Cinepub


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.

Advertisements


Zombie Month Repost: Dead Set by Jamie

I don’t know if I’ve made this clear in the past but I’m quite the fan of Zombie films. I’m not sure why. There’s just something mildly appealing about being one of the few last members of a doomed species surrounded by the undead who want nothing more than to consume your flesh. That may seem odd but who wouldn’t want to be one of those survivors, no more of the drudgery of everyday life, going to work and earning a wage but fighting back the shambling hordes just so you could say you survived. Yeah, for me the Zombie Apocalypse is escapism.

There’s also a fantastic sense of hopelessness in zombie films. In the best ones it seems as though once the infection has begun to spread then the fight is already over. The zombies have already won simply through sheer numbers. The infection often seems to be global and it seems as though it’s only a matter of time before the remaining survivors succumb to either a natural or unnatural end. This is why my favourite zombie films are the original Day and Dawn of the Dead. It’s made very clear in those films that the undead dominance is practically total. The same is also true of the absolutely fantastic piece of Zombie-related televisual entertainment I’ll be looking at today, Dead Set.

Now, let’s get one thing out of the way right at the outset. Dead Set’s zombies are the runners that are becoming more and more prominent throughout zombie fiction. Whilst still being a zombie purist and preferring the shambling, rotting kind who are no real threat on their own but amass in huge numbers causing survivors to become trapped and ideally turn on each other, I will admit that, when used correctly, the runners can be effective. This was perhaps best demonstrated recently in ‘Zombieland’. Running zombies were perfect for that film because the survivors didn’t spend most of their time trapped in one location. It was essentially a road movie and in that kind of film I can see why the runners would be more effective than the traditional Romero variety.

In Dead Set, the running zombies are effective but for different reasons that Charlie Brooker, the writer of this and all-around genius, has stated himself in response to friendly criticism he received from Simon Pegg, well known slow zombie advocate. Basically the runners are used due to budgetary constraints restricting the number of crowd shots, the need to differentiate itself from Pegg’s own ‘Shaun of the Dead’, and the fact that infection needed to spread quick enough to stop an evacuation of the studio being possible. That last one will make more sense once I get into the actual review which I seem to be having some difficulty in doing. Anyway, to sum up these are all fair enough reasons.

Right, to the synopsis then. ‘Dead Set’ starts off during an eviction night for the reality series Big Brother. Throughout the day there have been reports of massive riots or some such thing occurring throughout Britain but despite the possible ramifications of this, the producer decides to take Big Brother to air as normal. During the eviction, however, something horrific happens and before long the only people left alive are those inside the Big Brother house, unaware of what’s happening outside, a show runner, the producer and the evicted contestant. There are a couple of other survivors but the main focus is really on these and, later on, the show runners boyfriend who is trying to make his way to the Big Brother house.

The show runner, Kelly, soon finds out that the outside world is pretty much devoid of life and decides to make her way into the Big Brother house, what with it being possibly the safest place in the world right now. When she makes it inside the house mates think that she’s a new contestant, albeit a fairly crazy one. When a zombie manages to get in and bites one of them, however, they soon realise the situation they are in.

And that’s pretty much where I’m going to leave the synopsis. I’ll say right now that this really is a must watch. It’s available in all of it’s fantastic five part glory through Channel 4’s YouTube page here. My apologies to people outside the UK. I know how these things often work so I wouldn’t be surprised if you find some kind of content restriction message. You can always buy the region 2 DVD, which I would recommend for anyone if I’m honest. It’s always nicer to have a physical copy of something. There are of course other methods you could employ which I will no way endorse here.

So what makes Dead Set so pants-wettingly brilliant? Well, everything really. The very idea of taking Big Brother and putting a zombie apocalypse around it, is in itself a wonderfully simple idea and allows for all the satire and commentary that the best zombie films are known for. In this case it’s reality TV that’s on the chopping block, obviously, and the culture that surrounds it. All of the contestants are the kinds of twattish stereotypes that Big Brother and it’s generally twattish audience thrive on. From blonde bimbo to flamboyantly gay transvestite, all the archetypes are covered. There’s even that one who’s a little bit stupid but likeable enough that he’d probably never actually win. From what I’ve seen of Big Brother those are generally regarded as background characters who never get much screen time because they aren’t as twattish as their housemates. I need to stop using the word twattish.

What’s interesting is that most of the characters, whilst still retaining may of their stereotypical charactersitics, manage to undergo major developments. For example Veronica, the blonde bimbo character, upon finding out about the zombie apocalypse enquires “Does this mean we’re not on the telly anymore?” but by the end she’s able to come up with a plan in order to take down a zombie lose in the garden. It manages to take what should be a relatively unlikeable cast of people and make you care about them and what happens to them in a way that I imagine Big Brother itself would have trouble doing in two months of programming.

It’s also quite clear that a large portion of the zombies are drawn to the Big Brother house, something which makes sense because most of the people there probably where fans of the show who were turned on the night of the eviction and one of the contestants even muses that they the house was almost like a temple to them in life. This echoes Romero’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’ where it is theorised that the zombies come to the mall due to some fading half-memory of their former life in which they considered it to be an important place for them. In this case the people used to come here to feed on the micro-fame of the people inside the house and now they’re back to feed on them once more, only this time in a much more literal sense.

Of course, you could talk about the satire and social commentary in zombie films until the cows come home and I’m sure people will continue to do so until the inevitable real life Zombie Apocalypse. The most important thing is how is this invasion of the undead portrayed on screen and all I’ll say is that Dead Set does not disappoint. It is exquisitely gory, revelling in the dismemberment of people by the ravenous monsters. Seriously, for a TV mini-series it seems as though absolutely no punches were pulled. You get to see a zombie get it’s head smashed in with a fire extinguisher, a zombie being carved up for bait and British television ‘favourite’ Davina McCall getting her throat bitten out. The whole thing is enhanced by the fucking fantastic sound effects, each squelch and stab being presented in sickeningly, crisp detail. Awesome. Speaking of sounds, I should also say that setting the initial zombie outbreak to Mika’s ‘Grace Kelly’ was an ingenious idea.

Right, I think I’ve spoken enough about this now. If you haven’t watched it yet, find a way to do so and do it now! Five pints out of five. I‘ll be back tomorrow with either a new list, a review of ‘Antichrist’ or the remake of ‘Dawn of the Dead’ which I‘ve decided to rewatch after my softening on the whole running zombie thing. Laterz.



Zombie Month: Zombie Women of Satan by Jamie

Spoilers Ahoy!

Remember when I reviewed ‘Boy Eats Girl’ and I said that a flurry of bad Zombie comedies had followed the release of ‘Shaun of the Dead’? And how surprised I was that I actually found ‘Boy Eats Girl’ was actually quite entertaining? Well I decided to check out another Zombie comedy film in the hopes of repeating that success, British film ‘Zombie Women of Satan.’ I know what you’re thinking. That sounds like a title that would be found on a shitty, low-budget 70s softcore porn/horror film. And you’re right, it does sound like that and yet here it is on a 2009 film. Still, the important question is, is it any good?

Sadly, no. No it isn’t. The basic premise is… Well, it’s kinda hard to explain the basic premise because it’s a bit all over the place. Let me try. So, there’s this travelling burlesque circus group made up of Ringmaster Johnny Dee Hellfire (Seymour Mace), Pervo the Clown (Warren Speed), burlesque performer Harmony Star (Kate Soulsby), Zeus the Dwarf (Peter Bonner who was in ‘Through the Dragon’s Eye’, a show I watched in school. I knew I’d seen him before!) and silent tough man Damage (Joe Nicholson). The star of the show, for some reason, is Pervo the Clown. I say for some reason because even by clown standards, he’s pretty fucking unfunny. I mean just, well, take a look…

See what I mean? Anyway they are also joined by Skye Brannigan (Victoria Hopkins), lead singer of some band or something. After the show is over and after an “hilarious” scene in the hotel all about how Pervo likes to have raucous sex with many different women and how this annoys Johnny, the entire group travel to the middle of nowhere to appear on an internet interview show.

The interview happens to be presented by Tycho Zander (Christian Steele) and his sister Blue (Gillian Settle) It just so happens that Tycho is also a secret cult leader, having brainwashed a legion of sex slaves. These sex slaves are also being used in his father’s (Bill Fellows) Zombie research, helped as he is by Tycho’s other sister, Red (Marysia Kay). I don’t think it’s ever explained why he’s doing this research. Why would it be? That doesn’t seem to be important. Also unimportant is why Tycho and the girls’ mother (Kathy Paul) is chained up, trying to get people to fuck her and playing with her husband’s failed experiments. Sigh. Fuck this movie.

Anyway, most of the sex slaves accidentally get infected by Zombie virus and soon the farm compound is crawling with Zombies. The burlesque troop find themselves trapped as the gates are closed and the fences electrified. Also one of the surviving sex slaves who just so happens to be Skye’s long lost sister, Rachel (Victoria Broom) and Skye is determined to save her, with or without the help of the wacky burlesque performers. Oh, what coincidental fun!

Shit goes down, people die, others survive. Yeah, you know the drill from here. The point is that this film is pretty fucking terrible. When you take a break from the Zombie action to spend an inordinate amount of time on this…

Then you know you’ve got troubles. Yes, the film is blood soaked and there are Zombie tits flapping around all over the place but just because you’ve made a silly, juvenile comedy movie doesn’t mean that the plot can just trundle along without any rhyme or reason. You know what happens when something like that happens? You get one of those shitty Friedberg and Seltzer parody films. Things are brought up and never resolved all the fucking time. It’s revealed Pervo may have a slight homosexual attraction to Johnny that you think might come up later but nope. It’s also revealed through the father observing Tycho fucking his original Zombie experiment which is tied to a bed (Seriously people, I don’t know how may times I have to say this but STOP HAVING SEX WITH ZOMBIES!) that the Zombies seem to find sexual interaction soothing. I thought maybe this’d come up as some way for Pervo to stop the Zombie menace since it was set up earlier that he likes to have sex and comments often that he finds the Zombies attractive even though they’re dead but nope. Never brought up again. Christ, at least in ‘Deadgirl’ the Zombie fucking was integral to the plot.

There is one tiny saving grace to this film and that’s Seymour Mace as Johnny. He’s actually quite funny at times and, through their interactions, he actually makes Pervo occasionally funny as well. Unfortunately Pervo accidentally cuts his head off with a chainsaw in a scene that genuinely shocked me because I realised that I had literally no reason to continue watching this piece of shit but had to anyway. Also, Marysia Kay may be the worst actress I have ever seen in a film. One and a half pints out of five. Laterz.



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.



Review: Dead Set by Jamie

I don’t know if I’ve made this clear in the past but I’m quite the fan of Zombie films. I’m not sure why. There’s just something mildly appealing about being one of the few last members of a doomed species surrounded by the undead who want nothing more than to consume your flesh. That may seem odd but who wouldn’t want to be one of those survivors, no more of the drudgery of everyday life, going to work and earning a wage but fighting back the shambling hordes just so you could say you survived. Yeah, for me the Zombie Apocalypse is escapism.

There’s also a fantastic sense of hopelessness in zombie films. In the best ones it seems as though once the infection has begun to spread then the fight is already over. The zombies have already won simply through sheer numbers. The infection often seems to be global and it seems as though it’s only a matter of time before the remaining survivors succumb to either a natural or unnatural end. This is why my favourite zombie films are the original Day and Dawn of the Dead. It’s made very clear in those films that the undead dominance is practically total. The same is also true of the absolutely fantastic piece of Zombie-related televisual entertainment I’ll be looking at today, Dead Set.

Now, let’s get one thing out of the way right at the outset. Dead Set’s zombies are the runners that are becoming more and more prominent throughout zombie fiction. Whilst still being a zombie purist and preferring the shambling, rotting kind who are no real threat on their own but amass in huge numbers causing survivors to become trapped and ideally turn on each other, I will admit that, when used correctly, the runners can be effective. This was perhaps best demonstrated recently in ‘Zombieland’. Running zombies were perfect for that film because the survivors didn’t spend most of their time trapped in one location. It was essentially a road movie and in that kind of film I can see why the runners would be more effective than the traditional Romero variety.

In Dead Set, the running zombies are effective but for different reasons that Charlie Brooker, the writer of this and all-around genius, has stated himself in response to friendly criticism he received from Simon Pegg, well known slow zombie advocate. Basically the runners are used due to budgetary constraints restricting the number of crowd shots, the need to differentiate itself from Pegg’s own ‘Shaun of the Dead’, and the fact that infection needed to spread quick enough to stop an evacuation of the studio being possible. That last one will make more sense once I get into the actual review which I seem to be having some difficulty in doing. Anyway, to sum up these are all fair enough reasons.

Right, to the synopsis then. ‘Dead Set’ starts off during an eviction night for the reality series Big Brother. Throughout the day there have been reports of massive riots or some such thing occurring throughout Britain but despite the possible ramifications of this, the producer decides to take Big Brother to air as normal. During the eviction, however, something horrific happens and before long the only people left alive are those inside the Big Brother house, unaware of what’s happening outside, a show runner, the producer and the evicted contestant. There are a couple of other survivors but the main focus is really on these and, later on, the show runners boyfriend who is trying to make his way to the Big Brother house.

The show runner, Kelly, soon finds out that the outside world is pretty much devoid of life and decides to make her way into the Big Brother house, what with it being possibly the safest place in the world right now. When she makes it inside the house mates think that she’s a new contestant, albeit a fairly crazy one. When a zombie manages to get in and bites one of them, however, they soon realise the situation they are in.

And that’s pretty much where I’m going to leave the synopsis. I’ll say right now that this really is a must watch. It’s available in all of it’s fantastic five part glory through Channel 4’s YouTube page here. My apologies to people outside the UK. I know how these things often work so I wouldn’t be surprised if you find some kind of content restriction message. You can always buy the region 2 DVD, which I would recommend for anyone if I’m honest. It’s always nicer to have a physical copy of something. There are of course other methods you could employ which I will no way endorse here.

So what makes Dead Set so pants-wettingly brilliant? Well, everything really. The very idea of taking Big Brother and putting a zombie apocalypse around it, is in itself a wonderfully simple idea and allows for all the satire and commentary that the best zombie films are known for. In this case it’s reality TV that’s on the chopping block, obviously, and the culture that surrounds it. All of the contestants are the kinds of twattish stereotypes that Big Brother and it’s generally twattish audience thrive on. From blonde bimbo to flamboyantly gay transvestite, all the archetypes are covered. There’s even that one who’s a little bit stupid but likeable enough that he’d probably never actually win. From what I’ve seen of Big Brother those are generally regarded as background characters who never get much screen time because they aren’t as twattish as their housemates. I need to stop using the word twattish.

What’s interesting is that most of the characters, whilst still retaining may of their stereotypical charactersitics, manage to undergo major developments. For example Veronica, the blonde bimbo character, upon finding out about the zombie apocalypse enquires “Does this mean we’re not on the telly anymore?” but by the end she’s able to come up with a plan in order to take down a zombie lose in the garden. It manages to take what should be a relatively unlikeable cast of people and make you care about them and what happens to them in a way that I imagine Big Brother itself would have trouble doing in two months of programming.

It’s also quite clear that a large portion of the zombies are drawn to the Big Brother house, something which makes sense because most of the people there probably where fans of the show who were turned on the night of the eviction and one of the contestants even muses that they the house was almost like a temple to them in life. This echoes Romero’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’ where it is theorised that the zombies come to the mall due to some fading half-memory of their former life in which they considered it to be an important place for them. In this case the people used to come here to feed on the micro-fame of the people inside the house and now they’re back to feed on them once more, only this time in a much more literal sense.

Of course, you could talk about the satire and social commentary in zombie films until the cows come home and I’m sure people will continue to do so until the inevitable real life Zombie Apocalypse. The most important thing is how is this invasion of the undead portrayed on screen and all I’ll say is that Dead Set does not disappoint. It is exquisitely gory, revelling in the dismemberment of people by the ravenous monsters. Seriously, for a TV mini-series it seems as though absolutely no punches were pulled. You get to see a zombie get it’s head smashed in with a fire extinguisher, a zombie being carved up for bait and British television ‘favourite’ Davina McCall getting her throat bitten out. The whole thing is enhanced by the fucking fantastic sound effects, each squelch and stab being presented in sickeningly, crisp detail. Awesome. Speaking of sounds, I should also say that setting the initial zombie outbreak to Mika’s ‘Grace Kelly’ was an ingenious idea.

Right, I think I’ve spoken enough about this now. If you haven’t watched it yet, find a way to do so and do it now! Five pints out of five. I‘ll be back tomorrow with either a new list, a review of ‘Antichrist’ or the remake of ‘Dawn of the Dead’ which I‘ve decided to rewatch after my softening on the whole running zombie thing. 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.




%d bloggers like this: