Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Watching this, I wished it was.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Play it to the bone

Imagine White Men Can't Jump without the wit or chemistry. Then make it just shy of 100 times shitter, and make it about boxing. Ta-daaaa, you have this film.

How can Ron Shelton make Tin Cup, Bull Durham etc and yet... Well, his bad films are truly, truly dreadful. Polar opposites.

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.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Year One

Hey, this blog still exists?

It's been a long time, kiddies.  And I honestly haven't seen a horrible movie in quite a long time.  I guess because we have so many films available on Netflix to watch instantly that I tend to stay away from the ones that I know are gonna be terrible.

Then a friend whispers tales of guilty chuckles into your ear, and against your better judgment you find yourself watching something like Year One.  And it is so awful, so mind-numbingly terrible that you can't even bring yourself to turn it off.  You just sit there, mouth agape, drinking in every last putrid drop.  As if a spell had been cast.  And nothing will ever be the same again.

What happened to Jack Black?  I remember he used to be funny, but when I try to recall it all I can really come up with is High Fidelity.  Has he ever been funny outside of that film?  And that was what...10 years ago?  That's a long time to be a major comedic film star AND be incredibly unfunny.  Well, at least this film had Michael Cera around, and he showed a much wider range of acting than in anything he has ever done previously.  Just kidding...he played the same character he always plays.  Just in a caveman outfit and a wig.

Honestly, the only reason I kept on watching this steaming turd of a film was the incredible number of supporting roles and cameos by folks whose work I usually enjoy.  David Cross, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde (yum), Oliver Platt, Bill Hader, Hank Azaria, etc...  I guess they all signed up because it was a Judd Apatow production and because director Harold Ramis once made Caddyshack.  That's it.  That's the only reason I can come up with.

Because this is clearly a film that should never have been made.  It's an embarrassment to everyone involved including the viewer.  It's like an unfunny History of the World: Part I.  Or an unholy union between the Dudley Moore flop Wholly Moses! and the Ringo Starr flop Caveman.  The bastard maniac child of two historic flops from the early 1980's, if you will. 

Did I just show my age there?  Crap.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Friday the 13th (2009)

Is it really a surprise to discover that this movie blows donkeys? Probably not. But I watched it anyway, to save you some time which, come the end of your days, you will thank me for.

A few years ago, I was editing a DVD magazine, and my dep ed was a few years younger than me. The original Friday the 13th came in for review, and I asked if he'd seen it, and was surprised when he said no. I asked him to take it home and give it a try, and he did.

The next day, he came into the office and said he now disliked Scream instensely, as he could now see the virtues of good horror, and Scream had... Ruined the magic, I guess. Like the magician that explains his trick from start to finish to kill the illusion. He was impressed with the set-ups, the editing (which is positively spanking), everything about it. Let's face it, the first Friday the 13th is just a good movie.

Hell, even some of the later incarnations were fun. Remember Friday the 13th Part II, where Jason was actually flawed and made mistakes, and wasn't some stupid-arsed killing machine? That was a fun movie too. Part 3 in 3D, then let's skip a few... Oooh, Jason Takes Manhattan is absolutely fucking hilarious, and of course Jason X is pretty damn good fun too, if a bit too self-effacing to work as a genuine horror movie.

But this piece of shit? I can't even remember how it ended, two days later. I can't remember the story, I can't even remember what Jason looks like in it. I really can't think of why it even got made, because it's complete and utter bumholes from start to finish.

Hang on, let me think. Some kids go out to Camp Crystal Lake, and they get killed. That's the first five minutes. Then they're dead.

Some other kids go out to CCL, and they get offed one by one too. One of them meets a bloke who's looking for his missing sister, who was in the first lot that got killed. Oh, did I mention that for no good reason, she is still alive in Jason's fucking huge underground lair? She is.

Erm... They find her, someone escapes, Jason gets a bit beaten up and stuff, and then the credits came and I was much happier because the nightmare had ended.

Even the effects were shitty in this. I mean, a friend texted me the next day and said "What was the Jason make-up like?" I had to tell him I couldn't remember. The last movie I saw that was this forgettable was Sister Act; two days later, I cannot remember a single detail from this movie. I wish I could tell you more, but a big part of me is glad I can't.

Just fucking avoid it.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Eagle Eye

I'm a fan of Shia La Beouf. I think that's how you spell it. I gather in America he's well known for some sitcom or other, but the first time I saw him in a movie it was the wonderful Holes. Since then, he can do almost no wrong.

Then I saw Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Ripped-Off Moviegoers. My mind started to change, but then I thought, no. If I were him, at his age, and I had the chance to be in an Indy film, I'd have done it too. Even if I might have ended up as the next Short Round.

Even my wife and stepdaughter like Shia. Last night, when debating what to watch on DVD, my wife said, 'I want to watch the one with the boy in!' That means Shia, Fact Fans.

So we watched Eagle Eye, which I had borrowed from my parents. That should have been the first alarm bell.

The movie is about a really clever dropout kind of person (Shia) – we know he's a clever drop-out because he has a conversation with his dad (the criminally under-used William Sadler) about dropping out of Stanford or somewhere. He's got a dead-end job in a copy shop (how do people who work in copy shops like these films? I wouldn't be that pleased if I'd seen this or, say, Never Been Kissed. Just saying).

One day, the day his identical twin brother is buried, he finds $700,000 in his bank account and a huge delivery of controlled materials in his apartment, like the kind of stuff you can make bombs with. His cell phone rings and a female voice (which sounded suspiciously like Julia Roberts) tells him the FBI are going to be there in 30 seconds and he needs to get out.

So far, so good. There's another character who is threatened with the loss of her child if she doesn't comply with what the mysterious caller wants, and they are thrown together for some reason or other that becomes clear later.

I was fine with most of this. I knew very early on that this was going to be a piece of shit because it looked a lot like another piece of shit, right down to the photography and dialogue – Tony Scott's cock-awful Enemy Of The State. But I hung in there, right up until the mysterious voice on the phone is telling Shia that if he doesn't get the man back who's come to collect him and woman-person in a van, that the man is going to die. Now, they're out in the middle of fucking nowhere, but for a load of really big electricity pylons which are right above them. How on earth is this man going to die? Hmmmm.

Death by fucking pylon.

After that, I was lost, and it's only maybe 30 minutes in to the movie. It really is downhill from there, and there's some ropy CG effects early on to boot (the train that whips past Shia as he's on the train line doesn't even ruffle his jacket, for fuck's sake. How lazy).

It turns out, the government – oh, SPOILERS, you hear me? If I haven't put you off yet, SPOILERS AHEAD! – has got this big old supercomputer that wants to kill the government for some stupid fucking reason, and Shia's dead twin brother put some sort of lock on it, so it needs Shia's face to unlock some shit or other, and it needs the woman to shoot him in the face once he's done it.

This film was so, so shit. I can't believe I stayed up late for it, especially when we could have watched more episodes of Friday Night Lights. Gah.