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Review: The Big Wedding by Jamie

Oh boy. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Weddings! They’re a joyous occasion that bring people together to celebrate the love of two individuals! Or they’re a ridiculously outdated concept that go against the natural instincts of the human animal! Whichever way you slice it, I think we can all agree that weddings are a thing that exist. And because of their existence, Hollywood makes movies out of them. The wedding comedy is a cinema mainstay that will probably around as long as the ridiculous tradition itself. It makes sense. Weddings are big, meticulously planned affairs where strangers are forced to mingle and there’s a great deal of alcohol. Any number of things can go wrong. It’s perfect comedy fodder.

It’s because of the familiarity of the setting and an almost inborn understanding of the premise that so many wedding comedies get produced. These are movies that will play to the largest possible audience because everyone understands them. Also they can be produced relatively cheaply. This combination of cheap production and large audience draw means that these kinds of films are always guaranteed to make some kind of money. They don’t even need to be big box office smashes. They just need to exist.

And so we come to 2013s entry in the big wedding comedy genre titled, erm, “The Big Wedding”. Has it got stars? It’s got Robert De Niro! Susan Sarandon! Diane Keaton! Robin Williams is there also! And you know what? Everyone in this film does a perfectly fine job. No one is terrible, nobody sucks. Everybody does just fine. It’s just that when you get a big cast together, they really should have something great to work with. The Big Wedding leave them with nothing.

Well, not entirely nothing. You’re average wedding comedy is generally not excessively crude. It’s the kind of thing a woman, her grown up daughter and the grandmother can all enjoy together. The Big Wedding decides not to go that route. Within the first twenty minutes or so, Robert De Niro has nearly eaten out Susan Sarandon and called his ex-wife (Keaton) a cunt. Am I shocked by this kind of humour? No, of course not but you know who hates the word cunt? Particularly when it‘s being used to refer to a woman? My mum. And that’s the problem with this movie.

Who is the target audience? You can’t have sophomoric, sub-frat boy jokes based on curse words and cunnilingus and expect an older crowd that would be attracted by the casting of De Niro, Keating and Sarandon in a wedding comedy and expect them to enjoy it. You can’t have a wedding comedy and expect a bunch of young guys who might be more inclined to laugh at your crude humour to show up. This movie does not know what it wants to be who or it wants to appeal to and therefore it ends up appealing to nobody. It’s like an adult version of the Smurfs movie. No, I don’t mean it contains Smurf porn but in The Smurfs they made a movie about tiny, blue cartoon characters but included a subplot involving an ad-exec who’s not doing great at a job, has a pregnant wife and he’s not sure if he wants to actually have a baby or not. You know, the kinds of things kids love!

So yes, just who this movie is aimed at is a massive problem but then so is everything else. It’s the same old tired plot line we’ve seen a thousand times before from exactly these kinds of movies but with a thin layer of crude comedy painted on top to make it seem freh. There are two characters pretending to be married, parents disapproving of the groom, a girl who doesn’t get along with her father, a boy trying to lose his virginity. Everything is telegraphed and you know exactly from the opening few scenes just where this movie is going to go.

In conclusion, it’s like I said nobody is terrible in this movie but no one is exactly acting their socks off. It’s pretty clear that this is a pay check for everyone involved. I’ll admit that I chuckled here and there but that’s about it. I saw this at a pretty full screening and I can’t really think of any times when everyone laughed out loud. In fact, it was kind of weird just how quiet the audience remained throughout. There was definitely a bad atmosphere projected from the crowd toward the movie and it did end up feeling weirdly uncomfortable. I will say that I kind of enjoyed Topher Grace’s performance the most but that’s because he was basically playing a thirty year old version of Eric Foreman, his character from That 70s Show and I used to love that show growing up. Oh, and I did enjoy some of the humour about Catholicism but I’m a sucker for jokes about religion so take that with a grain of salt. Overall there’s just not that much to recommend though. One pint out of five. Laterz. And yeah, I know I didn’t do a synopsis. Do you really care what it’s about. If you do then just watch the trailer below and you have my pity.

Poster

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Review: Predators by Jamie

Remember ‘Predator‘? It was a film made in 1987 that rocked your world. It rocked it and it rocked it hard. Remember those iconic scenes like a group of badasses shooting the shit out of a jungle or Billy staying behind on the log to take the Predator on alone? Well the writers (Michael Finch, Alex Litvak), producers (Robert Rodriguez, John Davis, Elizabeth Avellan) and director (Nimrod Antal) of ‘Predators’ certainly remember those scenes and are happy to show you half-assed versions of them because, hey, doing something original would just be too much bother.

Now there are things here which weren’t just ripped wholesale from the original ‘Predator’ and those things, for the most part, were incredibly, incredibly dull. It was mostly scenes of people walking through a jungle and when they weren’t walking through a jungle they were spouting some of the most terribly written dialogue ever committed to film.

Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh. Maybe the problem is that I decided to watch the first and second Predator films before going to see this. Maybe all those scenes which were taken from the original seemed more like a nice, nostalgic homage to those who hadn’t seen the first one that day. All they did was reminded me of a far better, far less boring film. There’s none of the snappy dialogue that made even some of the slower scenes of that first film so fun to watch.

Again, maybe that’s not entirely fair. There were a few moments when I perked up and thought that something was finally going to happen. Generally anytime Topher Grace was on screen was quite fun as was the short time that Laurence Fishburne. They seemed to have the most developed and engaging characters which is a shame because they didn‘t get enough screen time and the rest of the characters just seemed to be stock characters who got barely any development whatsoever.

In the first film they managed to achieve character development through the interactions and dialogue of the characters as they trek through the jungle. You get an idea of who those characters are even though they do little more than trek through the jungle trying to hunt the hunter. In this film most of the dialogue seems to serve as little more than exposition especially the lines of Adrien Brody’s character who only seems to be there to figure out what’s just happened or what is about to happen and then explain those things to the rest of the crew.

There’s even a scene where Alice Braga relays the plot of the first Predator film. Why? Why does this need to happen? She could have explained that humanity had encountered these creatures before without essentially reading a synopsis of the first film. Like so much of this film, it just ends up being boring.

‘Predators’ also manages to piss me off by introducing these new, bizarre Predators which are apparently bigger and badder than the crab/vagina faced beasts we’ve come to now and love over the years. These new ones have slightly different faces with extended lower mandibles and as I say are apparently bigger though that’s kind of hard to ascertain during the film. Also they capture the Classic Predator’ types and hunt them as well. Why does this piss me off? Well because it just doesn’t make sense in the context of the series. Remember Jurassic Park 3? In that film a group of people go back to the same island that was in Jurassic Park 2 but this time there’s a bigger, badder carnivore there in the form of Spinosaurus. In the very beginning of the film it kills the T-Rex, beloved favourite dinosaur of many a human being. That was a dick move and it doesn’t make sense because that Spinosaurus probably should have shown up in Jurassic Park 2 if it was such a dominant carnivore on such a small island.

I have similar feelings about these new Predators. If they are so much more badass than the original Predators, how come we’ve never seen them before? I suppose you could say that these Predators do all their hunting by gathering specimens and bring them to game preserve planets but if this blood feud is as intense as it is implied in the film than how would the classic Predators get any hunting done without fear of being hunted themselves by these new Predators. It makes much more sense that one type would wipe out the other before resuming their normal hunting practices. Sigh. I guess I’m just over-analysing things as usual but I can’t help the way that my mind works.

Still the biggest problem with this is that the final showdown feels very Alien Vs Predatory. This time though you don’t have Xenomorphs, humans and Predators going at it. It’s Predator, human and Predator and that sucks just as hard. All right, it didn’t suck as much as Alien vs. Predator but it still wasn’t anything interesting.

So yeah, overall I was pretty damn disappointed with this film. I was so looking forward to it and it was just boring and that’s the worst crime a sci-fi, action film can commit. A lot of people have been saying that this is finally the worthy sequel that ‘Predator’ has been so deserving of. I’m sorry folks but I just don’t see it. Sure ‘Predator 2’ wasn’t a perfect film but it’s a helluva lot less boring than this tired, plodding piece of shit that does nothing we haven’t seen before. Even the Predator’s hunting dog things looked like someone had seen those dog things from ‘Avatar’ and said “Yeah, that’s what Predator needs. Let’s just add some spikes that would make their evolution and survival literally impossible.” Oh, and the less said about Adrien Brody’s American version of Jason Statham’s voice, the better.

Still it is better than both AVPs… I’ll give it that. Overall I rate Predators two pints out of five. One for some of spine-ripping scenes which were kinda cool and a half each for Topher Grace and Laurence Fishburne. Laterz.




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