Category Archives: Film

SPIDER SPIDER SPIDER SPIDER SPIDER

y1p1DEnijtZafK23gnKlSRMIr3-di1pUqgQKTOHxdGKMd_F11HZoQnv6179LKtiOgQVz7obfwMSXwA6N62yBMwqLQWe I’m off on a Stag do for a couple of days so there will be no posts till Sunday (also the name of my favourite Beasties Boy song). So to tide you over I have posted 40 of the greatest minutes of your life. If you have never seen Italian Spiderman then sit back and enjoy the roller-coaster ride that it is. If you have seen the “Best of”, do yourself a favour and watch the whole thing!

Its bellow, enjoy…

Till probably Sunday,

Fall

That was 2012

iIj9HI3bpK1kSo new year has passed and all hail 2013 as we hurdle into its third week. Im pretty glad 2012 is over. Not that it was a terrible year, really it was a bit meh. Movies this year have been pretty good but I honestly only remember coming out of 2 or 3 thinking  “I would really like to see that again”. Fern Cotton also deemed this a glorious year for music on Christmas day Top of the Pops. Total pish. Music this year has been pretty poor. The Killers and Muse had new albums which failed to reach the bands past heights and as far as new music goes there was not much to write home about. Thankfully, due largely to Netflix  this year has been ace for TV shows. I have been able to catch up on shows I had never seen for one thing. Like about 80% of the people I know with Netflixs I started watching Breaking Bad for the first time and Dexter. This year also saw new sitcoms “New Girl” and “Don’t trust the Bitch in Apartment 23” which were excellent and the not to excellent but “It has its moments” How to be a Gentleman (staring Johnny  Drama/Kevin Dillon).

Ok, so now I will give my _____ of 2012. These might not have been made in 2012 but hey, this is my blog and these made my year!

Film of 2012

This was a really easy one in the end but I will quickly go through notes of intrest. Way back in January
The Gray came out. A film where basically Liam Neeson kicks the crap out of wolves (See here). Really enjoyed this film and thought it one of the better this year. There were alot of disappointing films at the start of the year to compensate. “Haywire” was a utterly underwhelming offering, “This Means War” was just terrible and the “220px-Dredd2012PosterDictator” did nothing for Sacha Baron Cohen’s reputation.On the upside there was “The Muppets” and “21 Jump Street” to keep things ticking along until SUPERHERO SUMMER where my number one sits. So it was a time for heroes and we got them in abundance, The Avengers Movie was nothing short of amazing. Great story, Great action, an all round amazing film but not my #1. “So its Batman?” you say. Nope. Another brilliant film but I had my issues with it (especially the ending) so is not top of the pile. “John Carter? The Expendables? Surely Ted doesn’t count?” Your right it does not, My number one film of 2012 is……. Dredd.

I loved everything about Dredd. It looked cool, its plot was really simple, the pacing of the dialogue to action was perfect. Essentially Judge Dredd and partner are lock in at the bottom of a massive tower block and need to get to the top to get out. Only problem is that everyone in the building wants them dead. There is more to it than that but not much more. Another plus point is that it is one of the only 3D films I have seen that was made better by the technology. My #1 hands down.

TV show of 2012

thickofit460There have been alot of great shows this year. As said above I have watched a host of excellent dramas but this year has been brilliant for sitcoms. I was losing faith in sitcoms, with the wealth of British offerings drying up due to the “give over rated comedian his own show” sponge. But this year i have see some great comedy. It has helped as old favourites  such as “30 Rock” and “Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia” have been bang on form and the new arrivals mentioned in the intro have added something fresh. Even hidden gems like “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret” and the unmissable “The League”  have brought a smile to my face. This year also marked the end of Limmys Show. It is a poor decision by the BBC to keep giving Russell Howard so much money than he knows what to do with it and pulls Limmys brand of off the wall comedy. Anyway to my #1 for TV is another series which has ended this year. Armando Iannucci stunning “The Thick off It”. I can only assume you have all watched this and if you haven’t, come on, sort it out. The satire is brilliantly clever and is perfectly mirrored by the eloquent strings of profanity from Malcolm Tucker. I personally love Armando’s work and if you haven’t see “The Armando Iannucci Shows” or “Time Trumpet” then give them a try.

Music of 2012 

Ah. Well. This could be tricky. Music this year has been disappointing to say the least. If its not Dub step or songs about Equestrian Eventing (I assume from the actions?) then theres not been alot of noise made about anything. Music has been quiet this year. That said The Hives were on Jools Holland at new year so at least it ended well! I suppose my album of the year was actually relased late 2011 but I never got hold of till last year. It is Los Campesinos! – Hello Sadness. Great album, will add a track below and for more on them head here.

Oh and I suppose my Song of the Year is this below from Bloc Party.

Internet Thing of 2012

Butterfield. Last year you stole my heart. www.peterserafinowicz.com/brian-butterfield/

Well that will do. Like 2012 this is not the best, maybe slightly rushed but hey! Lets get on with 2013.

Till next time

Fall

Review – 21 Jump Street

Learning from my mistakes

So last week “This Means War” left a bad taste in the mouth and I was desperate for something in the cinema that can be called a “brainless film” to be half decent. I don’t even demand to be wowed. I just wanted to have a little laugh and let the pool of dribble collect on the floor as a switch my brain off for 90 minutes. The decision to venture out and try another film of this kind straight away was a hard one. During the trailers last week I noticed this little film, “21 Jump Street”. Watching the trailer I laughed a couple of times (twice more than in This Mean War) but I was not convinced. What made me go was that I once said the same thing about another film starring Jonah Hill, “Superbad” and I was wrong not to go and see that.

So that’s where the  misleading by-line comes from. Not because this film is terrible. Far from it. Basically “21 Jump Street” was exactly what I was after and I didn’t let it pass like Superbad.

One thing that this film has on “This Means War” is that its funny. It even verges on really good at times. This is mainly down to the writers actually sitting down, reading out the jokes and physically seeing if it made anyone laugh. The writers of T.M.W. seemed to just take situations that might rise a laugh and inserted a mixture of funny sounding words and crude sex references. Where as the 21 Jump team have taken a story and then thought about how to make it funny. Basically they took a bit of time and craft unlike last weeks offering.

So what is 21 Jump Street? Well it was a T.V. series about young-looking cops going under cover in high schools and collages . Now I don’t know about you but I had never heard of the show before I saw the film. Little did I know that the show had ran for 5 seasons, having 103 episodes in the process and starred non other than Johnny Depp, so it must have had some class and a bit of a following. I don’t think the film takes a lot from the TV series other than the name and the concept. It is about two guys Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and  Jenko (Channing Tatum) who both head into police training after being polar opposites at High School (Tatum the jock and would-you-believe-it Hill the nerd). While training they become best friends and partners in the force. It goes a bit wrong for them when they attempt their first bust. After making a bit of a balls up they are put on the 21 Jump Street Crew because they can both pass for high school kids. They go under cover in a high school where lo and behold everything has changed. It is now cool to be a nerd and Hill’s character goes from the most unpopular kid in school during his own high school experience to being the cool guy. And in a “shocking” but not all that upsetting twist Tatum character goes from prom king to outcast. The guys are trying to bring down a drug ring and…well….you can kind of guess the storyline which concludes at Prom.

It is a very good story. It keeps ticking along nicely and dose not get to bogged down in little tangents like some similar films do. It keeps a good pace and the laughs have a good rhythm to them aswell. Basically you are looking at a film somewhere between Role Models and the remake of Starsky and Hutch.

I would also like to give a tip-of-the-hat to Jonah Hill for his role in this film. Not only does he star but he is also one of the writing double team. Now I have already praised the writing for an almost perfect brainless film but I think that Hill’s role has giving me a new-found respect for the guy. I liked him in Superbad but he seemed to be a bit of a one trick pony since then playing a slightly older version of the same character. He then had small yet decent bit parts in films such as Get him to the Greek and  Funny People. I was also not a fan of his work in Cyrus, mainly as he seemed to be doing that “Jonah Hill” role again. But I feel this film shows another side to him, which is also helped with his work developing the story line. I have definitely changed my view on the guy. He was also well received for his supporting role in “Moneyball” (a film I cant wait to see) which show he must be able to act beyond the “same old, same old” of his early career.

This film has also been giving the green light for a sequel which I am a bit unsure about. I’m never sure a film like this can endure another outing (god they tried/are trying with American Pie) but they are going to keep the same team and if they can come up with a good script, different enough to this film, then I suppose I am all for it.

So 21 Jump Street is well worth a watch, it’s no classic but what films have been lately.

Anyway,

Till next time,

Fall

Fall’s “Film That’s a Bit Different” Selection

An occasional piece looking at World Cinema or things you may not have seen

This is a new kind of article that I was toying with calling “World Cinema Film of the Week” but I don’t think it will happen as often as that. So what is this? Basically I am going to concentrate on giving your peepers something a bit different to watch from the usual action or comedy formulaic films of Hollywood.

So my first pick is a Japanese film called “The Machine Girl”. It’s may not be the best pick for something different I suppose. It has the Hollywood feel as it’s a film about revenge which has been done so many times in main stream cinema. I can’t think of the hook, the thing that makes it different. No wait…… the main character has a machine gun for an arm! Now she was not born with this. Here original arm (i.e. the one she was born with) was cut of by the Yakuza bad guy family after she went after them for killing her little brother and his friend. So she went to the friends family for help. They were mechanics and built her a machine gun arm. Pretty standard stuff for a film eh?

This film has the same visual effects director as Tokyo Gore Police ( Yoshihiro Nishimura)  which is another of my Favourite Japanese films. If you haven’t seen any of his work, it’s a bit like ever person in the film has the same blood pressure as a 54-year-old alcoholic Geography teacher who hates their life. Every time there’s a stabbing or a limb is cut off (about ever 36 seconds) then there is a high pressure fountain of blood. Very stylised and to be taken a little tongue in check. Certainly if you are looking for realism you have come to the wrong place. Then again if you look for realism you probably should pick up a DVD with a girl that has a machine gun where a hand should be.

So the film follow Ami as she attempts to kill everyone who is involved in killing her brother. Seems simple enough but there are scenes where she gets a tempura arm, where a man is tortures with nails in his face and a scene with a drill bra. Yip, a DRILL BRA. It’s not your average film and falls into the shock and gore genre of Asian cinema and is quite unlike any other area of film I have seen. What makes it different is that it doesn’t attack you with ridiculous shock gore all the time. At point you even forget that 5 minutes ago someone was cut in half in a geyser of blood. And then bang, 15 minutes of craziness before it settles down to a bit of average Asian drama.

Basically if you want to watch this film but are unsure, watch the first 5 minutes. If it’s not up your street then stop. If you have a stupid smile on you face like me then continue as you will love the whole crazy shamble that falls into order over the next 90 minutes. This won’t be up everyone’s street but it is on Netflix and I urge you to at least watch the beginning so you can chip in with opinion if anyone starts to talk about Japanese shock/gore films in the pub (happens all the time to me).

Right, well we will see how this goes down and if you want more of this kind of thing let me know with a wee comment and I will maybe make it a weekly post!

Till next time

Fall

Review – This Means War

The day I lost faith in humanity and worked out I a film snob

This evening it finally happened. I no longer believe that everyone is equal. It’s a lovely concept but in reality it can’t happen. I mean how can it when a whole cinema, not just a few people, laugh, openly laugh, through out this film. HOW! Ok, you might get the feeling I disliked this film from this opening statement. You are wrong. The film as a concept is sound. I could have been so much more if it had not been for terrible dialogue and being so bloody predictable.

So I went to see this film as one of these “you made me go and see *insert guy film title*” paybacks to the girlfriend. I thought it was a safe bet. A reasonably original concept, ok cast and a trailer which didn’t turn my eyes to a dribbling goo like most of the films the lady-friend thinks “might be ok”. I went in not wanting to pick holes in it, I just wanted to turn off my brain and enjoy a nice story, a bit of action and some general silliness. I didn’t happen. This review is not about picking hole, nope it’s about trying to find the edge on the gaping hole of the 97 minute shambles.

The problem isn’t the story. As I say the story is about as sound and a story about to CIA agents going out with the same girl can be. The two agents, FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are both in love with Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon) and use all manner of spy kit to hamper each others advances. All along some Russia mobster is trying to kill them when it is convenient to the storyline (this is a very muted storyline and is forgotten through out until its needed). Also Lauren Scott is given love advice by her friend Trish (Chelsea Handler) who is probably the worst character I have ever seen in a film (more about that below).

It also attempts to make a chick flick which is laced with action to interest dragged along boyfriends. A bit like cocktails that have beer or whisky in them. In doing so they kind of lose half the audience at each extreme and the bits where they meet are messy and a bit unpleasant to watch.

So as tradition dictates I am now going to a part with spoilers. Do yourself a favour and read it. You will thank me in the end (after watching this film I fear that’s not far off).

So first up is the completely predictable outcomes. Lets see if you can work it out what will happen from these three points.

1. One guy is American and the other is British and this film is made in America.

2. You find out at the beginning that the British character has a son to a mother he no longer lives with but she pops up from time to time.

3. A Russia guys brother is killed by the two agents at the beginning and he vows revenge.

So what happens? Go on have a guess!

Ok. She strings the two along, just as she is going to tell them who she has chosen she is kidnaped by the Russian, the two then save here, she picks the American guy (who is a bit of an asshole and kind of tricks her into liking her). The rejected British guy then gets back together with his wife and somewhere in there the Russia guy is killed in an explosion of some sorts. Now, here is a thought, how about changing it up a bit. Not have the same old formula. No chance that would require some kind of brain power by the writing staff.

This lack of grey matter when writing was also a problem with the dialogue. Lazy one liner, after lazy one liner. Quotes that don’t make sense. But the worst is the crud “girl chats” between Lauren and Trish. The Trish character fits the bill of  the fat crud guy role in an “Blokes” comedy. Think the bigger lass in that Bridesmaids film. What she says is embarrassingly crass and unfunny like shouting “That’s what we need, a SEX OFF!” in a soft play surrounded by children. Just loud and trying badly to be edgy for the sake of it. The story and the flow of the film is hampered by it and it tipped this film from poor to terrible in my eyes.

I also didn’t help that the “Live from the Red Carpet” crap during the trailers gave the punchline away to one of the only well-developed jokes in the whole film. This is where Tuck destroys the field at a paint ball game in a nice long montage of ass kicking. Then when talking to Lauren she accidentally shoots him in the crotch. It would have been a bit obvious but maybe would have raised a giggle if I had not known what was going to happen the second I clocked a paint ball gun. Not the films fault I suppose but cinemas need to stop crap like that happening.

On a positive Tom Hardy is very good in the film. I felt he played the role really well and I was even a tad pleased when he got a girl at the end. My respect for him has risen and he proved himself as a fine actor despite working with a terrible script. I also though that Reese Witherspoon come out with plus marks over all but Chris Pine struck me as a poor-mans Jason Bateman.

The thing that really gets me is that people will like this film. They will even say it was good when in reality it was terrible lowest-common-denominator  trash that had the potential to be so much more. I wish they had spent as much time on writing the script as they did on working on the concept.

God I hope the next film I see is a belter so I can be positive about it. Writing this was draining!

Anyway

Till next time

Fall

Imax: The Bigger the Better?

A Look at my First Imax Experience

So it has been about two months since the Imax opened at my local cinema in Edinburgh. Apparently it was an Imax many moons before but was scraped. So now it is back but so far the offerings of Mission Impossible 4 and The Journey 2 were doing nothing for me. These are not the kinds of films that will compel me to spend over 4 bucks extra rather than just using my pass. But this week something changed. The Cineworld realised that there are old Imax films they can show. So out of the blue they popped up a poster for “The Dark Knight” in Imax. Hell. Yeah.

So this week I stumped up the extra cash to see a film that I own on DVD to see what all the Imax fuss is about.

I had no real idea what the Imax was. I knew it was bigger and that was about it. I also had some crazy convention that it would somehow be kind of pop up, almost 3D but obviously that is a stupid notion. But that is the power of the myth of Imax, if you have never seen it you have no idea how it can really be any different to regular cinema.

So what’s the difference? Well it is a lot bigger. In fact the screen is almost the whole wall. To be honest even to see this when you first walk in is a fair spectacle. The main thing about the size of the screen is that when you look at the centre you can not see the edge so this immersed you in the film more. You feel a bigger part of the experience which after many years of cinema going is a rare effect for a regular screen to have. Also the picture is in HD. So it is like watching the HD film channel on your widescreen tv, positioned about two inches away from the screen yet feeling comfortable doing this. The other advantage is the sound. The sound is awesome. When there is actual music playing it can be argued that its to loud but as for sound effects it like it is happening in the seat next to you.

Is it worth the extra cash? I suppose it depends on the film. Most regular films on the Imax do not use the whole screen. The Dark Knight has about 30 mins that used the whole screen although it is still huge and HD in the other parts. I would be interested to see a 3D film in the Imax to see what effect that has as well. So, yeah. For the right film I would say that the Imax is worth it. I would also add that The Dark Knight is definitely one of those films.

Anyway, till next time

Fall

Review – The Muppets

CGI vs Sock Puppet Theatre

This is my long-awaited review of the New Muppet’s film. This is the first venture onto the big screens for everybody’s  favourite puppet characters for 12 years. Since Muppets Treasure Island there have been massive advances in technology and almost every kids film is now CGI (well at least the very best are). So will old Kermit and Miss Piggy be able to battle it out with Wall-e and the Toy Story Gang?

I was instantly worried when at the beginning of The Muppets as Disney had added a little Pixar short called “Short Fry” starring the Toy Story Cast. I am a huge fan of these shorts and own the DVD of them. I was exited but also a bit worried. This wasn’t a Pixar film so maybe Disney felt the movie was going to need this highlight  to soften the blow of a poor Muppets film. It was either under confidence in the feature film or they had a nice wee Toy Story short that Disney wanted to get out there. Thankfully it was the second and The Muppets was excellent, as was the short. The plot of the short is that a miniature Buzz Lightyear toy in a burger joint wants to get out of the display case his is stuck in. He sees regular size Buzz Lightyear in the ball pit and hatches a plan to escape in his place so he can be played with. The story also has a brilliant scene of a support group for “Happy Meal” toys who don’t get the love that other toys get.

So the Muppets. Basic premiss of the film is that Walter (a Muppet) and his brother Gary (played by Jason Segel) live in a happy-go-lucky stuck-in-the-50’s-esk place called Smalltown. Walter grows up being a huge fan of the Muppets as he feels he can identify with them (he never twigs that he himself is a muppet). When he joins Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) on a trip to LA they visit the Muppets studio which is run down and on its last legs. While there Walter finds out about an evil oil barons plan to take over the studio, level it and drill for the oil that lies below. He then finds Kermit, explains what’s happening and that they need to find 10 million dollars before the deadline. The only way to do this is to get the old gang together and put on a telethon to raise the cash. Can they get the gang together? Can they put on a show?

Here is where I usually give a whole “there maybe spoilers ahead” but there will only be one and it’s not critical to the film. I will however put a wee spoiler alert in italics when it coming!

So my thoughts on this film. I loved it. It’s the first film I have seen in ages that I couldn’t find a fault with. I’m not saying that they whole film is gold, it has its lulls but even these are entertaining and develop the story, but at its best it is brilliant. The film works on a few levels. First it takes the mick out of itself, it’s not at all serious and there are a lot of little nudge nudge references given to the audience.  It also has a wee go at the popular “singing” film where people burst into sporadic song by doing the same thing but with a “tongue in cheek” attitude to these scenes. One of these songs (Man or a Muppet) also won an Oscar for best original song.  It is also a really good Muppets story. All the main characters get their time to shine and whole film is entertaining, funny and really easy to watch.

Ok this paragraph has the small spoiler. Here I want to look at the subtle joke that is made when getting the Muppets gang back together. So the gang need 10 million dollars to survive but the “ONLY WAY” is to put on a show. Obviously it’s not the only way and as you meet each of the Muppets you notice that Miss Piggy (who is working high up for Vogue) and Gonzo (who owns a massive bathroom warehouse) could probably both afford 10 million straight off. Also Kermit lives in a Bel Air mansion which he could probably sell. At least between them they could stump up the cash. To drive this joke home Gonzo blows up his factory when he decides to joint the cause rather than sell it, for say, ten million dollars. I liked this. It kind of looks that the decision making of characters in films and makes a joke about them (like when you can’t understand why a character did one thing rather that the easier and more effective option other than it makes the film better).

Last off I would like to mention the cameos in the film. There are loads but they are done really well. I will not tell you who they are but the best are when Walter looks into the mirror and sees a human version of himself and the person who plays drums in the Muppets tribute band in Reno.

I would advise anyone to go and see this film. It’s really good and I probably should have gone to see this again instead of seeing Ghost Rider!

Till next time

Fall

Review – Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Can Old Saint Nick (Cage) get back to his best? 

So. I was going to write a review of the Muppets, which I went to see last night but something happened. A friend of mine asked if I would like to go to the cinema today. I said “Sure, not up to anything. What is on that you have not see?”. Now my friend frequents the cinema a lot and the only real option was “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”. First thought was “Ok. Nick Cage. Good in Kick Ass but was also in The Wickerman making a fool of himself” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6i2WRreARo) So I went in with an open mind, as you need to if you are going to write about a film. Especially a Nick Cage film.

So whats it about? Well if like me you missed the first film this is how it was explained by my mate. Johnny Blaze (worst name ever for comic book character) makes a deal with the devil to keep his dad alive. The devil doesn’t keep the deal but still puts the spirit of some kind of evil vengeance angle into him. Every now and then Blaze’s head…well…. turns to a blazing skull and he then kills all evil people around him with his really hot chains. Ok. You got that? Cool. Also in the last film he quests to get rid of his split personality but when he is told he can ditch his fiery head he chooses to keep it. This is also the main theme of this film. He is the Ghost Rider. The son of the devil shows up and he needs to save him past the day of the “ritual” because he fancies the kids mum. He also thinks there is a good angel stuck in the bad angel that is stuck in him. Not complicated at all.

So let’s get this out of the way right now. Its getting to be a bit of an elephant in the room. You want to know what I thought? Well….. it was terrible. Not in a movie snob way but in the way that it was so boring even during the action sequences. Also Nick Cage is trying act his way to a contender for his performance in the Wickerman. He over acts everything, his one liners are delivered with the timing of a whale in tap shoes and he has one sequence where he intimidates a “bad guy” he is squawking and moving his head so much it looks like the Family Guy impressions of Bill Cosby. In fairness this scene was hilarious but i feel was never intended to be.

Talking of Family Guy jokes, one of the bad guys had the power of decay (despite decaying anything he touches ( i.e. swords or monks) he can still drive a car?). So he tries to eat food from a lunch box in a bit of light hearted “bad guy” comedy. He has an apple but lo and behold it rots as he raises it to his mouth. The same happens to the sandwich he has a go at.  But then he picks up a Twinkie and (lol) it doesn’t decay. “HAHAHAHAHA, U KNOW LIKE IN FAMILY GUY!!! ROFLCOPTER!!!”. This is also the only joke in the whole film. The rest is terribly dull action sequences and shocking one liners. The main problem is the film can not work out what I wants to be so tries everything. Its a bit of a mess really.

I don’t really what to continue with this review. It is to easy to pick apart and I am trying so hard to find a positive. Maybe if you have nothing better to do you can go and have a laugh. The only upside I can see is this film will allow you to appreciated better films more having seen this dross. So technically this film is doing a lot of good by lowering expectations so that average films will now be  seen as “quite good”. That a positive I suppose!

Nick Cage needs to take a long look at himself, then he will look at all the cash he has and not feel so bad I suppose.

Coming soon my Muppets review.

Till next time

Fall

Review – The Artist

Was this quiet film better than the “talkies”?

So about 6 weeks after its gerneral relese and countless nominations for awards I finally took an afternoon trip to my local cinema to see the Artist. The critics love it, my friends all love it and to be honest I have not heard a bad thing about it. But here’s the thing. I never fancied it. I like to think of myself as a open minded cinema goer and especially love works that have come from France (such as this film) but the idea felt like flying the Atlantic in a hot-air balloon instead of taking concord. Fun for a bit but is there any point in going backwards. So I went in thinking “why bring back a form of film which has been dead for such a long time and in these times of rehashing anything, why has this not been done before”. But that is no way to head into a film so I cleared my mind and sat down to watch this critically acclaimed jont around 30’s Hollywoodland.

Basically the story itself is one you have seen a thousand times before not only in films but in TV shows every week. Its essentially the story of the main character George Valentin’s fall from mega star of silent film to his talents becoming obsolete due to the introduction of talking films and his reluctance to change to the new media. Subsequently he tries to fund his own silent film, losses all his money and has a full on break down. At the same time Peppy Miller, a nobody at the start of the film, works her way up to be the biggest star of the “talkies”. The slight twist being that her fake mole was first suggested by George at the start of her career (think of the whole creating your down fall irony type of thing). The film charts the years where silent film dies and Peppy grows to stardom while George plummets as their lives collide from time to time. Also John Goodman plays the studio boss throughout the flick and is a nice familiar face in a cast of new meat to me.

Ok same deal as usual. I am now going to look at some of the themes and my opinions of the film so there maybe a few spoilers beyond this point. Although im pretty sure I am the only person on the planet that hadent seen the film before today.

First off I want to look at the theme of the death of silent film that runs throughout and sees Georges fall from grace. Obviously it is one of the quirks of the film that it looks at the history of the transition between silent movies and talking film but as The Artist is a silent film so you hear non of this new media. I makes the film feel as if it is being told from the perspective of the silent film or someone who is stuck in their ways and will not accept the new technology. Which fits well with Georges character and gives the film a feel of him being nostalgic and down on his luck rather than a loser or foolish . But this is as good as the depth to characters gets for me.

This is where I start to find small faults in the film. The main one for me was character development. The fact that this was a film without dialogue made it really hard to get to know the characters. I felt removed from them, and as this was a film about emotions, I personally found it hard to feel for the characters. Don’t miss quote me in saying that the acting was poor. Far from it, I though it was outstanding, but even with these great performances I could not connect with either George or Peppy. Also there is a lot of reliance on George dog to show what was going on.  It is easier to show threat if there is a dog barking (even silently) or even Georges embarrassment if the dog is mimicking him. I one way I see this as clever to make it easier for the audience but with a film which is taking so many awards, I would have wanted the characters to be deeper than I felt they were.

All in all I feel this is maybe not a great film but a great cinema experience. I do not think that I will want to see The Artist again but I am happy I went to see it. It is different and it works but I feel the film would have been much better with dialogue to develop the characters since the story was so predictable. I feel with dialogue the romance would have been deeper between the two main characters and history of silent film, which was the umbrella of the film, could have played a bigger role, which it probably deserved as that has not been in mainstream cinema for a long time. Its a film worth seeing but I think it could have been improved by the inclusion of dialogue. Funny that the lack of this is the one thing that makes the film more famous that anything else.

I know this will not be a popular review so add a comment if you agree or disagree with anything.

Till next time

Fall

Seeing Double

A quick article about actors playing two roles in a film

With Adam Sandlers new movie Jack and Jill released, I was thinking about actors playing two parts in the same film. Does it ever work? In the case of Jack and Jill I couldn’t bring myself to hit the cinema to watch it. The trailer was hard enough to watch. I mean Adam Sandler playing is own sister and all he does is puts on a wig and talks with a high pitch lisp. Sends shivers down my spine. Also this is an American “holiday” film. Released in November over there and takes in the whole winter festive season. Just what we need in February! It also has a Rotten tomato rating of 3% (www.rottentomatoes.com) so I am going to give it a pass. If you want to watch the trailer I post it below (Good luck!).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHKTXrUnN58

 
So is that it? Are there only two films to try this? Are there no good films where the actor plays more than one part?Well…. not many but there are a few. For starts all the Monty Python films have each member playing several roles. Then again they did that on a weekly basis on the TV so  it may not really count.So what other films come to mind that use the same method. Well the first that came to mind is Eddie Murphy in the Nutty Professor where he plays the Klumps. Basically after the first film someone decided that fat suits were funny and gave a massive budget to the production team for more of the same in the sequel. But you already have the fat suit from the last one. What to do? Ah! Eureka! Lets make more characters for fat suits and buy a few more of different sizes. They then got on to the phone to Eddie Murphy asking if he could come up with more fat suit characters. And did he deliver! Old fat man who farts, old woman who farts, child that farts etc. It’s not a classic but the Nutty Professor has its child film charm I suppose. This may be the problem with Jack and Jill, that it has no identity. Is it a comedy? Is it a kids film? A family film? A frat boy film? God knows!

The one that breaks the mold is Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove. The film is one of my all time favourites and doesn’t make a big thing out of Sellers playing three of the main parts. Of course he plays the Group Capitan, The President and Dr. Strangelove himself. This is not because of a gimmick but because Columbia pictures would not finance the picture if he didn’t play at least 3 main roles. So it’s not cause Sellers would be funny playing three roles but because they were so impressed by his acting, they didn’t want anyone else for these parts. The fact it was not a comedy device makes it very different from the two films above.

So can a comedy work with this formula or will it always fall short. No. There is one film franchise that I love and one actor again plays three main characters. This being Mike Myers in the Austin Powers films. Here Myers plays the two main characters Austin and Dr. Evil, and one support part as Fat Bastard.  I suppose it is pretty obvious that it’s the same actor but I don’t think you are aware of it when watching the film. You dont suddenly think “isn’t that funny the same actor talking to himself”. Unfortunately that seems to be the main hook of Jack and Jill. The joke is that Sandler is talking to himself in drag, Nudge nudge wink wink. I think most folk just wished he had just kept that to his own bathroom mirror and not across our cinema screens.

Anyway. In conclusion, for this ponderous and not well planned out article, I feel that the actor playing more than one role can work but it needs a special mind, who has excellent comic timing and is able to bounce of dialogue which can’t be done live. In this film they cast Adam Sandler.

Till next time

Fall

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