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: 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: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. by Jamie

Today sees the beginning of a new recurring segment on Cinepub, Last Year In Film. The concept is fairly simple, watching and reviewing all the Oscar and Razzie nominated films of 2008. And I do mean all of them. It’s going to be a massive undertaking and I hope that I can manage to pull it off before the end of the year. With that in mind let’s begin with the backwards-aging, Gumpesque saga known as The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.

Directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, Benjamin Button tells the strange tell of the titular character who is born with what appear to be the signs of old age. His father, horrified by the baby’s appearance and the fact that it caused him to lose his wife during childbirth, abandons the baby on the steps of a New Orleans old folks home.

It soon becomes clear that Benjamin isn’t just one of those children with that extreme aging illness. Rather it seems as though he is actually aging backwards. Throughout his backwards life he has encounters with many interesting character’s and experiences the odd important historical event. He also experiences loss from a slightly different perspective and seems to gain a unique outlook on death, told as he was how he would die when he was a very young child.

The first thing you notice about this film is just how much it’s like Forrest Gump because that’s pretty much what it is but instead of being a little slow, the protagonist ages backwards. The similarities are striking. There’s a love interest who’s a free spirit who just wants to enjoy youth and not be tied down by their stodgier male counterpart until the good times have to come to an end (In Jenny’s case a son and terminal illness, in Daisy’s a severe leg breakage that ends her dancing career.), There’s the kindly mother figure who will try and do anything for their son and there’s the gruff alcoholic who he goes to war with whilst also being a boat captain and who seems to truly treasure his friendship. Fuck, there’s even a scene where Benjamin declares how he managed to get paid doing something he’d gladly do for free.

Despite all that, however, I really, really enjoyed this film and I think most of it is down to Brad Pitt and the character of Benjamin himself. In Forrest Gump, the character seems to stay exactly the same, almost oblivious to the changing world around him. Benjamin, on the other hand, seems to change quite a bit over the course of the film and, probably due to his odd condition, seems to adapt better to the changing world around him than anyone else. As Benjamin gets younger, he retains the knowledge that he has accumulated over the years and so, when he finally ends up looking like he’s in his twenties, there’s a wisdom in him that his appearance belies. Just like Benjamin himself says when he replies to Daisy’s comment about how young he is: “Only on the outside,”

There is, however, one major problem with this film that I cannot let go of. If you knew a dude who aged backwards is that the kind of thing you’d keep to yourself until you were on your deathbed? Hell no! You’d tell everyone you goddamn knew or at least I would. It’s like surviving the Titanic and never telling anyone about it until some treasure hunters decided to look for some precious stone that nobody knew you owned. Seriously.

Anyway, the special effects are great, the story’s pretty good if somewhat recycled and the acting is pretty much awesome all round and you’ve always gotta love a film that lets you hear the Louisiana accent for prolonged periods of time. I had a little trouble following it at first, unaccustomed as my ears are to it and the fact that my laptop speakers are shit, over the course of the film I got to grips with it. So there you have it. I’m sure some people will find the film a bit slow, maybe even tedious but it kept me pretty much hooked all the way through and the ending where Benjamin is finally going through childhood is truly, truly bittersweet. I’ll give it four pints out of five.

Laterz.




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