Sunday, 30 May 2010


This movie is about a little girl whose scribblings turn out to be a foretelling of great disasters and losses of life. Her scribblings, sealed in a time capsule, end up in the hands of Nicolas Cage's son, and Cage - who believably plays a professor who teaches astrophysics at MIT. Really - deciphers the pattern.

The producers missed one major disaster off the list though – this fucking movie.

I've enjoyed Alex Proyas movies in the past, The Crow and Dark City spring lovingly to mind. But this? Utter gash. As we were watching, I said to my lovely wife, "I bet this was once a small indie script that Cage got involved in and then it became this bloated, nonsensical piece of shit." I romantically imagined it might be like The Man From Earth or something similar.

Aaaaaaanyway, Cage finds the little girl's daughter and granddaughter (the girl having grown up, bred and died), and tries to solve the riddles of the next disasters. He does end up Johnny-on-the-spot for two of them, big shaggy effects sequences that are noisy, daft and unnecessary, but then if they weren't there, what else could they have spent the budget on?

A decent script would have been great. Hell, a decent leading man would have been a start. There's a moment where - and there are spoilers ahead - Cage realises that not only is the world about to end, he is packing his son off to be with a race of aliens who will repopulate the earth after we're all ashes. His reaction? He falls to his knees with his mouth open a little bit, and says simply 'No'. Now, I'm not looking for over-reaction – just some recognisable emotion. Anything. A tremor in your face. A tear. Panic underneath, with strength on top to help your son be calm about his journey into the unknown... Anything but what I saw.

Hell, I could have made this much shorter by just giving you WonderWife's brilliant summary: "I'm looking forward to not remembering this film."

PS: The movie is worth watching for the aeroplane crash, which is ham-fisted at best, with Cage wandering around and trying to help people who are burning while wearing the same expression he has on for 7/8 of the movie. Then afterward when he's at home, he utters the wonderful line, "I keep seeing their faces… burning". Trust me, it's funnier than it sounds…

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Mr Holland's Opus

Mr Holland's Anus would be a much better title.

It's a long movie, and last night that was what I thought I needed. Something to get wrapped up in, and lose myself. And maybe even have a good cry with. And this movie... Well, it ticks all the right boxes. A teacher who doesn't want to be a teacher but ends up loving the job and pretty much living for it? Check. A difficult relationship with a deaf child - his own - which is complicated by his obsessive love of music? Check. Kids needing to be inspired by this man in the classroom? Check.

Lots of checks.

But it's just cold. There's no emotion at all in this film. It's too polished, it's too by the numbers, and there is just no heart here.

Oh, and it has a montage which got right on my tits. In the montage, to mark the passage of the late 60s and early 70s, there were clips of Hendrix playing, and of the Vietnam war.

Now, call me cold hearted, but Vietnam as a cultural reference is largely meaningless outside the US and yet somehow, all those worldly US writers and directors don't think so. As far as I am aware, the only thing that made the Vietnam war different to any preceding it, is the degree of and kind of reporting that came from the front lines. The access reporters had - and of course, television.

But outside America... It's just not important at all. Most people don't even really know when it was. And as movies are a global media, I think it's about time US filmmakers got off their lazy arses and started thinking a bit more. With the number of movies and type of movies there are about that war, you'd think millions of US troops died in a bloodbath rather than 58,000-ish. Don't get me wrong, that's bad enough, but in a sliding scale of war badness... It's just not on the list. So one brief mention, perhaps, then let's skip on to the clip of Nixon and be on our less-than-merry, let's-be-manipulated-clumsily-by-this-piece-of-shit-film way.

That's my rant over. Yopu want a decent weepie, avoid this movie and rent Fried Green Tomatoes or similar instead.