Cinepub


Review: The King’s Speech by Jamie

Royalty. As a British person I spend at least twenty-three hours a day thinking about it, even whilst sleeping. My morning begins by sorting out my pound notes by denomination and saluting the picture of the Queen on each one before singing the national anthem to the government issued poster of her that comes in a variety of different versions including a tasteful swimsuit edition.

As such it was my duty to go and watch The King’s Speech, a film about our current monarch’s father, George VI (Played by Colin Firth in the film) , who took over the position of King of England after his brother (Guy Pearce) abdicated the throne to marry a twice divorced American woman. The story of the film begins long before the abdication crisis, though it certainly plays a pivotal part in the plot, at the 1925 Empire Exhibition where the then Prince Albert, Duke of York has to give a speech at exhibition’s closing. Unfortunately the speech is a bit of a failure thanks to the Prince’s severe stutter.

After several unsuccessful attempts to try and fix the problem with various different treatments, his wife Elizabeth, the Duchess of York (Helena Bonham Carter) gets him an appointment with an Australian speech therapist by the name of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). The film then follows the two as they try and fix Prince Albert’s condition both through exercises and trying to get to the psychological root of the problem. It also charts the growing friendship between the two, overcoming difficulties together such as the aforementioned abdication of Edward VIII, the Prince becoming a King and just what such a position means in a time when the title doesn’t really denote any kind of real political power.

That’s pretty much all of the synopsis I really feel like going into because I honestly want to spoil as little of this film as possible. I know some will say that you can’t spoil a film based on a true story but fuck you. Not everyone knows the story. I knew elements of it like the whole abdication thing but I didn’t even know that George VI had a stammer so that was new. It’s not really the kind of thing that’s taught in history class.

So how was the film? Well, I was honestly surprised by just how much I enjoyed it. Everything just seemed to come together. The acting was of the highest order, though I’ll concede the fact that there were times when Colin Firth could have reigned things in a little bit better but that’s a very, very small criticism of an otherwise near perfect performance. It was certainly nice to see Helena Bonham Carter playing someone who wasn’t bats hit insane or just weird for the sake of being weird and Geoffrey Rush was insanely likeable as the Australian who started of as a simple speech therapist and became the friend of a King.

It was also shot and directed wonderfully as well. There are a lot of shots of people just talking without much else going on but that’s fine for me. I’ve always been someone who has valued good story telling over flashy visuals and this film was put together in exactly the right way for the story being told. Not that there aren’t some interesting things going on. There are two scenes in particular that stand out, one where Albert is talking to his brother about Hitler during a party and another when Logue and the Prince are walking through a park in an incredibly foggy London discussing the possibility of Albert becoming King.

Also I don’t if it’s simply because I am British but found the subject matter far, far more interesting than I thought I would. I’ve always been interested by history but when I first heard about what the film was about I’ll admit it sounded a bit boring but I was very, very wrong. It’s fascinating to see the days of Britain gone by, back when we still had the last remnants of an Empire, so-called ‘colonials’ were looked down upon somewhat and things in Europe were starting to take a turn for the worst. It was also interesting to see get a glimpse into the private lives of the Royal Family, even one from the past. Of course, some things are changed for dramatic or artistic reasons. For example I did think it was a bit odd just how involved Winston Churchill was during the films climactic scenes considering he wasn’t Prime Minister yet and, indeed, wikipedia reveals that he wouldn’t have been involved at all but he’s a historical character that the audience would recognise far better than most of the people who were actually there so I can understand his inclusion.

If I have one criticism, and to be honest it’s not really this films fault, it’s just how many good British actors have been involved with the Harry Potter franchise and therefore show up in this film as well. I suppose it’s not really a criticism but it was somewhat distracting and it just took me out of the film a bit. I mean you’ve got Dumbledore, Bellatrix and that dude who turned into a rat all in this film and yeah… I suppose it’s my problem, not the film. At one point I was half expecting a flash back to the King’s younger years where he was being played by Daniel Radcliffe or something. Again, just a thing that bugged me personally.

Oh, and one final thing before I forget, the film is very, very funny. A hell of a lot funnier then I was expecting but it also has a lot of heart and at no point is the stammer itself ever really used for a cheap laugh, though some of the techniques used to attempt to cure it certainly are. Well, not cheap laughs. Good, awesome and I assume expensive laughs or something.

So yeah, when all’s said and done, I really, really enjoyed this film and heartily recommend it to everyone. Everyone. And the Queen enjoyed it as well saying she was “touched by a moving portrayal of her father” so I am literally duty bound to give this film five pints out of five. Laterz.

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Zombie Month: Doghouse by Jamie

Kind of working with a touch of flu here so yeah, this isn’t my best work. Sue me. Also, slight spoilers ahead.

Any British Zombie comedy film, in fact probably any Zombie comedy film, is going to get compared to ‘Shaun of the Dead’. Hell, I’ve done it throughout several of my reviews already. It is the nature of things. Some of them come of favourably by doing something different or by being influenced by but not copying ‘Shaun…’. Others, well, others don’t come of quite as well against it. Doghouse is one of those films.

The basic plot is a bunch of guys from London decide to go on a lads weekend to the small village of Moodley, where the women are rumoured to outnumber the men 4 to 1, in order to help their mate Vince (Stephen Graham) get over his recent divorce. The guys are a mix of general steretypes. You’ve got Neil (Danny Dyer), the ladies man, Mikey (Noel Clarke), the kind of stupid one, Matt (Lee Ingleby), the geek, Patrick (Keith-Lee Castle), the overstressed one who’s trying to work it out with stress relief podcasts and Graham (Emil Marawa), the gay one. Alright, I suppose they aren’t all exactly stereotypes but still.

Anyway, they get to Moodley and discover that the town seems pretty deserted. The reason? A virus has broken out which infects only the women and turns them into flesh-hungry Zombies. The boys have to do their best to survive, find out the reason behind the outbreak and escape the village.

Now, the first stumbling block you’re going to have with this film, if you’re anything like me, is the inclusion of Danny Dyer. The tiny-headed, half-human half-chipmunk hybrid just pisses me off. It doesn’t help that he’s playing a particularly unlikeable character in this as well. Still, he gets stabbed in the hand pretty early on and he get’s a little bit tortured later on as well, so yeah, thanks movie. I sincerely mean that.

The biggest problem that this film really has is ‘Shaun of the Dead’. Without it, it’d probably be seen as a decent if somewhat lacklustre Zombie comedy with a few chuckles here and there but since ‘Shaun…’ exists, it really just comes of as a bit of a tired retread of territory which has already been covered much better. Sure, it removes the romantic aspect and replaces it with a kind of bromance motidfd throughout but that slight difference isn’t enough to set it apart.

What the film does get right is the gore. There are intestines strewn all over the village, zombies get horribly mangled and burned and victims get axes to their brain areas. Yes, there’s no shortage of the visceral. What it falls down on is the humour. For example, this is an actual joke form the film “What kind of virus only effects women? Bird flu.” Yes. Hilarious. Except of course it isn’t. A lot of the jokes fall flat and while there are moments that you just can’t help but chuckle at, they are few and far between. There’s also a slight misogynist tinge to everything which, I understand, it’s a ‘lads’ film and that kinda things to be expected but the final moral seems to be every now and then a woman just needs a good beating to stop them from trying to domesticate men. I may be reading to much into it but that’s kinda the gist I got…

Still, I will say that the relationship between the guys seems believable enough. As a guy there are definite archetypes that you can recognise in a group of guy friends and, stereotypical as they may be, they are still kinda true so well done for that movie. Overall, two and a half pints out of five.



Zombie Month: Colin by Jamie

Zombies. As much as I love them, they’re not exactly have the most sparkling personalities of the monster world. They’re not seductive or lamenting of their curse like Vampires or Werewolves. No, they’re basically just walking corpses with a hunger for living flesh and aren’t really known for their conversation skills.

So I approached the film ‘Colin’ with a slight bit of scepticism because the basic premise is that our protagonist, Colin, becomes a Zombie within the first few minutes of the film and then we follow his journey as one of the Walking Dead. The fact that the film was allegedly made for around £45 didn’t do much to ease my… uneasiness. I’m not saying that low budget films can’t be good but they can definitely suffer for it and to have such an extreme low budget is enough to make a man think twice.

Still, I gave it a go and honestly, I’m fairly glad that I did. The plot isn’t far beyond what I’ve already stated. Just a Zombie wandering through a Zombie Apocalypse ravaged city in Britain. As he goes from place to place, you get little snapshots of what’s going on around him. He comes across various survivors all trying to cope in different ways with the end of the world. Some of them try to steal his shoes, some are weird Irish men who keep Zombie girls in their basement and some are relatives who recognise him and want him to recognise them.

Saying anything more than that would probably be travelling in to spoiler territory. Though, it’d be kind of hard to spoil this film. Nothing really happens yet at the same time so much is happening. For the most part, Colin is an impassionate observer apart from the scenes involving his family. He just shuffles along, occasionally taking the odd bite out of the odd corpse or incapacitated living person though his desire for flesh doesn’t seem to be as strong as that of his Zombie brethren. There are a number of times when he seems to pass up on a relatively easy meal, choosing instead to just walk on by.

There are certain clues through out the film to exactly what mental level Colin is operating on though it’s never made entirely clear. Does he forgo eating someone because they remind him of a person he knew whilst alive? Does he recognise his family on same basic level but, by the time they have him trapped in their kitchen has it been so long since he last had a meal that his Zombie instincts are over-riding his brain? It’s difficult to say.

The most important thing about the film is that, despite being a flesh-eating walking corpse, Colin is a sympathetic character. When bad things happen to him, you feel sorry for him. There’s a scene where he falls into a basement and you hear a snap, perhaps a broken ankle and, although he probably can’t feel pain and despite being a monster, you actually feel a little bit sad that he’s injured himself and that his shuffling exploits will be a little more difficult.

All in all, Colin is a brilliant little film. Yes, the film quality suffers a little due to the manner of it’s making but you get used to it after a while. All in all I can highly recommend it. Four and a half pints out of five.



Zombie Month: Colin by Jamie

Zombies. As much as I love them, they’re not exactly have the most sparkling personalities of the monster world. They’re not seductive or lamenting of their curse like Vampires or Werewolves. No, they’re basically just walking corpses with a hunger for living flesh and aren’t really known for their conversation skills.

So I approached the film ‘Colin’ with a slight bit of scepticism because the basic premise is that our protagonist, Colin, becomes a Zombie within the first few minutes of the film and then we follow his journey as one of the Walking Dead. The fact that the film was allegedly made for around £45 didn’t do much to ease my… uneasiness. I’m not saying that low budget films can’t be good but they can definitely suffer for it and to have such an extreme low budget is enough to make a man think twice.

Still, I gave it a go and honestly, I’m fairly glad that I did. The plot isn’t far beyond what I’ve already stated. Just a Zombie wandering through a Zombie Apocalypse ravaged city in Britain. As he goes from place to place, you get little snapshots of what’s going on around him. He comes across various survivors all trying to cope in different ways with the end of the world. Some of them try to steal his shoes, some are weird Irish men who keep Zombie girls in their basement and some are relatives who recognise him and want him to recognise them.

Saying anything more than that would probably be travelling in to spoiler territory. Though, it’d be kind of hard to spoil this film. Nothing really happens yet at the same time so much is happening. For the most part, Colin is an impassionate observer apart from the scenes involving his family. He just shuffles along, occasionally taking the odd bite out of the odd corpse or incapacitated living person though his desire for flesh doesn’t seem to be as strong as that of his Zombie brethren. There are a number of times when he seems to pass up on a relatively easy meal, choosing instead to just walk on by.

There are certain clues through out the film to exactly what mental level Colin is operating on though it’s never made entirely clear. Does he forgo eating someone because they remind him of a person he knew whilst alive? Does he recognise his family on same basic level but, by the time they have him trapped in their kitchen has it been so long since he last had a meal that his Zombie instincts are over-riding his brain? It’s difficult to say.

The most important thing about the film is that, despite being a flesh-eating walking corpse, Colin is a sympathetic character. When bad things happen to him, you feel sorry for him. There’s a scene where he falls into a basement and you hear a snap, perhaps a broken ankle and, although he probably can’t feel pain and despite being a monster, you actually feel a little bit sad that he’s injured himself and that his shuffling exploits will be a little more difficult.

All in all, Colin is a brilliant little film. Yes, the film quality suffers a little due to the manner of it’s making but you get used to it after a while. All in all I can highly recommend it. Four and a half pints out of five.



The Depress-A-Thon: Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father by Jamie

I’m not one for openly showing much in the way of emotion. There are times when I’ll waver between the ups and the downs but as for things like weeping openly, well, it just isn‘t me. This doesn’t seem to apply to movies however. I am, as I’m sure I’ve said before, a bit of a crier when it comes to film. For some reason the over-the-top reality of film just seems more realistic to me. I can’t explain why.

Then there are documentaries which are based on truly horrific real life events. They manage to combine the horror of having these things actually having happened and the over-the-top hyper reality of film. By mentioning the hyper reality of film I don’t in anyway mean that any part of these documentaries are not based in truth but rather I mean that the very nature of films means that you can have many years worth of tragic and terrible events condensed down into an hour and a half, making the experience that much more intense. Such is the case with the subject of today’s review, ‘Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father.’

Fuck. This film fucking broke me in ways that I didn’t think possible. It manages to be both a beautiful tribute to a human being that the people in his life genuinely seemed to love and an horrific recounting of a series of tragic events and for that I must say I was truly blown away. The film managed to strike such a perfect balance between two different parts of the story that just seemed to highlight and intensify both.

Right, now I suppose I should go some small way into explaining the basic story of the film without giving away too much. This could be difficult but is absolutely necessary because you simply have to see this film. Might as well just get that out of the way up front. Ok, so the story then. The basic premise is that the film maker, Kurt Kuenne, had a childhood friend, Andrew Bagby, who is murdered by his ex-girlfriend, Shirley Jane Turner. Kuenne decides to travel to visit and interview various friends and relatives of Andrew in an effort to create a kind of video scrap-book for his infant son so he can get an idea of the kind of man that the father he would never know was. Wow. That was a tortuous sentence.

So yeah, that’s all I can really reveal about the plot of the film without giving away many of the twists and turns that cause the emotion to run so high whilst watching this film. What I can say is that the director is certainly a film maker of some talent. He uses some pretty interesting editing techniques to just ramp things up at the appropriate times. In particular his use of dialogue from the various interviews and statements from those involved repeatedly throughout the film in order to massively emphasis a specific point is especially effective.

I’d also be somewhat remiss if I didn’t mention the true heroes of this film David and Kathleen Bagby, Andrew’s parents. Some of the things they go through in this film will have you on the very verge of disbelief. They seem to have the patience of saints despite the horrific trials they are put through on an almost daily basis. And the way they deal with the events of the film at the very end is truly, truly heroic.

If there is one complaint about this film that I could have, it’s this. The director narrates the film and there was something about it that just kept reminding me about the Primus song ‘Mephisto & Kevin’ from the South Park Chef Aid album. I’ve since re-listened to the song and the voices don’t sound that familiar, there’s just something about the talking style and delivery that seems quite reminiscent of it. It’s not really a criticism of the film, just something that bugged me slightly. It’s definitely a problem with me and not the film.

Well, it’s gonna have to be a short one today because going any deeper into it would risk revealing some of the plot points of this truly fantastic film. Was it depressing? Yes, massively so. Did it make me cry? I’m not ashamed to say that it did. Would I watch it again? Surprisingly, yes. There are certainly some films that have been featured in The Depress-A-Thon which I always be hesitant to watch again. The primary examples being ‘Threads’ and ‘Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door’. Still despite this being as depressing as it is, it is also a truly wonderful tribute not only to Andrew but also his truly amazing parents and, for that at least, it is certainly worth watching again. Five pints out of five.



The Depress-A-Thon: When The Wind Blows by Jamie

The Cold War era was a great time for depressing media. The nuclear threat cast it’s long, dark shadow all across the globe as the threat of complete destruction was, for one of the first times in human history, very real. From the 50s you had the awesome nuclear safety videos telling people what to do in case of a bomb being dropped such as the infamous ‘Duck and Cover’ which seemed to serve no purpose other than ensuring you died looking like an idiot.

It was this era that gave rise to some of the great post-apocalyptic films as well. ‘Mad Max’, ‘Planet Of The Apes’ and ‘Terminator’ all owe something to growing fear over the complete annihilation of mankind but these films weren’t particularly true to life and largely dealt with the consequences of the apocalypse rather than the apocalypse itself. It is those films which deal with an actual nuclear attack and it’s consequences that are truly the most terrifying and depressing, things like ‘The Day After’, ‘Threads’ and the subject of today’s review ‘When The Wind Blows’.(Spoilers Ahead)

The film is an animated feature and if you’ve ever seen the charming, though also ultimately rather depressing, children’s Christmas film ‘The Snowman’ then the animation style should be rather familiar to you. The story follows Jim (John Mills) and Hilda Bloggs (Peggy Ashcroft), a retired couple living in a remote cottage somewhere in rural Sussex. Jim has become increasingly worried about the possibility of a nuclear strike against Britain and so has decided to follow governmental guidelines and build himself a bomb shelter out a few doors. Hilda is less concerned but indulges Jim in his paranoia, helping him when she can as long as doing so doesn’t interfere with her daily chores.

Both members of the Bloggs family are generally quite optimistic about what would happen if the bomb were to fall. Both grew up during the blitz and have fond memories of nights spent in Anderson Shelter’s and communities coming together to help each other in times of need. Jim in particular is incredibly trusting in the government and it’s ability to continue running the country in a forthright and proper manner should war break out. Neither of them seem to fully understand just exactly what a nuclear attack would mean for them and the people of Britain.

Jim finishes his shelter and, with Hilda’s help, begins to stock it with everything they need to survive the 48 weeks (which Jim later realises is actually 48 hours, a mistake made by his misreading of the official governmental pamphlet) he believes they are required to stay within the shelter to bypass the fallout from the bomb. Suddenly an announcement comes over the radio. The unthinkable has happened. The bomb is on its way. Jim and Hilda scramble to get into their homemade shelter and the explosion rocks their cottage.

The rest of the film deals with the aftermath of the bomb and the effect it has on Jima and Hilda as they re-emerge from their shelter. They find a world in which the countryside they live in is practically entirely dead, their water supply is cut off and even the milk and postmen haven’t managed to make their daily rounds.

Of course Jim isn’t too worried. He theorises that there are bound to be delays during the emergency period that immediately follows the bomb. He’s also adamant that the government are working as quickly as possible to sort everything out and get all of the countries basic infrastructure up and running again. He’s also sure that emergency medical teams will be making the rounds as well, checking up on people, which is a good thing because it seems as though the shock of the bomb is having detrimental effects on both his and Hilda’s health. Jim, it seems, is completely ignorant of the effects of prolonged exposure to radiation.

As the days pass, Jim and Hilda succumb more and more to the effects of radiation poisoning and help still doesn’t seem to becoming. Eventually they decide to crawl back into their shelter, just in case a second bomb is dropped. The film ends with the couple praying before it fades to black.

All in all the film is a stark look at just what effects the bomb would have on people who are in regions that lay outside a major target such as London. There’s would be a slow, agonising death brought on by exposure to the radioactive fallout. Despite this the film is actually quite comical in nature, with much of the comedy coming from Jim’s adherence to the governmental outlines, the couples quintessential Britishness and the couples general ignorance about the consequences of a nuclear attack. There impression of what will happen is coloured by their experiences during the blitz and they expect much the same will happen this time. Of course, it’s this ignorance of the consequences which ultimately spells Jim and Hilda’s doom.

It’s a poignant, funny yet ultimately depressing film that I really do recommend. If there’s one criticism I can make it’s that there are occasional trippy little musical sequences, in particular during a scene where Hilda is hanging up her washing whilst Jim builds his shelter, which seem to serve no purpose and really just doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. Otherwise it’s another excellent example of a brilliantly depressing film based on events which, at the time of it’s production, seemed all too possible. Four pints out of five. Laterz.



Chick Flix With A Dick: Bridget Jones’s Diary by Jamie
Chick Flix With A Dick: Bridget Jones’s Diary
Hello there, I’m Jamie and it’s time to watch films that are really not made for me, to increase my film knowledge and make me a better person. After all if you want to improve yourself then sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone.
So let’s begin with Bridget Jones’s Diary, a film with no aliens or giant sharks and very, very few zombies… Nope scratch that, no zombies at all. To top it all off it’s lead actress is someone whose name on a film poster is generally a sign that I’ll not be watching that film. Most of the time she looks as though she’s eaten something incredibly sour or perhaps she’s got a tiny black hole sitting directly in the back of her throat. That irritates me. I know it probably shouldn’t and I’m a bad person for letting it but it does.
So the story goes like this. Bridget Jones (Renee Zelweger) is a single, thirty-something who works in a publishing firm in London. This depresses her because, as we all know, women are entirely defined by whether or not they are currently seeing anybody. In an effort to combat this she begins to write a diary to help her better herself and attract someone who she finds genetically compatible in order to reproduce and pass her DNA on to the next generation, thereby keeping her bloodline alive and fulfilling the meaning of life at the most basic level. Isn’t love grand?
So she’s basically given the choice between two men. Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), her boss at the publishing firm and general rogue, scoundrel and Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), the apparently rude, dull and in no way named in a way that references anything else barrister. At first she tries out a relationship with Daniel which immediately makes it plainly obvious who she’ll end up with in the end with many a comic moment along the way.
Bridget’s world is also populated by a few friends and family members so let’s mention them because I can’t think of a smooth segue between this paragraph and the last. Her parents are Colin and Pamela Jones (Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones) who go through a bit of a crisis themselves when Pamela leaves Colin for a man who sells cheap crap on a cable home shopping network. Then there are her three best friends, Jude, Shazzer and Tom. Jude is played by Shirley Henderson who played Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter films and apparently her voice is actually like that. I couldn’t help but laugh when she fist appeared on screen since the first time we see her she’s in a bathroom crying. I guess she was kinda typecast after that. Shazzer (Sally Phillips) likes to say fuck a lot and that’s pretty much all you learn about her character and finally there is Tom. Tom is a gay guy who wrote a song back in the 80s which has apparently been helping him get laid ever since. I doubt the validity of such a claim unless I can receive direct evidence that being a one hit wonder can result in sex whenever you want. Carl Douglas I await your e-mail. The most important thing about Tom is that he’s played by James Callis better known as Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica. This film just scored major points by including the actor who played my favourite character in what may be my favourite TV show of all time. Well played movie. Well played.
So, let’s get to the point of this whole exercise then, shall we? What did I think of this film? Well despite it’s lack of monsters or serial killers I have to admit, I really liked it. There. I’m not ashamed at all. It’s a genuinely funny movie. In fact there were times when I actually laughed out loud. I was surprised by the general lack of soppy, fluffy bullshit that generally seems to pervade romantic comedies. Sure, it goes a bit cliché at the end but hell, most films do. I can forgive it that. I can also say that I was pleased by the amount of swearing. Hell, there was a scene where the word fuuuuuuuuuck was spelt out on the screen. That’s a nine u fuck there people, a beautiful thing to behold.
There are some really funny stand out scenes such as when Bridget, starting a new job at a television studio, has to interview a fireman. She’s told to slide down a pole, which she does, right into the camera before finding out that she’s run out of time for the interview… It’s actually kind of hard to explain so just watch the film.
Most of the performances were pretty awesome too. Jim Broadbent is always great so I wasn’t really surprised by his awesomeness here and it was nice to see Hugh Grant doing something other than his ‘Oh aren’t I a comically awkward Englishman’ schtick. And what of Renee Zelweger? Well, I thought she was pretty damn good in this film. She didn’t irritate me at all, her face didn’t look like it was collapsing in on itself and her English accent was pretty fucking good. Good for her.
There were a few things that really annoyed the shit out of me though. My first problem is why is that when Bridget weighs herself she notes down her weight in pounds? I thought that this was a British film about British people in Britain so why isn’t she using stones? Admittedly, I saw the American release of the film as distributed by Miramax so that may be the cause of it but if anyone out there has seen the Region 2 DVD I would like to know if it’s different just so I know if that’s the cause of the problem. Cheers. The second thing is the choice of ‘It’s Raining Men’ for the soundtrack. This is more of a personal problem because if I hear even a snippet of that fucking song it gets stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Thankfully I have a cure which is the A-Team theme. That normally clears it out and if it doesn’t then ‘War’ by Edwin Starr always does the trick.
Three minor points before I get to the most annoying thing. There are a few scenes where Bridget and Daniel are talking via e-mail and the letters type out on the screen which isn’t how e-mail works.  There is a character called Perpetua which can’t possibly be a real name. And there’s a cameo from that cunt Jeffrey Archer. Thankfully there’s a longer and funnier appearance by Salman Rushdie which kind of balances it out.
Now the major problem is Mark Darcy. For an hour he’s made out to be a generally unlikeable twat and then, with half an hour left, your mind is meant to be completely changed about him. That’s not an easy thing to do, even if for that last half hour he’s made out to be a wonderful, misunderstood human being. Ah, well, such is the way of choosing a partner with which to combine your genetic material.
So what rating can I give this film? I can’t really use my normal pint rating scheme. Gonna have to go for something a little girlier. Ah, I know. Over all I give this film 4 white wines out of 5. There. I survived a chick flick and actually rather enjoyed it. For my next edition of this feature I’ll have to watch something a little more formulaic and clichéd. Then I can tear into it which is far, far more fun to write. Laterz.

Hello there, I’m Jamie and it’s time to watch films that are really not made for me, to increase my film knowledge and make me a better person. After all if you want to improve yourself then sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone.

So let’s begin with Bridget Jones’s Diary, a film with no aliens or giant sharks and very, very few zombies… Nope scratch that, no zombies at all. To top it all off it’s lead actress is someone whose name on a film poster is generally a sign that I’ll not be watching that film. Most of the time she looks as though she’s eaten something incredibly sour or perhaps she’s got a tiny black hole sitting directly in the back of her throat. That irritates me. I know it probably shouldn’t and I’m a bad person for letting it but it does.

So the story goes like this. Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is a single, thirty-something who works in a publishing firm in London. This depresses her because, as we all know, women are entirely defined by whether or not they are currently seeing anybody. In an effort to combat this she begins to write a diary to help her better herself and attract someone who she finds genetically compatible in order to reproduce and pass her DNA on to the next generation, thereby keeping her bloodline alive and fulfilling the meaning of life at the most basic level. Isn’t love grand?

So she’s basically given the choice between two men. Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), her boss at the publishing firm and general rogue and scoundrel and Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), the apparently rude, dull and in no way named in a way that references anything else barrister. At first she tries out a relationship with Daniel which immediately makes it plainly obvious who she’ll end up with in the end with many a comic moment along the way.

Bridget’s world is also populated by a few friends and family members so let’s mention them because I can’t think of a smooth segue between this paragraph and the last. Her parents are Colin and Pamela Jones (Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones) who go through a bit of a crisis themselves when Pamela leaves Colin for a man who sells cheap crap on a cable home shopping network. Then there are her three best friends, Jude, Shazzer and Tom. Jude is played by Shirley Henderson who played Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter films and apparently her voice is actually like that. I couldn’t help but laugh when she fist appeared on screen since the first time we see her she’s in a bathroom crying. I guess she was kinda typecast after that. Shazzer (Sally Phillips) likes to say fuck a lot and that’s pretty much all you learn about her character and finally there is Tom. Tom is a gay guy who wrote a song back in the 80s which has apparently been helping him get laid ever since. I doubt the validity of such a claim unless I can receive direct evidence that being a one hit wonder can result in sex whenever you want. Carl Douglas I await your e-mail. The most important thing about Tom is that he’s played by James Callis better known as Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica. This film just scored major points by including the actor who played my favourite character in what may be my favourite TV show of all time. Well played movie. Well played.

So, let’s get to the point of this whole exercise then, shall we? What did I think of this film? Well despite it’s lack of monsters or serial killers I have to admit, I really liked it. There. I’m not ashamed at all. It’s a genuinely funny movie. In fact there were times when I actually laughed out loud. I was surprised by the general lack of soppy, fluffy bullshit that generally seems to pervade romantic comedies. Sure, it goes a bit cliché at the end but hell, most films do. I can forgive it that. I can also say that I was pleased by the amount of swearing. Hell, there was a scene where the word fuuuuuuuuuck was spelt out on the screen. That’s a nine u fuck there people, a beautiful thing to behold.

There are some really funny stand out scenes such as when Bridget, starting a new job at a television studio, has to interview a fireman. She’s told to slide down a pole, which she does, right into the camera before finding out that she’s run out of time for the interview… It’s actually kind of hard to explain so just watch the film.

Most of the performances were pretty awesome too. Jim Broadbent is always great so I wasn’t really surprised by his awesomeness here and it was nice to see Hugh Grant doing something other than his ‘Oh aren’t I a comically awkward Englishman’ schtick. And what of Renée Zellweger? Well, I thought she was pretty damn good in this film. She didn’t irritate me at all, her face didn’t look like it was collapsing in on itself and her English accent was pretty fucking good. Good for her.

There were a few things that really annoyed the shit out of me though. My first problem is why is that when Bridget weighs herself she notes down her weight in pounds? I thought that this was a British film about British people in Britain so why isn’t she using stones? Admittedly, I saw the American release of the film as distributed by Miramax so that may be the cause of it but if anyone out there has seen the Region 2 DVD I would like to know if it’s different just so I know if that’s the cause of the problem. Cheers. The second thing is the choice of ‘It’s Raining Men’ for the soundtrack. This is more of a personal problem because if I hear even a snippet of that fucking song it gets stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Thankfully I have a cure which is the A-Team theme. That normally clears it out and if it doesn’t then ‘War’ by Edwin Starr always does the trick.

Three minor points before I get to the most annoying thing. There are a few scenes where Bridget and Daniel are talking via e-mail and the letters type out on the screen which isn’t how e-mail works.  There is a character called Perpetua which can’t possibly be a real name. And there’s a cameo from that cunt Jeffrey Archer. Thankfully there’s a longer and funnier appearance by Salman Rushdie which kind of balances it out.

Now the major problem is Mark Darcy. For an hour he’s made out to be a generally unlikeable twat and then, with half an hour left, your mind is meant to be completely changed about him. That’s not an easy thing to do, even if for that last half hour he’s made out to be a wonderful, misunderstood human being. Ah, well, such is the way of choosing a partner with which to combine your genetic material.

So what rating can I give this film? I can’t really use my normal pint rating scheme. Gonna have to go for something a little girlier. Ah, I know. Over all I give this film 4 white wines out of 5. There. I survived a chick flick and actually rather enjoyed it. For my next edition of this feature I’ll have to watch something a little more formulaic and clichéd. Then I can tear into it which is far, far more fun to write. Laterz.




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