit damn convenient that the questions are asked in a sequence that would allow his flashbacks to have a coherent narrative. Still, it’s a bit of a minor point especially if you buy into the underlying point of the film that everything that happened was destined to turn out that way.

Now, one of the phrases that got thrown about after this film blew up massively was that it was a feel good hit, a really uplifting experience and I have to call bullshit on that. Every time something good happens, something terrible happens either at the same time or a short time afterwards, Even the moment where Jamal is about to answer the final question is counterbalanced by his brother Salim, who has finally redeemed himself to some extent, being shot the shit out of. As for Salim there are times when he is so unrelentingly cuntish that he’s almost unbelievable as a character but again, it’s kind of a minor point and it’s kinda necessary to push the plot forward.

Still, that’s not to say it’s a depressing film, though many, many depressing things happen during it, such as a young boy being blinded by acid in order to make him a more effective beggar. I just feel as though the uplifting nature of the film has been a little overplayed.

There’s also a general sense throughout the film that India is a horrible, horrible place filled with slums, children living in dumps and being blinded by bastard orphanage owners and I guess I can’t say that it isn’t and it is genuinely rewarding when you see Jamal doing everything he can to get himself out of that world whilst trying to take Latika with him.

Damn, there’s so much going on in this film that I’m finding it hard to write a coherent review so fuck it, I’ll finish here. So, did Slumdog Millionaire deserve the Oscar? Well, it’s a very, very good film. It’s shot beautifully, excellently paced and the actors are all pretty damn good, except for some tourists who seem to have some very dubious accents. Still, personally I’d have given the award to Frost/Nixon which was definitely the film I enjoyed out of the crop of the Best Picture nominees. I‘d probably give Milk an award over this as well. Still, if I had to rate Slumdog Millionaire I’d give it four out of five pints and I still highly recommend seeing it if you haven’t.

So, that’s the Academy Awards Best Pictures nominees covered. Next I’ll be taking a look at the Worst Picture nominees from the Razzies so look forward to reviews of classics such as Disaster Movie and The Love Guru. If blog pages could be stained with tears then these would be…



Last Year In Film: The Reader by Jamie

A quick warning, spoilers ahead.

The Reader is the charming tale of Hanna Schmitz, who meets a fifteen year old boy, Michael Berg, fucks him over the duration of a summer and getting him to read to her before leaving him. Years later he becomes a law student and, whilst sitting in on a trial, learns that his former lover is a Nazi war criminal who is sentenced to life in prison for not letting three hundred Jews out of a burning church. Michael grows up to become a lawyer and Ralph Fiennes who is conflicted due to his love for a Nazi war criminal and a decision he made during the trial which potentially caused her to have a harsher sentence. In his guilt he records tapes of the books he used to read to her when he was fifteen. Using these tapes Hanna learns to read and write and begins to send Michael letters which he refuses to reply to. After twenty years Hanna is about to be released from prison and Michael is contacted and informed that he is the only person Hanna has been in contact with and that he has to take care of her. So he goes to see Hanna and is very cold with her. Hanna seems to take umbrage with this and kills herself. So there you go a basic quick summary and what a cheery summary it was too.

So, The Reader then. It’s the one film out the best picture nominations that I was probably the most dubious about. From what I’d heard the story sounded as though it could be a little slow and really not up my alley. In fact, I went into this film expecting to hate it. Well, I’m ready to admit right now that I was wrong. The Reader was a truly fucking fantastic film. The story was well paced and always managed to keep my interest. The acting was amazing and I was quite pleased to see that they didn’t go overboard with the German accents though this did seem to occasionally result in the accents slipping slightly, especially in particularly emotional scenes. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the appearance of my favourite Swiss actor Bruno Ganz as Professor Rohl, Michael’s law professor at Heidelberg University. If you don’t know who Bruno Ganz is then I suggest you stop reading this review, go and watch The Downfall in which Ganz plays Hitler during the final days of Nazi Germany and then come back.

The film’s fairly unique in that it’s the only film about the Holocaust that I can think of that deals with the horrific events without ever being set at any time during World War II itself. This provides a unique opportunity in that it really deals with German guilt after the fact and the feeling of the first generation born after the atrocities and the massive burden that they have inherited as a nation from their parents. This is particularly poignant from Michael’s point of view as he is so disgusted by the acts that Hanna has committed that he cannot bring himself to present evidence that may make her sentence more lenient, a decision that will leave him conflicted for the remainder of his life.

Perhaps the strangest part of this film is that Hanna seems to be far more ashamed of her illiteracy than the crimes she committed during her time as an SS officer. In fact she only ever hints that she feels even the slightest bit of remorse for her role in the Holocaust, leaving the viewer completely unsure of whether she’s remorseful or not. This makes her a character that it’s very hard to feel sympathy for and, perhaps to some degree, that’s the point. Maybe you’re not supposed to feel sorry for her. After all she was complicit in one of the most horrific events in recent history. On the other hand, you’ve also known her as a person for the first part of the film, before you find out about her past, and as such you’ve seen that she’s capable of love, kindness and understanding and you also know that there is no way she could have possibly written the report which leads to her harsher sentence. It pretty much leaves you as conflicted as Michael is himself.

So I guess all that’s left to say is was Kate Winslet deserving of her Best Actress award at the Oscars for this role? Well, I can’t really say yet as I haven’t seen the performances of the rest of those nominated yet, so it’ll have to wait until I’ve watched all of those but I will say that she is excellent in this film and it’s surely mostly down to her performance that you feel anything for what should be an unsympathetic character at all. It’s also worth mentioning the episode of Extras that Kate Winslet was in where she mentions that if you really want an Oscar than doing a Holocaust movie makes it pretty much guaranteed. Interesting stuff.

Anyway that’s about it. Over all I give The Reader four pints out of five.

Laterz.



Last Year In Film: Milk by Jamie

As a straight, white male I don’t think I can claim that I have ever been oppressed. In fact in the entire history of my people you might have to go all the way back to the Roman invasion of Britain to even attempt to make a claim of oppression and a fairly flimsy claim it would be too. What hardships our people faced when the Romans brought us roads, sanitation and mosaics. To be fair though, they did call us wild savages and laughed when we painted our faces blue. That had to sting. Bastards.

So it’s with some trepidation that I come to Milk, the story of 70s gay rights activist and politician. It’s the same problem with films about black civil rights. I can empathise with the people in these films, be disgusted by the actions of the oppressors and I certainly believe that every one is entitled to the same rights as everyone else, regardless of race or sexual orientation but as a member of the group who’s never really had to deal with fighting for our rights, I find it kind of hard to relate to these films sometimes. Not the fault of the films of course, just a circumstance of birth.

With Milk it was even more challenging because, in general, the history of the gay civil rights movement isn’t as extensively covered as that of the black civil rights movement. I could probably name you quite an extensive list of films covering that topic but for films about the gay fight for equality, I could name two and they are both about the same person, this film and the documentary that preceded it, The Times of Harvey Milk, and I’ve only seen one of them.

Anyway, on with the film. It opens with archive footage showing the police raiding several gay bars during the 50s and 60s before going onto the story of Harvey Milk, a gay man living in New York during the early 70s on the day before his 40th birthday. A chance encounter with Scott (James Franco), a younger gay man, leads them both to move to San Francisco for a change of scene. It’s here that Harvey first develops an interest in politics and a hope for the improvement of the lives of gay people in America.

After several unsuccessful attempts to be elected to the position of city supervisor for his district, Harvey finally achieves his goal and becomes the first openly gay man elected to public office. It’s at this point that he meets Dan White (Josh Brolin) a man who he seems to get on fairly well with at first and the men come to an agreement to back each other during votes, in particular White asks Milk to support him on preventing a mental health institute from being built in his district. Harvey changes his mind after finding out more details about the proposition and White becomes determined to oppose him at every turn, leading to his own political downfall. Meanwhile Harvey goes on to greater and greater things, successfully leading the opposition to Prop 6 which would have banned gay people and those who support them from becoming teachers which further deepens Dan White’s feelings of failure. I won’t spoil the ending but if you know the true story at all, and chances are you probably do, then you know what’s coming anyway.

So what is there to say about this film? Well, the performances for one were all brilliant. From Sean Penn to Josh Brolin (who I think I’ve liked in everything I’ve seen him in since The Goonies) to every supporting character. Each actor brings something great to their role, no matter how small it is. The big question is, of course, should Sean Penn have won the Oscar for best actor? Well, I’m still not to sure about that. I’m kinda torn between him and Frank Langella as Nixon at the minute. Penn definitely deserved to be recognised for his portrayal of Harvey Milk but there’s just something that Langella brings to the former President that I feel would have been equally justified had he won the award.

Perhaps the most important thing about the film is the impact it had on me. Well, it certainly made me appreciate the struggle of the American gay community during those tumultuous times and provided me with enough history to help me understand just why the world is the way it is today and the part Harvey Milk played in that. And the ending is incredibly touching, particularly when mixed in with the archive footage. Which brings me to another good point. Throughout the film the action is interspersed with archive footage from the time and it’s far, far less jarring than the faux documentary interviews in Frost/Nixon. That being said I still think Frost/Nixon just beats Milk by a tiny margin as a slightly more enjoyable film. All in all, I certainly recommend Milk and I’ll give it four pints out of five.




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