Monday, 23 May 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean - stylistically bad anyway or is 3D to blame?

Ant was browsing around teh internet blah and came across this:

Tiny details make all the difference

So cinemas may show movies in 2D for those of us with no interest in getting a headache from poorly designed uber dimensional crap, but that doesn't mean they'll bother to take the 3D lense off so you can enjoy all those beautiful colours in all their fantastical glory. That explains Sooooo much. Like why the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie was so drab and profoundly drained of colour it looked like the filmmakers weren't so much enthralled with the concept of magical items that can entend life but probably instead seeing the world so terminally dull you wonder why they wouldn't have already killed themselves.

Don't get me wrong, the movie wasn't great narratively either; the characters' drawn up as main characters to replace the main characters that have gone are not as thought out and multifaceted as before, and where they have been developed it's not in an appropriately fresh enough direction to make you forgot those now gone characters. And some characters are gone and you can't think why. I can't imagine that ALL of the superb supporting cast didn't want to come back, and the film is not the better for their absense to compensate the new characters not being fresh in any good way. They missed the boat on fresh and new, they ignored the boat on old, familiar and loved. I apply that to the lead cast who are recurring. Depp and Rush do good work as always, but in a deeply unsatisfying way. There is something missing out of what is available to work with, a hole somewhere is deep and echoey, and you sense that the leads are phoning it in not because they want to but because of the cavernous hole that they can't do anything about. Personally I can't help wondering if it might have to do with the writers. Not their talent but more a curiousity about the working relationship with the director. The writers and other members of crew have been very vocal about the refreshing working relationship they had with Gore. Specifically that he doesn't shut writers out, they remain on set, working and developing, bringing new things to the shoot as and when necessary or when inspiration strikes, and you can see that in the other movies. Yes, I like them. Not every moment of every one, but I like bits of all three, bits that have a zesty energy and fun that you can go back to over and over again. I like how Knightley goes from being a normal period piece character to a chick who hides massive guns in naughty places. I like light grey rock crabs, and the bit of soundtrack that goes behind that whole scene. I like Naomie Harris and Bill Nighy being a historically tragic and spiteful couple. I like Jack Davenport having something proper to do other than be the guy getting in between the main characters who want to hook up. There's all those other characters who actually get long running jokes and agency, and dimensiality through these beautifully small but potent scenes, like Crook being the one who can free Calypso and the guest spots of the dog. The new characters could hold your attention, and they went to town making most of them delightfully excentric. And I have faith that was in a large part because the writers were heavily involved in the evolving swashbuckley nature.

And the new film is decidedly not like that. It's not a surprise that Depp doesn't want to bother with another one at the moment. Given that his voice in Gore recent animation had more charisma in it than the recent Sparrow have entirely. But when we walked out of the cinema what I was most irritated by was the colour, and darkness. It seemed unlikely any director interested in taking up the fantastical Pirates franchise would be the sort who wants duels in almost total darkness and for the mythical Fountain o Youth to look more like a set about some secreted Aztec spot that induces flesh eating disease so it's been untouched, left overgrown for centuries for fear of spreading an evil pestilence.

Now I'm thinking maybe they left this lil lense on because it's too expensive to bother taking it off, ergo giving the customer what they paid for and what was advertised. When I go see a 2D movie I expect it to look like how it was filmed not how the cinema can be bothered to show it. I'm writing a letter of complaint; just because I don't pay the additional monetary cost you do for 3D doesn't mean I should pay abstractly by having a shit time.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Cinema Day: Attack the Block and Insidious.

As with many people who love the joys of Orange Wednesdays, me and Ant went to see two films today, and we won't go to see another until next week. We have a projector at home so we'll only go to the cinema for the sheer nostalgia of the environment. Even if, personally, the environment now is nothing more than a shadow of the original style that I miss so very much. Small rooms, no vertigo inducing incline, projection mistakes and often entrance at the back instead of far off in the front, and of course the incessant adverts and radio, these things would not be in the design if I ever got enough money to own a cinema chain. And no coke. And a policy that everyone can bring their own food in if they want. And in shlocky adult films, everyone can bring booze. And in line with that policy, I can keep a picture board of everyone banned because they abused the privelege of said inebriation.

Anyhoo, back to the point. We went to see Attack the Block, which I honestly didn't fancy and went into feeling quite irritated about it. I wanted to drag Ant to Insidious, which I'd already seen and really wanted to chat to Ant about to see if he agreed with me. So I sat there huffing and puffing for the beginning.

Reasons why I didn't fancy it:

1) Nick Frost. No I don't dislike Nick Frost, I love Nick Frost. The joys of Mike leading the dance in Spaced, with some shooting yourself in the head through the mouth motifs thrown in for good measure (which can be seen here: A-Team Dance Off). Fantastic. Mike in Spaced's smile, in general, like, every scene. Mike scratching his face with the barrel of his own gun as he laughs at a joke with the security guard he's taken hostage. Anyone who saw and loved Spaced was set up to love Nick Frost in his appearances in Pegg/Wright collaborations. If Pegg was the cupcake mix and Wright was the oven, Frost would be the icing or cherry or rotating miniature firework you add at the end to make it special.

But sometimes, occasionally, now and again... Nick Frost picks some terrible projects to work on when he works with other people. And I commend that, I do. Trying out other people to work with should be a given, and working with people who are still trying to make it to the big time can be commendable. But that doesn't mean I want to spend money to watch Frost trying out a filmmaker or bunch of filmmakers who haven't found their legs yet. He picks things that end up being rubbish enough that he's sort of like an accidental omen.

Reason 2) Studio Canal, F4 and The Lottery Fund, for some reason whenever I see Lottery Fund listed with certain other companies that on their own often do excellent work, I often see the word safe flash through my mind. And safe often ends up meaning the film will be lame, not really go for it from any angle.

But then again the film is by Joe Cornish, and who is going to argue with that?

So we settled down to watch it, and of course I found Ant's instincts were correct. It is bloody fantastic. And it's one of those films I don't want... no, I don't think there's any need to say anything else about it. Certainly I wouldn't say anything more about it than is in the trailer. But I'll say a few things anyway, and then to Insidious. Obviously Spoilers...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Blogathoning..... A Life In Movies

Hello all! Here is my (rarely long and painfully late) attempt at Fandago Groovers Movie Blog's blogathon! So I planned on spending every minute of spare time this week rewatching all the movies I hadn't seen in years to write proper reviews of everything on this list so I could put hyperlinks instead of writing a summary, but for some inexplicable reason I got distracted watching Get Him To The Greek over and over again and only managed to watch a few of the films on here. You could say my extreme fondness for Russell Brand is a secret predilection, but it's obviously not that secret because I'm saying it here. It's an affection born out of the fact I entirely not a fan before he moved into stand up; in fact when he was a presenter I thought he was outright crap' now I'm a born again hardcore fan because I love to be surprised by people.

With that in mind, the following are summaries of the movies I love and why I love them, with in depth reviews for most to follow in the next couple of weeks. I'm also starting some themed rolling articles -

Making a Statement? Interpretive Narrative, Allegory, Symbolic, Magical Realism...
The Enigma of Star Quality - Featured Actors
The Horror Movies of Wes Craven
Satire, the rarest genre.
Romantic Comedies That Don't Suck
Time Travel Movies – should you watch them in order? And what order do you pick?

Now, onto the movies, with honourable mentions of the others I love in that year cos it's just so hard to choose:

1981: Unfortunately, I missed out on being born in 1980 or 1979 or I'd be starting with The Shining or The Warriors respectively, and my birthyear I found out was a surprisingly poor year for films I really loved. I guess I'll go with Indiana Jones. Who doesn't like Indiana Jones? Strong characters (and fantastic introductions to those characters), engaging story, a cast to die for, brilliant exploitation of the Nazis fascination with the supernatural and metaphysical. A Classic. If it had Bruce Campbell in it as well it would probably be a perfect movie.

1982: First Blood. The first Rambo film is one of the best examples out there of the strength of sticking to one strong purpose of the story and making that powerhouse, and the focus on simple but effective violence makes you wince better than any slasher with 200 gallons of corn syrup blood thrown around in production. An unforgettable film, and satisfying in a way that makes me question myself.
Runners-Up: The Thing, Poltergeist.

1983: The Dead Zone. Right from the opening seconds of the beautiful score and hypnotic title design, you know you're dealing with something special, both for a Cronenberg fan and a plain old cinephile. A masterful film made after Videodrome and Scanners (and those tongue in cheek venereal disease movies), before The Fly. Like The Fly, it's biggest strength is the restraint Cronenberg employs with it, but with far more heart and sorrow to it than The Fly. Unlike some of his body horror work, here Cronenberg needed a cast that could effortlessly mesmerise you in the tense, terrifying or visually arresting scenes, but also break your heart, and in Christopher Walken he had his perfect leading man. One of the better King adaptations, even the smallest details are perfect, right down to the sweaty effect on Walken's skin during his burning house flash, his recoil when he touches someone (gained through actually firing a gun each time to genuinely shock Walken, on his suggestion) or Martin Sheen and Gexa Kovacs' performances as the pivotal characters of a future of evil.

Runner-Up: Trading Places.

1984: A good year for timeless classics, but I'm going to go with an unpopular choice.
Body Double. Very much a personal preference, to many it is a horrible insult and a bit of a shambles that De Palma has such a tendency to ape Hitchcock. In my case when he does it so unabashedly and entirely, I love it. It does help that many of the surrounding production values are excellent. The performances in Body Double might be fluffy but there's a delicate balance of hamming it up you can smile at, hamming it up that you outright pee yourself laughing at and just plain giving an enjoyable performance. I adore Gregg Henry in it, Melanie Griffith is adorable, and Craig Wasson does a great job of taking all of the silliness on his shoulders. In essence it's nothing more than a bit of Psycho and a whole lot of Vertigo and Rear Window, as well as plenty of other references that weren't a deliberate neon sign saying I Love Hitchcock. And yet there's a freshness to it. The movement of the camera, the delightful musical number in the middle, Pino Donaggio's sublime score, and the modernisation of the story so that the characters so there is less of a patriarchal feel is always fun.
Runners-Up: The Terminator, Stop Making Sense, This Is Spinal Tap, Ghostbusters.

1985: Back To The Future. Knowing me in the next couple of weeks I'll do a big piece about the whole trilogy. Suffice it to say, perfect cast chemistry, special effects perfect, score and soundtrack perfect, script perfect. Everything's perfect! Trivia – a recent study of the emotional peaks of narrative in relationship to the body's biorhythms proved that Back To The Future is the only film that almost perfectly matches the body's natural peaks and ebbs, and is therefore the most satisfying narrative to experience. And a video:

Runners-Up: Re-animator, The Purple Rose of Cairo, The Sure Thing

1986: Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Isn't Broderick just gorgeous? Well, despite how you feel about that, between Broderick, Alan Ruck and Jennifer Grey in a role that was nothing like Baby, this is a great movie to make you smile, whilst also also introducing the concept of using a winning personality, savvy use of a home computer and a hype machine that gets out of hand to get you just about anything (in this case not getting into trouble for another day off and a campaign to save his life), which at the time was not in anyone's thoughts. If the movie was made now, the ending would also include Ferris getting home to discover that not only is he not in trouble but someone started some kickstarter and Care2 accounts and in record time not only beaten the target amount needed to buy him a kidney, but a HBO deal to track his experience during the transplant.
Runners-Up: Manhunter, The Fly, Stand By Me.

1987: Full Metal Jacket. It's probably not my favourite BUT I'm a huge Kubrick fan, and you have to love the performances in this film. An oddly disjointed member of Kubrick's back catalogue but thoroughly provoking.
Runners-Up: Raising Arizona (see future blog on Satire) Radio Days, The Princess Bride,

Moonstruck, Withnail and I, The Witches of Eastwick, The Serpent and the Rainbow (see future blog on Horror Movies of Wes Craven), The Untouchables.

1988: Die Hard. Like Indiana, a classic, thoroughly enjoyable, thoroughly re-watchable, which I do practically everytime a new Bruce Willis film comes out. Will probably be doing a Bruce Willis bit re: my obsession with actors. Die Hard is one of those action films you name when you're having an argument about how action films in the past decade are not better just because they raise the stakes, you still need good actors, good dialogue, a solid story, obstacles that make sense, like walking over glass without shoes, and often the only solutions that work are so out there they implicitly teach you to sit on the edge of your seat, like throwing a dead body onto a cop car to ruin the terrorists perfect entry point camouflage.
Runners-Up: Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Hairspray, A Fish Called Wanda, School Daze

1989: Do The Right Thing. Made straight after School Daze, Do The Right Thing is an improvement on some of the same ideas and issues but more confident and less disquieting, and a powerhouse cast as a bonus. A thoroughly entertaining film you leave it with a powerful impression, largely due to the brilliant portrait of the imperfect characters in imperfect situations finding imperfect resolutions.
Runners-Up: Heathers, The Abyss, Born on the Fourth of July, Back To The Future 2, Bill and Ted.

1990: Jacob's Ladder. What can you say about Jacob's Ladder? Those faces are creepy as hell. The voice of Mirage in The Incredibles doing naughty things with a mythical creature on the dancefloor. The soothing voice of Danny Aiello hinting that maybe Tim Robbins should think about why all the weirdness is happening. Director Adrian Lyne might have done some junk before he got to this, and plenty after but this was an inspirational example of interpretive narrative, unreliable narrators, and the re-watch factor.
Runners-Up: The Grifters, Tremors, Total Recall (only for the scene with the bead o sweat scene. Oh and for this: Getting To Mars) and Back To The Future 3.

1991: JFK. One of Costner's lead parts where he
was great but had people scratching their heads at the silliness of the one before and after it. If you like conspiracy theories with no definitive direction, an overload of factual information and casting chock full of stars even for a few seconds here or there, this is the film to sit down with. Has a natural re-watch factor since for most people you wonder if you blink and missed the bit where they told you who did it.
Runners-up: The Last Boy Scout, Bill and Ted.

1992: Reservoir Dogs. For all the obvious reasons.

Runners-Up: Strictly Ballroom, Unforgiven, Bob Roberts, Hard Boiled, My Cousin Vinny, Delicatessen, Batman Returns.

1993: Naked. Mike Leigh is not typically a filmmaker I like, but the brilliant performances and uncompromising meanness, not to mention the fantastic introduction to David Thewlis as our leading man, makes Naked an exception.
Runner-Up: Cronos

1994: Shallow Grave. When I first watched Shallow Grave I thought (and continued to think until I rewatched a few months ago) that the only thing that was truly commanding about this film was Christopher Eccleston's performance as the mild mannered, repressed numbers man transitioning to an unhinged obsessive. Then I realised this year how much of an impact the design, the characters and the editing has had on me. Probably my favourite aspect is the inclusion of the malevolent scenes of the disquietingly underdeveloped criminals tracking them down, leading you down the garden path towards thinking that the suspense is directed towards what will happen when the criminals meet our protagonists. But then the sucker punch comes in.
Runners-Up: Quiz Show, Muriel's Wedding, Speed, Ed Wood, Shawshank Redemption, Swimming With Sharks, Bullets Over Broadway.

1995: Casino. Though much maligned, I enjoyed the constant narration of Casino, and one of my alltime favourite moments in cinema is when past tense turns present tense for Pesci.
Runners-Up: Seven, Murder in the First, The Doom Generation, Twelve Monkeys, Showgirls, Underground.

1996. Since this is the age when I started trying to devote a lot of time to all types of film, not just whatever came out in the cinema, I'd like to say something like Microcosmos... But I'm going with The Frighteners and Mars Attacks! Cos that's how much I love Michael J Fox.

1997: Jackie Brown. I personally find Jackie Brown slightly addictive, in no small way because of the nuanced and identifiable performance of Pam Grier, and applicably to several others alongside Grier, Tarantino's habit of casting Actors who haven't had the continual success they should have.
Runners-Up: Mad City, Boogie Nights, LA Confidential, As Good As It Gets, Wag The Dog, Titanic, Scream 2, Grosse Pointe Blanke, Private Parts, Funny Games (Original).

1998: After Life. I'm a big fan of Asian Cinema, but since I tend to like mostly horror (except for the trilogy that defies labels, Vengence) or the totally mental (Visitor Q, anyone?) I thought I'd leave that for a themed post.

But Afterlife is an exception, the little modest Japanese film standing as an example to all filmmakers out there. The production had to be cheap and resourceful, and in a stroke of genius the necessity is woken into the narrative, about the Department of Death if you will. The team that greets the newly dead who are going to Heaven and processes their Heaven. We learn that instead of being effortlessly magical and celestial etc, the processing and administration of Heaven is run down and lacking in resources; they discuss with you what moment from your life was your happiest, and that they will 'recreate' the moment for you and that will be your Heaven. Only you don't stay in it for eternity, they dress up a set and film it for you, with whatever items they can use for props. For a man who wants a moment of flying a plane to be his memory, they use cotton wool for the clouds.

But it's not the kitsch and novel approach to Heaven that grabs you. After Life is an incredible little film that can move you in many ways as the team meet different people and learn what they held dear in life, some funny, some uplifting, some heartbreaking.

Runners-Up: Bulworth, Ringu, Gods and Monsters, Run Lola Run, Buena Vista Social Club, Rushmore, Pleasantville (See in future Magical Realism), There's Something About Mary, Pi.

1999: Fight Club. One of the few films that takes what's best in a good book, changes mostly include the ending, but instead of making the ending suck by playing it safe and conventional they make it more edgy and offensive. I could write pages and pages about the socio-political subtext of this film but I'll leave that for now and just say – Helena Bonham Carter singing the tune from Valley of the Dolls = awesome.
Runners-Up: The Talented Mr Ripley, Audition, Magnolia, American Movie, Election, Galaxy Quest, The Insider.

2000: Wonderboys. Usually when I realise a story is going to be about excellent stories and wonderful, world renowned writers I get this hesitance, this dread that it's going to be so embarrassing if the writing of the writer about the best writers is really crap. Wonderboys though stays away from trying to show whether they are all great writers and instead just gives you a right good story, which you then realise would be a book good enough that you might have read it. Which, ahem, I should have...
Runners-Up: Almost Famous, Shadow of a Vampire, Ginger Snaps, Best In Show, Memento, Requiem For A Dream, Snatch, American Psycho (see future blog on Bret Easton Ellis Movies), O Brother Where Art Thou?

2001: The Royal Tenenbaums. Stella cast, one in which
mature characters are not made fun of for being kooky and not made boring to make it socially conventional, completely delightful film.
Runners-Up: Dogtown and Z-Boys, Mulholland Drive, Tape and The Believer.

2002: In lieu of the first of the Vengeance trilogy I'll say Capturing The Friedmans. If ever there was a film (documentary or otherwise) that encapsulated the complicated nature of human nature and perception it's this one. I'm sure one of the reasons I found Catfish to be weak if it's a documentary or a fictional story, is because the makers of Capturing the Friedmans got there first (on the casual footage that then becomes contextually essential and starts the ball rolling on an evaluation and study documentary) and did it better (on an everything sense, since Capturing the Friedmans is masterful in every way). It's easy to start watching the film thinking you'll get a satisfactory summary of the family dynamic, and maybe enough evidence to decide if more than a few disgusting people might have enabled the criminal acts, but you have so much to think about regarding human bias and the weakness of perception and self evaluation at the end it makes your head spin.

Runners-Up: Bus 174, 28 Days Later, Road To Perdition, Rules of Attraction, Irreversible, and Punch Drunk Love (the tone of which some people get confused about. Is it sweet? Is it worrying... you have to wonder how they would react if they left this (NSFW) scene in...)

2003: I had the strongest urge to be naughty and name my coblogger/boyfriend/kidney donor Ant's films, Things Best Left and The Most Boring Woman In The World :p One of them is award winning, but I know that's no justification.

I guess I'd say Finding Nemo, because within the first two minutes I cried. That's getting the tone right, that's what that is.
Runners-Up: Fog of War, American Splendor, A Mighty Wind, Oldboy (soon to be in Vengeance post), Big Fish.

2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. So many films can't even make you care about people really dying, and here Spike manages to get you to care about the death of just the memory of someone. Additionally, the movie stands as a impressive example of mastering narrative design, not just by what he chooses to show, but what he doesn't. He omits Winslet's experience during the process, which lends itself to the viewer imagining all the comparitive qualities of her struggle.
Runners-Up: Donnie Darko, Mysterious Skin, Hotel Rwanda, Hustle and Flow.

2005: Pretty Persuasion and Hard Candy. Hard to
choose, both display effortlessly commanding performances
from the leads, and the delicate nuances in both movies leave
you realising subtle details long after you've watched them,
and forgo a reliance on popular soundtrack (mostly in Hard Candy, entirely in Pretty Persuasion) prefering instead to
create the tone of a private universe. And again, both endings
are haunting, in their own special way, although as always I admire the interpretive touch to Hard Candy.
Runners-Up: Lady Vengeance, Good 
Night and Good Luck.

2006: Stranger Than Fiction. A sweet,
slightly magical vehicle for Will Farrell, or a fabulously multi-layered pondering on the story
of Jesus' sacrifice? Will probably embarrass myself with a long post on the magical realism
in this quite soon...
Runners-Up: The Departed, Children of Men, The Host, Little Miss Sunshine and When The Levees Broke.

Tough year; all the following – Hot Rod, Ratatouille, REC, Walk Hard The Dewey Cox Story, For The Bible Tells Me So, Hot Fuzz, The Mist.

In contrast, just one – WALL-E. God, I'm happy for kids today that they have Pixar, but super jealous as well. When I was a lil girl we had The Little Mermaid... the story of a bored girl so in love with some guy she agrees to no longer speak so she can fit into his social circle, great. As far as I'm concerned WALL-E is the most emotional film ever made. At least I cried for almost all of it so that must mean something right?

Another tough year, but easy to pick a winner - Moon. Easy because it's my favourite film of all time, even though it's too sad to watch much. Ant made us go see this as soon as it came out, and like so many small minded dickheads I went into with the word 'ZOWIE' bouncing around my skull, but after that we went to see it three more times. Jones' direction exceeds the word perfection, Clint Mansell's score is brilliant, and in some parts so emotional I personally think it should be legally banned from being accessible to anyone diagnosed with depression, and Sam Rockwell's performance doesn't just deserve the Oscar he didn't get, it deserves an award to be made for him that is officially recognised as one better than an Oscar.

As you can see, I might be classifiable as sycophantic about this particular film. Other films I loved this year are I Love You Philip Morris (absolute pure genius on every level, and best biopic ever made) and the coolest of cool District 9.

And back to Moon, here's a cute link for anyone as intense as me:

2010: Inception.

Runners-Up: Exit Through The Gift Shop =
proves that Banksy is inherently some sort of genius regardless of artistic approach. And Barry Munday, coming out of left field that turns into one of the loveliest romantic comedies in the world.

And finally, I know this year shouldn't count but as a Franco fan I feel I must mention Howl. As in, it's good, he's marvellous in it, people should see it.

So, now I'm sufficiently embarrassed by the length of this thing, I will say only

Hope you're not too miffed, Byee!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Bridesmaids movie: Rose Byrne/ Maya Rudolph/ Kristen Wiig + Toilet Humour = Funny

So we went to see Fast 5 last night; I've only seen the first one, Ant hasn't seen any, but he wanted to see why so many people he likes would be giving it a big thumps up, although other than Ebert I'm not sure who he means. I'll watch Dwayne Johnson in anything, and I've wanted a big screen fix of him since this tidbit of info popped up on the web and made me literally shriek with delight. So off we went to laugh at popcorn fluff, and it might be an exhilarating slew of gravity ignoring spectacle (defying suggests a thoughtful awareness, and the film's too stupid to be thoughfully aware) but it's a little too short on complete ridiculousness (not to mention no funny lines for The Rock; what the hell were they thinking!?) to be truly entertaining. And definitely not funny. Not that I was expecting hilarity, but I was expecting to be a little more engaged than I was. I was more entertained by this than I was the whole of Fast 5:

Today Now! Interviews The 5-Year-Old Screenwriter Of "Fast Five"

Last night the only time I laughed was before the movie even started - during a special sneak peek premiere for Bridesmaids.

Literally a premiere of a scene from the movie, an excellent strategic move and totally novel to me (is this really common?), and very effective - I personally had it set in my mind that I emphatically WAS NOT going to be seeing this film, even though I know that the talent behind it are right up my street. But good talent in a girly movie does not mean it won't be tiresome. There was a time when I like Katherine Heigl, and then she started doing all those girly films that looked like the message was a women is only really happy and complete when a man really does love and commit to her instead of just knowing you could have that if you wanted. Same thing with Anne Hathaway. if the films like that with Heigl and Hathaway ended up being about realising how much the female protagonists are wasting there lives chasing unhealthily things they don't even need, the trailers looked like the films spend a hell of a long time raping your eyes with all that Pre Women + Vote, pink and peach bullshit before the moment of epiphany. I could do without another film showing great actresses doing what appears to be any old conventional shit to raise their stock in Hollywood despite how vomit inducingly inane it is, sucking the life out of any humour that could be mined by sticking to safe social areas copying jokes for women that were only funny when they were new - say, 45 to 60 years ago.

And there lies the savviness of this 'premiere scene' before Fast 5. I rolled my eyes when the intertitle popped up after the trailer. I could accept sitting through the trailer, but watching a whole fucking scene! Then I realised just how many amazing actresses have agreed to be in the film (as well as the continually amusing incestuousness of Jupp Apatow productions - some SNLers, some The Office worker, some from random Apatow films, some from all). You have Rose Byrne, great in both SuperCereal roles like Damages and ridiculous charicatures like Jackie Q: 


And you have two of the best SNL headliners in the lead parts opposite her, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, both of whom pop up all over the place and tend to steal the show (Maya = Idiocracy; Kristen = Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Ghost Town; Dewey Cox/Walk Hard):

maya rudolph aka Whitney Houston by jenniesslave

Then there's Ellie Kemper, who I don't know much about but she's worked with the director before in the American version of The Office amongst other things, and there's this:

[This one's funnier, but she does less in it - Blind Date Sketch ]

And there's Melissa McCarthy, who I won't include a video of because, frankly, I can't find any that show how awesome she is, or at least nothing that doesn't hugely spoilerize at the same time, but she is fantastic, particularly adorable in The Nines, and small roles in loads of stuff. She doesn't do that many huge roles, and is wasting herself on a show about two fat people who start to date while they try and lose weight, which is one of those comedy shows designed to be safe that ends up being just boring. She should be a mainstay of SNL and Funny or Die, but apparently hasn't done any. In the next week I'll be seeing Pretty Ugly People (good title don't you think?) for a Melissa and Missy Pyle fix. Along with Melissa seems to be even more excellent actors in smaller parts, such as Steven Carell's wife and Jill Clayburgh in her last role.

The scene they showed is of the bride and flock of bridesmaids going to pick the dresses. It starts out with some obvious passive aggressiveness about the price of dresses but descends quickly into bodily function humour relating to the restaurant they just came from. And it's good. Lines are funny, performances solid, outcome (no pun intended) satisfying. And I was sold. And now, even though the trailers still look like it's just going to be one scene of female envy/pining/meltdown of one form or another, one after another, I'll go see it.

Clearly the intention. To say 'This film, yeah it's about all that wedding bullshit, but in a Hangover way, not in a 27 Dresses way, give it a chance, everyone's funny' to all us chicks out there who honestly don't horde a secret collection of chick flicks about women bonding over what they like or don't like about hair, shoes, couture, nails, getting the ring, male physique and karaoke. I guess they figured showing the clip before Fast 5 would target several audiences:

1) Girly girls going to see Fast 5 cos their man or date wanted to, who will see Bridesmaids anyway.
2) Normal girls who like a bit of peachy girliness in proportion and like a bit of action in proportion, doesn't matter.
3) Tomboys who would never go see this cos of all the obvious obsession with all the conventional social cliches that tomboys don't care about.
And 4) The guys who might go see it cos toilet humour might mean it's not gonna make him want to stick glass in his eyes, and he n the chick next to him in Fast 5 seem to be laughing at *shocker* the same bits, so maybe a chick flick wouldn't be so bad...

Or so I assume. I can't find that scene in question, but there's this - the slightly dirtier and therefore funnier version of the trailer:

As to Fast 5; it is what it is. Mini buzzkill info below but major spoilers. If you think such a thing is important with a Fast n Furious movie...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Forgotten Films of Childhood: The magic of IMDB Need To Know.

So, as of today my small but essential list of Enigmatic Films That I Saw Once But Can't Find (For Love Nor Money) has been resolved; IMDB's Need To Know section, for those cinephiles out there who are both wise and all-knowing, and endowed with a remarkable willingness to spend time answering the questions of idiots like me who dare to call themselves film buffs without putting the hours in.

About six months ago I asked about two films I saw late at night when I was about 11 or 12, something like that. As a fan of controversial films, and satirical films, I felt I couldn't ignore the niggle anymore, so I stopped googling myself and just asked IMDB. Within about an hour the Overlords of the Internet Movie Database gave me the answers.

Today I asked about the only other film I've wanted to find again but found impossible to find despite it being a fairly specific story - all I could remember was that it was about a war / revolution country, European I thought but not a country, I was, ahem... all that familiar with culturally. I could remember it was about an important man in the resistance movement having to go into hiding with his family, and they build a life in the bowels of a house, protected by a friend on the outside. But the friend is corrupt, and doesn't tell them when everything settles outside, instead keeping them in hiding for years, maybe decades for his personal gain, while the familial community continue to wait hopefully to be able to emerge. Instead of a dramatic story about war and violence, it was more about the family, the lost time through misdirected faith and trust they placed in their friend. Or so I remember.

Within four hours someone told me it's 'Underground' by Emir Kusturica. 

Seems all those times I just tried to google my way to it should have been enough, seen as it's won the Palme d'Or. Clearly I must have been googling all the wrong things.

Here's a clip from the film, though since I haven't seen this film in way over a decade, I have no idea if this is a huge spoiler or a mini spoiler...

Monday, 2 May 2011

Page Design - Feedback wanted!

I hate big tasks. Especially the ones that you have no aptitude for and need to learn from scratch because even the language used is totally alien to you. But unfortunately it's hit the point where that's what 90% of our time has to be on now. Ant's been dealing with some production stuff, refilming bits and pieces and finishing edits as ad when he can get his hands on a computer, usually my incredibly inadaquate laptop or super sexy computer of the marvellous Naz of White Mirror. Other than that though it's all those tasks that you're not even sure you're going to feel the effects of but apparently you have to try if you are going to be, you know, a real professional at some point. As Eat That Frog says, you're only as strong as your weakest part. Or something.

For me one of those tasks is to really understand and optimise using web tools, especially the new ones. I'm one of those people who doesn't even know what's gone past and is now considered laughably obsolete, let alone all the new innovations that pop up as and when. I don't even have a mobile of my own, and when I had one it, ahem, was not a smartphone. Now that is mostly about money, but certainly I could learn all about media communications and networking tools and project management that are freely available right?

In tandem with this, I like any other sensible person out there hoping to make films at some point with no day job of any sort, want to know about how to network with the rest of the film community. All of the resources, all of the best networking arenas, all the places to get all the news all the time.

I think everyone wants to be that if they take their future options seriously - to be the one who seems to know what's happening the same time or before everyone else does. Who puts it out there in the world and everyone else gets it from them.

But since that's monumental, so first things first - improving this blog. It's pretty barren, and even if we wrote better stuff on it, it would still be the blog of a technophobe tween. Need to fix it so that it's pleasing to the eye, but also flexible enough as a basic structure that things can be replaced, new things can be added and it still works without a jarring sense of sabotage.

So feedback, anyone who feels like it - what about my little first try at a blog do you like? What do you think sucks? What web 2.0 things (probably that I've never heard of, so feel free to patronise me with an explanation too) do you think should be added? What stuff have you seen on other sites that you think would work well, but like me you have no idea how to add them to a blog? Do you personally think wasting the sides is pointless empty space, or do you usually read blogs only on one side of the screen while you have other things open? Does light text on dark backgrounds do your head in?

Give Links! Give Criticism! I can take it. Any feedback will be appreciated just so I don't feel embarrassed by the web equivalant of:

I don't mind being ignored when I'm just ranting stream of consciousness but when you reveal you hope people are paying attention it's just pathetic if you're own voice just bounces back at you. You know, the difference between asking a few friends over for casual drinks for a quiet birthday celebration or hiring out a hall for a fancy dress ball and no one RSVPs....
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