Cinepub


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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