Cinepub


Review: Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked by Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Documental: Winnebago Man by Jamie

I’ve said it before, the internet is probably the greatest thing mankind has ever created that isn’t directly responsible for saving lives. It allows for almost instant communication, instant dissemination and sharing of news and information and, of course, mountains and mountains of pornography. So much pornography. It also unites people across borders through that most simple of pleasures, the humiliation of others.

Yes, for every internet success there is the other side. For every internet entrepenuer who has amassed billions of dollars, there are those who have become the subjects of ridicule because clips of them that they thought would never see the light of day have become viral video sensations. For every Mark Zuckerberg there is a Star Wars Kid or, indeed, a Winnebago Man. Who is the Winnebago Man? Well, hopefully this clip will clear that up. It is most certainly not safe for work…

That is the Winnebago Man. That clip of outtakes from a 1989 industrial film for the Winnebago company would become a viral video sensation thanks to copies of the original video tape being passed around and eventually reach millions more with the invention of YouTube. It would also become something of an obsession for a film maker by the name of Ben Steinbauer who became determined to find the star of the clip, a man by the name of Jack Rebney, a determination which would give rise to the documentary ‘Winnebago Man’.

He begins his search by investigating a number of avenues. He asks around people who have passed around copies of the tape in the first place and some crew members who worked on the original film. On this journey he also investigates the effect that the viral video had on individuals and on pop-culture in general, including a number of references to it in movies and TV shows. He also investigates the effect that a viral video can have on the often unwilling subjects such as the case of Aleksey Vayner whose boastful video resume ‘The Impossible is Possible’ became a viral hit much to the humiliation of Vayner himself. He apparently even received death threats via e-mail. Yes, the viral video world is not for the timid, which is a shame because often the star has no choice.

But what of the Winnebago Man? His obscenity-laced tirades certainly didn’t seem to indicate he was a timid man. Did he even know he was an internet star? Was he even still alive? After coming up with nothing but dead ends regarding Rebney’s current location, Steinbauer turned to a private investigator to hopefully shed some light on the subject. The PI found a number of post boxes in the man’s name and so the film maker decided to send a letter to each of them. Eventually, he got a response.

And so he got his chance to meet the man, the mystery, the enigma, the Winnebago Man himself, Jack Rebney. And he got to interview him and ask him what he knew about the video and all that. And he found Rebney to be an affable, charming old man, perhaps a little odd because he had become something of a hermit living alone in the mountains but other than that, a perfectly likeable older gentleman. So Steinbauer left after getting his footage, somewhat disappointed that even though Jack Rebney was still alive, it seemed as though the Winnebago Man was dead.

Then he got another message from Jack. In it he explained that he had basically put on a front for the camera and he was actually incredibly pissed off about his internet fame and the world he felt was falling into absolute disrepair. It turned out the foul-mouthed Winnebago Man was very much alive and so Steinbauer finally got his chance to meet him.

And that’s pretty much where I’ll leave the synopsis. I’ll just say that Jack is perhaps even more of the curmudgeon you’d expect him to be from the Winnebago Man clips. He’s sweary, angry and yet also strangely charming and seems able to switch between the two with the flip of a switch. His temper never really seems particularly malicious or at least not overly so. It’s just the way he reacts to the world around him. He views the fans of his outtake clips as a bunch of slack-jawed morons and can’t understand what they possibly enjoy about the video. This all comes to a head when he’s flown out to the Found Footage Festival in San Francisco and he’s brought face to face with his fans.

Now, Winnebago Man isn’t necessarily the most well made or most structured documentary in the world but I don’t think that’s really the fault of the film maker. I think it’s merely a side effect of making a film with a person like Jack Rebney, a man who seems completely unwilling to talk about himself or his past, for the most part, preferring instead to get his message about the evils in the world like Wal-Mart or Dick Cheney. He just seems like a difficult person to work with though ultimately a rewarding subject for the documentary. Throughout the whole film you can’t help but like Jack because, like I said, there doesn’t seem to be anything malicious behind his outbursts. That’s just who he is. The film also has one of the sweetest endings I’ve seen in sometime from a documentary and it honestly brought a few tears to my eyes.

If I had to compare it to another film I’d seen in recent times, I’d probably say ‘Best Worst Movie’ the documentary about the cult following of Troll 2 except kind of in reverse. In that film the main subject, George Hardy, is delighted by his fame and is eager to meet his fans. Jack Rebney, not so much. So all in all it’s an engaging documentary about an intriguing and interesting character but also a nice little study on this new world of viral video fame and how it effects their often unwilling or even unknowing stars. Four and a half pints out of five. Laterz.




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