Cinepub


31 Days Of Horror 14: Monsters University (2013) by Jamie

Ok… I know I was stretching the definition of horror with Stoker. Yes, there is no way that Monsters University could truly be defined as a “horror” film but Monsters is right there in the title and I’ve been enveloped in gore, murder and all that kind of stuff lately and god damnit I need something light so I’m going ahead with this one… Did I mention that the word Monsters was in the title?

So, the original Monsters Inc. It’s a good movie I can’t deny that but I was never a massive fan of it.  It had some interesting ideas but it was kinda formulaic especially after Toy Story 1 and 2. It kinda falls above Bug’s Life for me but definitely near the bottom of the Pixar pile, a good pile though it may be. So how good could a prequel released twelve years after the original actually be especially given the fact that prequel is almost a curse word by this point?

Well, honestly I think I preferred it to the original. Scrap that. I definitely preferred it to the original. I’ll admit, I was sceptical as many were when I first heard of this film. It seemed as though lately Pixar had been falling into a sequel quagmire and their latest original film wasn’t exactly ground-breaking (Yes, I’m looking at you Brave). Monsters University was just another attempt at a soulless cash in by a company that was running out of good original ideas. I also wondered exactly why they were releasing a movie set at a university, a movie ostensibly aimed at kids.

Having watched it though, I can say that whilst this may not be Pixar’s most heart-warming movie, though it still has it’s moments, it is one of their funniest. I also realised that despite the colourful monster designs this isn’t a movie aimed squarely at kids like the Cars franchise is and it made sense to me when I considered that twelve year gap between films. The kids who saw the first movie are probably around University age themselves now. There’s no way kids are gonna get jokes about new age philosophy or subtly implied accidental incest jokes but the kids who watched that first movie twelve years ago are and this is a movie for them. There’s still plenty of jokes and stuff kids will enjoy, don’t get me wrong, but I firmly believe that kids today aren’t the primary audience for this film.

Pixar are really good at this ageing with their audience thing and getting a good balance between appealing to both kids and adults. Hell, just look at Toy Story 3 released ffteen years after the first film. It’s all about growing up and leaving behind your childhood, about parents saying goodbye to their kids. It’s a film that I absolutely believes resonates more with the generation who grew up watching that first film than it does with kids today.

Still, it does fall into a few traps that prequels inevitably do. The crammed in jokes that serve as a bridge between the two films. They aren’t anywhere egregious as the hoops Lucas jumped through to ensure that every little thing in the Star Wars prequels was connected to everything else (3PO was built by Vader! Obi-Wan was chased by Boba Fett and his dad! Yoda hung out with Chewbacca!) but there is a plot thread featuring Randall from the first film which seems like it just stops at one point, feeling like an excuse to have the character there because, you know, prequel.

Still overall this a damn enjoyable film and, to further justify this being included in my horror month, one of the final scenes is a pretty nice homage to horror movies in general. It even takes place at a summer camp. It’s a scene where a character finally realizes… Well, saying anymore would be entering spoiler territory but it’s a surprisingly different place than I thought the movie would go so good for it. Four pints out of five. Laterz.

 

Monsters_University_poster_3

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Top Ten TV Characters: Part 1 by Jamie
Top 10 Television Characters
Yes it’s time once again to delve into the world of cinema’s little brother, the greatest tool of communication know to mankind, until their youngest brother the internet was born, television. TV, as the kids call it, has been there for our species for some time now. It’s helped us to view man walking on the moon, the fall of the Berlin wall and an endless stream of outrageous acts carried out by morons on thousands upon thousands of reality TV shows.
TV has also delivered some of the greatest characters from fiction in modern times. The very nature of television means that we can become incredibly attached to those heroes and villains that inhabit  the flickering box, more so than movie characters simply because we spend so much time and, in some cases, so much of our lives with them.
Now for a rule that I decided to impose on myself. I’ve decided that I’m only allowed to choose one character from each series. If I didn’t then this list would probably be made up by far few shows than I should and that would be stupid. Also no animated characters. They’ll get their own list. So with that out of the way, let’s get onto the list.
10: Mike Nelson – Mystery Science Theater 3000
Mystery Science Theater 3000 is still a very little know show in the UK which I think is a damn shame. Too often in this country we accuse the Americans of having no sense of wit, that their comedies are often boorish and low brow, though the tide has definitely been changing. Still this could all have been avoided if we’d only had MST3K since it’s beginning. The story is a classic one: A working class guy gets blasted into space on the Satellite of Love as part of an experiment by an evil genius to force him to watch bad movies. He builds a few robot companions in order to stave off space insanity and help him endure the cinematic shit fest that he is forced to watch.
The role of the human aboard the Satellite of Love was originally played by Joel Hodgson who managed to escape about halfway through the shows run. His place was taken by Mike Nelson, a hapless temp who the evil Dr. Forrester and his assistant TV’s Frank decide to send to the satellite as a replacement.
Now, my choice of Mike as my favourite character may be controversial among some long time MST3K fans but there seems to be a general consensus that your favourite host is generally the first one that you see and we in the UK only got the shows after Joel’s departure. Now I’ve seen many Joel episodes since thanks to the DVDs but Mike was my first host and will always be my favourite.
There’s something undeniably likeable about Mike. He’s a likeable, if sometimes dim-witted and naive fellow, without the technical expertise of Joel. There’s no doubt that he certainly wouldn’t have been able to build the ‘bots had he been the first one sent up. He’s just more of a regular Joe who suddenly finds himself in this ridiculous situation and he just tries to go along with it. And that’s great.
9: Dave Lister – Red Dwarf
From one working class schmuck stuck in space to another. Curry and lager loving Liverpudlian Dave Lister finds himself as the universes sole surviving human being after a radiation leak on the mining ship Red Dwarf causes him to be kept in stasis for 3 million years. His companions are a hologram of his former bunkmate, the insufferable Arnold Judas Rimmer, an evolved cat known simply as The Cat, a mildly senile super computer named Holly and, eventually, a neurotic service droid by the name of Kryten. (And eventually Kristine Kochanski as well but for the purpose of this piece I’m gonna kinda overlook those episodes.)
Lister is interesting as a character mainly because he’s lazy, slobby and a bit of a dick but in general eminently likeable. You can’t help but feel sorry for him because he finds himself in a universe where all of his best friends are dead, the love of his life is dead and the only company he has are a cast of misfits who all have as deeply flawed personalities as himself. Despite this Lister tries to make the best of a bad situation, possibly the worst situation one can find themselves in, and he seems to remain cheerful and optimistic even when things look there worse. And I can’t finish this section without mentioning that Lister was part of one of the funniest conversations ever committed to film:
8: Victor Meldrew – One Foot In The Grave
Victor Meldrew was the voice of anyone who ever got annoyed at anything. The grumpiest man in Britain, Victor’s annoyance at the smallest of inconveniences only seemed to worsen the situation to such a degree that it would often spiral off into the superbly surreal which would, of course, merely make Victor angrier and angrier much to the chagrin of his long suffering wife Margaret.
Victor’s lot in life wasn’t helped by the people who surrounded him such as Margaret’s friend, the mildly insane Jean Warboys and the insufferably cheerful neighbour Nick Swainey. And so it was that Victor Meldrew could have been just another nasty, old bitter git.
But he wasn’t. What made Victor a truly great character was that people could emphasise with him. He generally tried to do the right thing only to have the situation rapidly decline on him. He genuinely cared for his wife Margaret and would seem quite upset whenever she lost her temper with him. In fact I think it says something about the two characters that Victor would always become frustrated with the situation but rarely his wife whereas Margaret would often become frustrated with her husband when she couldn’t take anymore of his complaining. And I think people did feel sorry for Victor whenever Margaret got pissed off with him. After all, it wasn’t his fault that he was that way, it just seemed as though the world transpired against him. Besides it’s not many TV characters that had flowers left for them at the location of the scene where they were killed. That certainly says something about the impact Victor had on the British public.
7:

Yes it’s time once again to delve into the world of cinema’s little brother, the greatest tool of communication known to mankind, until their youngest brother the internet was born, television. TV, as the kids call it, has been there for our species for some time now. It’s helped us to view man walking on the moon, the fall of the Berlin wall and an endless stream of outrageous acts carried out by morons on thousands upon thousands of reality TV shows.

TV has also delivered some of the greatest characters from fiction in modern times. The very nature of television means that we can become incredibly attached to those heroes and villains that inhabit  the flickering box, more so than movie characters simply because we spend so much time and, in some cases, so much of our lives with them.

Now for a rule that I decided to impose on myself. I’ve decided that I’m only allowed to choose one character from each series. If I didn’t then this list would probably be made up by far few shows than I should and that would be stupid. Also no animated characters. They’ll get their own list. So with that out of the way, let’s get onto the list.

10: Mike Nelson – Mystery Science Theater 3000

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is still a very little know show in the UK which I think is a damn shame. Too often in this country we accuse the Americans of having no sense of wit, that their comedies are often boorish and low brow, though the tide has definitely been changing. Still this could all have been avoided if we’d only had MST3K since it’s beginning. The story is a classic one: A working class guy gets blasted into space on the Satellite of Love as part of an experiment by an evil genius to force him to watch bad movies. He builds a few robot companions in order to stave off space insanity and help him endure the cinematic shit fest that he is forced to watch.

The role of the human aboard the Satellite of Love was originally played by Joel Hodgson who managed to escape about halfway through the shows run. His place was taken by Mike Nelson, a hapless temp who the evil Dr. Forrester and his assistant TV’s Frank decide to send to the satellite as a replacement.

Now, my choice of Mike as my favourite character may be controversial among some long time MST3K fans but there seems to be a general consensus that your favourite host is generally the first one that you see and we in the UK only got the shows after Joel’s departure. Now I’ve seen many Joel episodes since thanks to the DVDs but Mike was my first host and will always be my favourite.

There’s something undeniably likeable about Mike. He’s a likeable, if sometimes dim-witted and naive fellow, without the technical expertise of Joel. There’s no doubt that he certainly wouldn’t have been able to build the ‘bots had he been the first one sent up. He’s just more of a regular Joe who suddenly finds himself in this ridiculous situation and he just tries to go along with it. And that’s great.

9: Dave Lister – Red Dwarf

From one working class schmuck stuck in space to another. Curry and lager loving Liverpudlian Dave Lister finds himself as the universes sole surviving human being after a radiation leak on the mining ship Red Dwarf causes him to be kept in stasis for 3 million years. His companions are a hologram of his former bunkmate, the insufferable Arnold Judas Rimmer, an evolved cat known simply as The Cat, a mildly senile super computer named Holly and, eventually, a neurotic service droid by the name of Kryten. (And eventually Kristine Kochanski as well but for the purpose of this piece I’m gonna kinda overlook those episodes.)

Lister is interesting as a character mainly because he’s lazy, slobby and a bit of a dick but in general eminently likeable. You can’t help but feel sorry for him because he finds himself in a universe where all of his best friends are dead, the love of his life is dead and the only company he has are a cast of misfits who all have as deeply flawed personalities as himself. Despite this Lister tries to make the best of a bad situation, possibly the worst situation one can find themselves in, and he seems to remain cheerful and optimistic even when things look there worse. And I can’t finish this section without mentioning that Lister was part of one of the funniest conversations ever committed to film:

8: Victor Meldrew – One Foot In The Grave

Victor Meldrew was the voice of anyone who ever got annoyed at anything. The grumpiest man in Britain, Victor’s annoyance at the smallest of inconveniences only seemed to worsen the situation to such a degree that it would often spiral off into the superbly surreal which would, of course, merely make Victor angrier and angrier much to the chagrin of his long suffering wife Margaret.

Victor’s lot in life wasn’t helped by the people who surrounded him such as Margaret’s friend, the mildly insane Jean Warboys and the insufferably cheerful neighbour Nick Swainey. And so it was that Victor Meldrew could have been just another nasty, old bitter git.

But he wasn’t. What made Victor a truly great character was that people could emphasise with him. He generally tried to do the right thing only to have the situation rapidly decline on him. He genuinely cared for his wife Margaret and would seem quite upset whenever she lost her temper with him. In fact I think it says something about the two characters that Victor would always become frustrated with the situation but rarely his wife whereas Margaret would often become frustrated with her husband when she couldn’t take anymore of his complaining. And I think people did feel sorry for Victor whenever Margaret got pissed off with him. After all, it wasn’t his fault that he was that way, it just seemed as though the world transpired against him. Besides it’s not many TV characters that had flowers left for them at the location of the scene where they were killed. That certainly says something about the impact Victor had on the British public.

7: Father Ted Crilly – Father Ted

On the remote wasteland known as Craggy Island there live three Catholic priests and a tea obsessed housemaid. The oldest priest is Father Jack Hackett, a foul mouthed, violent alcoholic who rarely leaves his fetid chair. The youngest priest is Father Dougal McGuire, a man-child who professes to having no belief in the afterlife and claims to believe in Darth Vader more than he does in God. The third is Father Ted Crilly. Ted is a man who’s plans for fame and fortune are ruined by those around him and ultimately by himself.

Ted came to live on Craggy Island as punishment for some event in the past, something about some charity money that was ‘just resting in his account.’ Ted’s ultimate goal is to leave Craggy Island the troglodytes who inhabit far behind him and set up a parish somewhere like Las Vegas or Los Angeles. This never comes to pass, however, in part due to the immense disdain his immediate superior, Bishop Brennan has for him. Also, much like Victor Meldrew, Ted’s problems often start as something small and mundane but as the episode progresses these things tend to spin out of control until it all comes to an crescendo, generally leaving Ted worse of than he was when the episode started.

Like many on this list, Ted is likeable despite having a seriously flawed personality. He’s greedy, cynical, pessimistic and sometimes takes just a little too much delight in getting back at others, particularly when he wins a Golden Cleric resulting in a speech which last for hours and is full of distain for all those who have ‘fecked him over’ in the past. Ted’s likeability is probably increased by the fact that in the strange and surreal world of Craggy Island, he’s probably the most normal person there is, making him something of a reality anchor for the viewers.

6: Bernard Black – Black Books

Bernard Black is the epitome of characters who we like despite massive personal failings. He’s an alcoholic, pessimistic, argumentative misanthrope who isn’t happy unless he’s drinking wine or insulting someone. For some reason he owns a book shop despite his apparent loathing of everything to do with owning a shop. The only thing Bernard really likes about his shop is his books and the fact that, as his own boss, he can drink whenever he wants.

He’s abusive towards his assistant Manny Bianco, who’s biggest crime seems to be having  a cheery outlook on life, something Bernard apparently abhors. There’s also the fact that Manny tries to help Bernard around the shop, once selling every book which infuriated Bernard as it meant he had to deal with the distributor and order more books. Despite this it is shown that on the occasions Manny left Bernard to his own devices, either by quitting or running away, Bernard was reduced to even more of a mess than normal, barely able to function on a human level. The only other person in Bernard’s life is his best (and possibly only) friend, Fran Katzenjammer. The two share a number of similar characteristics which aids them in getting along, namely smoking and drinking.

Like all of the great arsehole characters in television, Bernard has a softer side which occasionally shines through. He has shown that he shy and awkward around women, he develops a certain jealousy and possessiveness whenever Manny finds other friends to hang out with, he’s certainly intelligent, though he generally seems to do nothing with his intelligence, and obviously loves reading and he genuinely seems to be scared or confused by the outside world, choosing instead to hide from it in a drunken haze inside his shop. It is also revealed that his general outlook on life may have been caused by an incident involving an old fiancée.

Well that’s it for now. Come back for more tomorrow. 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.



5 Top Films Still To Come In 2009 by Jamie

As you may know by now, I’ve been pretty disappointed with 2009 so far. In general it’s been a pretty goddamn terrible year for films what with shit like Wolverine, Friday the 13th and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen hitting the screens. Sure there have been some bright sparks here and there but overall, it’s been pretty awful. Now the year is over halfway through so shouldn’t we just give up entirely? No because there are still some films to be released that I hope might bring the years overall score up a little. Let’s look at he top 5 films I’m still looking forward to.

5: Inglorious Basterds (UK/US release date: 21/08/2009)

Yes, Tarantino’s WWII themed spaghetti-western comes in at number 5. It has his largest cast of speaking roles in a flim so far and tells the story of a group of Jewish-American soldiers who are on a mission to kill as many Nazi’s as they possibly can while a Jewish girl attempts to avenge the death of her family at the hands of an SS Colonel referred to as ‘The Jew Hunter’.

Now, I generally love Tarantino films so I can help but look forward to this one, especially with a cast that includes Brad Pitt, who has been pretty consistently great in everything he’s been in since Fight Club. The film also boasts performances from Eli Roth, Mike Myers and the while things narrated by the bad motherfucker himself, Samuel L. Jackson. The only reason that this film isn’t higher is that the film recieved a bit of bad press when it was screened but it was still the only American film at the festival to recieve any kind of award so time will tell whether this film lives up to my expectations or just adds to the massive dissapointment of 2009.

4: Where The Wild Things Are (US release date: 16/10/09)

This is the story of a kid who wears weird pajamas who goes and plays with massive furry monsters voiced by Tony Soprano in a weird forest that gets bombed or something. I dunno, I never read the book as a kid as far as I can remember, which to be honest may have meant that I read it several times. I have a shit memory.

So the main reason I’ve put this on here is the technique of making the weird monster creatures is really interesting and, from the trailer at least, it looks as though it works really well. Will it actually be any good? As I understand the book it’s adapted from is actually really quite short and we all know where that can lead (The Grinch and The Cat in the Hat).

3: Taking Woodstock (US release date: 28/08/09)

Directed by Ang Lee this is an R rated comedy based on the true life story of Elliot Tiber, a guy whose parents owned a motel and the only music festival permit in Bethel, New York. He offered both of these things to the Woodstock Music Festival.

Now this film ticks a number of boxes that make me look forward to it. A cast of people I enjoy: Demetri Martin, Emile Hirsch, Eugene Levy. Tick. A subject that I’m interested in: Woodstock. Tick. R-Rated comedy. Tick. So all in all this film looks like it’s going to be right down my alley. Here’s hoping this isn’t another 2009 dissapointment.

2: Sherlock Holmes (UK release date: 25/12/09)

Guy Ritchie’s period action film about the world’s most famous detective (except maybe Batman) starring Robert Downie Jr. and Jude Law as the Victorian dynamic duo is certainly one to look forward to. I was a little concerned when I first saw the trailer, thinking that they’d made Holmes into some kind of 19th century James Bond but hey, the fashion these days is taking classic characters and reinvisioning them so why not Holmes too?

Also it’s got Robert Downie Jr. in it for fucks sake! He’s consistently proving that he’s one of the best actors we’ve got these days and I’m sure some people will soon begin complaining that he’s over-exposed but who cares as long as he can consistently deliver sterling performances?

1: District 9 (UK/US release date: 19/08/09)

I don’t think anyone should be surprised by this. In fact, is there anyone who’s not looking forward to this film? It’s the story of aliens living in a segregated community (District 9) in South Africa. The community is controlled by the human corporation Multi-National United (MNU) who have no interest in the aliens welfare. In fact the only thing the humans are interested in is their technology which won’t work without alien DNA. Suddenly an MNU worker contracts an alien virus which begins to mutate his genes, making him the key to humans being able to use the alien weaponry. He becomes a hunted man and, becoming ostracised and friendless, he takes shelter in the only place he can, District 9.

I’ll admit, I was a little shocked when the first full trailer came out and showed this was a far more straightforward film rather than the documentary style I had come to expect from the teasers but I get the feeling that there will probably be a decent mix of both styles which will make me very, very happy indeed. Man, I can’t wait for this to be released. In fact the only problem with District 9 is that it heavily features the worst accent on Earth. Sorry South Africans, but really, it’s like someone smacking my ears with a frying pan. Still, hopefully someone will say ‘Diplomatic Immunity.’ Then all will be well.



Review: The Hangover by Jamie
16/07/2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Imagine one of those typical teen comedy road movies. Now take out the road and make the characters in their thirties. Now to top it off, make the movie fucking hilarious. That’s a pretty apt description of The Hangover. It follows the traditional formula of a road movie, to a point at least, with the characters moving from place to place, encountering strange characters and even stranger situations. Rather than travelling across America, however, all of the action takes place in the city of Las Vegas the morning after a monster bachelor party held in honour of Doug. The problem is that when his three friends, Phil, Stu and Alan wake up the next day Doug is missing and none of them have any memory of the previous nights antics. Also they seem to have acquired a tiger and a baby. And so their mission is clear, find out what happened the night before and find the missing groom.

From so simple a plot comes a damn, damn funny film. Seriously, thank fuck for this movie because 2009 and was really, really starting to piss me off. Anyway on with the review, which will probably be a short one because it’s kinda hard to impress upon you just how funny this movie is through the written word. The three lead characters work together incredibly well in spite of, in fact probably because of, their very, very different personalities. There’s Phil, the arrogant prick who’s so enthusiastic that you can’t help but like him, Stu, the responsible dentist who just wants to do the sensible thing and Alan, the man-child who’s a little, well, strange. In most of these kinds of comedies it seems as though the strange, fucked up things are just thrown at the characters and their reaction to them is secondary. In this film it’s very much about, and the comedy is primarily derived from, how these characters deal with the situations that they find themselves within.

Having said that, the film isn’t laugh out loud funny and I’m not entirely sure why. There are several moments where you will find yourself laughing hard but for the most part you’ll just find yourself being entertained and chuckling slightly. The only thing I can think is that the story is genuinely engaging. Having the three friends trying to find out what happened to them the night before introduces a mystery element and you find yourself becoming really invested in the story, pleased when they find a new clue and end up cheering for them. It’s the mystery element I think which really separates this movie from similar ones. In general other ‘road’ movies are just crazy situation leading into crazy situation with a little travelling to join the scenes together. In this film the crazy situations all seem to yield a clue which helps to push the story along.

So to sum up, The Hangover is a damn funny film and the only thing that stops it from being laugh out loud funny is the fact that you find yourself properly pulled into the story. which is no bad thing. Overall four pints out of five…. Fuck, I’ve gotta stop watching films that I enjoy. The reviews are in no way as fun as movies that piss me off. Still, after I’ve reviewed The Reader and Slumdog Millionaire it’ll be time to move on to the Razzies Worst Picture nominations which will feature such classics as Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans and The Love Guru. Good times ahead… And I get the feeling I’m not gonna like The Reader anyway.



Great Scenes From Shit Films, Part 6: Pumaman by Jamie

Ok, I promise, tomorrow will not be a movie featured in MST3K. In fact, it’ll be a super awesome Halloween special edition of Great Scenes from Bad Films! Awesome. But Mari Nickl reminded of Pumaman and I just had to include it. It was another great Mike era episode and this film really deserved the MST3K treatment. Allow me to elaborate.

The film opens with a paragraph regaling us with the Aztec legend of a God descending from the heavens, fucking an Aztecette and fathering the first Pumaman. Next we see a giant sphere approaching Stonehenge… I think. I’m not entirely sure because I just don’t see how Stonehenge could possibly fit in to Aztec legend. Anyway it’s probably not important. The aliens bequeath a mask to mankind, declaring that the Pumaman will look after it and that. This is followed by the credits in which the film’s big name, Donald Pleasence, has his name spelt wrong as Donald Pleasance. Well done movie.

We then meet a blonde lady archaeologist, intensely studying the aforementioned golden mask in modern times. Donald Pleasence enters, looking for all the world like a hideous, bald dominatrix, and basically asks her “How’s shit?” She turns around and answers “Shit’s good but don’t desecrate this mask otherwise the Pumaman will fuck you up.” Donald decides not to heed this careful warning and uses the mask to take control of blonde lady archaeologist’s mind. Oh Donald, you funky, cheeky monkey.

Anyway, I guess my first major question arises here. Why the fuck did the aliens leave a mask that gave people the ability to control the minds of other people? And I thought that the Pumaman dynasty was supposed to guard it always. Why was it not passed down the Puma family line?

The next scene shows a man being tossed out of a window, a newspaper revealing it’s the fourth American to be killed in London that week. It turns out that the person behind these slayings is the hero of our story, Vadhino (I must interject here and point out that I’m not saying he’s the hero because he is ridding London of Americans. Hmmm, shouldn’t have used the word ridding there, just makes things sound worse. My point is no one should be killed in London. Except for Luxembourgers. You know what you did Luxembourg!) and his next target is the film’s side-kick character, palaeontologist Tony Farms.

Tony ‘senses’ danger whilst being yelled at by his boss when Vadhino appears, steals a bone and Tony gives chase. Vadhino suddenly grabs him and chucks him out the window. Way to sense danger there Tony! When Tony survives, Vadhino tells him he’s the Pumaman and runs away.

Tony then meets blone archaeologist lady, Jane, and they ‘flirt.’ She invites him to a party laid out by her father. Alas! She’s still being mind controlled by Donald! Gasp! It turns out he’s controlling Jane’s father as well!

As Tony’s getting ready for the party, Vadhino shows up again and gives Tony the lame plastic belt that allows him to access the powers of the Pumaman! Which confuses me as it’s already made clear that Tony can survive falls and see in the dark. We’re also lead to believe he can sense danger but… Anyway, Vadhino explains that he knows Tony’s father which also raises the question as to why he didn’t look up where Tony Farms was, rather than going around tossing Americans out of windows. Guess it’s a hobby or something.

At the party, Donald turns up with a few henchmen and begins to stir up trouble when they attack Tony. Tony beats a few up or dances violently with them, it’s hard to figure out exactly which. Vadhino shows up, tosses Tony the belt allowing him to fly through the air… like a puma. The belt also gives him the lamest superhero costume since Robin decided little green underwear was a great look.

And so Tony flies. The effects are astounding. You’ll gasp in wonderment as Tony flies at all manner of angles, especially apparent when he drops a henchman, You’ll scratch your head in amazement Tony glides through the air with all the grace of an Aardvark tossed out of a helicopter. It truly is a thing of beauty.

So Tony tries to find out where the mask is by entering a trance and walking through a wall… like a puma. Or at least he tries but fails. Because if there is one thing that you will learn about Pumaman it’s that he’s the living embodiment of epic fail.
Jesus this is going on for a while. Ok, to cut a long story short. Donald has an evil plan, Pumaman tries to stop it, fails but thankfully Vadhino saves the day by not being Pumaman. At the end of the film Vadhino, Pumaman and Jane go to Stonehenge, which seems to be in an area which is certainly not where Stonehenge actually is. Vadhino claims that the the protection of the Gods has not failed since the day is saved though I must heartily disagree. The day was nearly lost because the stupid fuckers left the mind control mask on Earth in the first place… Twats. Anyway, Jane and Pumaman kiss and it seems apparent that the patter of tiny puma paws can’t be too far away. Eww.

Ok, sorry about that synopsis. I was watching the MST3K version, trying to ignore the riffs and focus on the film and I just completely lost track and the will to live, so I guess I have to add the same warning that I added to the previous two MST3K-inspired entries, do not watch without Mike and the Bots. Seriously. I think my left arm is tingling and I’m certain I feel chest pains.

What’s left to be said about this film? Well, as mentioned the special effects are awesome, though not just the flying effects. When Donald is taking over someone’s mind, the film wobbles, like water being sucked into the mouth of a goldfish’s mouth. That’s an odd analogy and that’s how this film has effected me. I’m also not sure whether Pumaman can phase through walls or just break through them. The special effects are that ambiguous!

One last thing of note is the music. Pumaman’s theme is a touching little number that will cause many to hold their hand over their heart and shed a tear for the Aztec Puma man-God who came to Earth to save us all from the mask left here by the Aztec Puma God for some reason.

One last thing, Vadhino would later appear in the second ever episode of the A-Team and get pummelled by Mr T. Good on him.

Well I’m exhausted. Couldn’t actually find any clips from a pure copy of the movie so here is a compilation clip from the MST3K version. I’m doing you all a favour, really.



Great Scenes from Shit Films, Part 5: Hobgoblins by Jamie

As with yesterdays entry into the hallowed halls of shit cinema fame, this entry came to my attention through the stellar work of the crew at Mystery Science Theater 3000. This film was in what is possibly my favourite of the Mike era episodes, in fact it would probably be my favourite of all episodes if not for Manos. Everything about this episode is great, the riffs, the host segments with classics like Crow’s ‘In Search Of…’ style programme about women to the cardboard cut-outs of the crew singing about Hobgoblins. One particular scene of note is the ‘interview’ with director Rick Sloane during the films end credits.

Still, this isn’t supposed to be about MST3K, it’s supposed to be about the movie itself. It’s about a number of small beasts from space who can make peoples fantasies come true with TERRIFYING consequences.

The film begins with an elderly security guard and his young helper doing a check of the old movie studios where they work. They go their separate ways and the younger of the two gentlemen opens a vault. Inside he suddenly finds himself on a stage where he begins… well I guess you’d kinda have to call it singing really. Suddenly he falls from the stage and dies. The older security guard, Mr McCreedy, discovers his body and shuts the vault door.

Our… well I guess you’d kinda have to call him hero really, Kevin takes the dead dude’s job so he can impress his frigid bitch of a girlfriend Amy because as every man knows, nothing impresses a woman more than taking a job which means you’d have to spend most of your nights away from them and most of your days sleeping. Good thinking Kevin.

After his first night he comes home and finds Amy hanging out with uber-slut Daphne and effeminate Kyle. Daphne is a classy kind a girl, wearing a condom in a packet around her neck and Kyle is a stylish fellow in his little red shorts. Amy is dressed like she doesn’t want to have sex with anything. Ever. Daphne’s boyfriend Nick, a soldier type, arrives later and challenges Kevin to a fight. The weapon of choice? Garden utensils! In what was rated as the most epic fight scene until Gladiator came along, Kevin and Nick duel it out for some time until Nick just manages to get the upper hand. Nick gets his reward by fucking Daphne in his van, whilst Amy takes the piss out of Kevin. In the background Nick’s van can be seen bouncing up and down with hilarious cartoon bouncing sound effects! Rick Sloane is a cinematic genius.

The next night Kevin chases a burglar into the vault that the dude had died in earlier unwittingly releasing the titular Hobgoblins! Oh Noes! WTF? I can has Cheeseburger?… Sorry, not sure what happened there. Anyway McCreedy provides the creatures back story and explains they can make people see what they most wish for though they do kinda accidentally kill them in the process. And so our mighty hero Kevin goes to stop the evil beings and save the friends that frankly no man deserves!

The Hobgoblins head straight for Kevin’s house, perhaps wanting to leave him a thank you note for freeing them after all this time or perhaps smelling Daphne’s rancid pheromones from miles away and they are just looking for an easy lay after such a long time in the vault. Either way they happen upon Kevin’s chums whilst they are…well I guess you’d kinda have to call it partying really. The hobgoblins manage to lure Daphne out of the house with an exact replica of Nick’s car horn. Having never met the man and having been locked in a movie vault, I can’t help but wonder how they know the sound of his horn or where and when they purchased such an item. Anyway, one of the hobgoblins tries to kill Daphne but she fights them off with a rake. Garden utensils would have made Lord of the Rings way more awesome.

Meanwhile, Kevin is calling a phone sex line, when he is told the woman he’s talking to is right outside. He takes her to the make-out spot of the city, with signs denoting where people should park depending on what kind of sexual activity they plan on engaging in. I’m sure the city council are very pleased with such a well organised make-out spot. The woman tries to push the car off of the make-out spot cliff with Nick still inside it until Kevin shows up and kills the hobgoblin generating the fantasy. The car still goes over the edge and the two characters are left standing there, watching the terrible fire which seems to have all the intensity of two torches being shone into the actor’s eyes.

Whilst this is going down, Amy heads to Club Scum to become a slutty, slutty stripper. (Point of interest: The man who plays Club Scum’s host would go on to voice Cosmo in the Fairly Odd Parents.) She demands to be degraded until Kevin and friends show up to kill the hobgoblins. The club is thrown into chaos and Nick begins to fantasize that he’s in combat. He manages to set himself on fire by jumping on a grenade… damn that’s stupid.

The surviving friends go to tell McCreedy that they’ve killed all the hobgoblins but Kevin is confronted by the burglar he chased before. A fight breaks out and Kevin wins, impressing Amy at last. Maybe now she will have sex with him. Good for them. But what’s this? The burglar has a gun! He’s going to shoot Kevin! Will he never get his end away? Thankfully McCreedy shoots the hobgoblin which is causing Kevin’s fantasy and the future conquest of Amy by Kevin seems assured. Kyle makes a move on Daphne who seems willing, probably because she’s a whore and not even little red shorts will put her off. Unfortunately for Kyle, Nick shows up covered in bandages. He and Daphne retire to the van which begins bouncing with those same cartoon sound effects and the future conquest of Kyle by Kyle’s hand seems assured.

The rest of the hobgoblins run into the vault and McCreedy blows up the studio, a plan the old man who spent his entire life guarding them for the sake of mankind must have really wished he’d thought up earlier. The End.

Well there you have it. Once more, as with yesterdays pick, I recommend you only watch this film with the appropriate MST3K riffs. Doing otherwise will release the hobgoblins. Oh an rest assure, the hobgoblins will ride again regardless with the soon to be released, direct-to-DVD sequel, Hobgoblins 2. Hooray!

So, what scene? Well there can only be one choice really. Enjoy.




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