The deadliest, jelliest site ever. Brought to you by Niamh Shaw

Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Film review: RED movie

Wherein Helen Mirren demonstrates how to fire an automatic machine gun, which is: TOTALLY wearing a white ballgown.

Now, when I first saw him in ‘Moonlighting‘, I was staunchly undecided about Bruce Willis. Mainly it was that self-satisfied smirk. What did he have to look that smug about?

Hindsight shows us that, evidently, Bruce knew something we didn’t. Possibly many things. That Demi Moore would find him irresistible, or that hair would prove over-rated.

Unlike Harrison Ford or Rupert Everett, Bruce just improves with age. Ok, perhaps the first comparison is a little unfair, given that Harrison’s thirteen years older. However, I seem to recall that in Six Days Seven Nights (1998), Harrison was giving the famous Ford pop-eye to Anne Heche who was precisely half his age at the time. I would now express myself with a moving range of flatulence had I had the personality of a 15 year old teenage boy. Let’s all be thankful I don’t.

Anyway, we like Bruce (that’s the royal ‘we’). He’s just the type you want around when hitmen are dropping into your garden from a hovering helicopter. Or when you need to defuse a bomb under your kitchen. Let’s face it: there will never be a circumstance under which you wish Tom Cruise were handy (I can point at things quite adequately myself). Or Brad Pitt, because I can’t spare the hairdryer and, happily, my husband has more raw sex appeal and if you doubt me let me just refresh your memory.

What’s that you say: biased?

Who, ME?

Ok, well . . . SO?

Wanna start a Thing?

BRING IT.

Now, over the weekend we saw Bruce’s latest vehicle ‘Red’ at Top Town Cinema. So, um, I suppose it could best be described as a comedy action thriller with some romance.

Actually, ‘loud’ would probably have covered it.

Bruce stars as Frank, a retired ex-CIA black-ops employee, whose life revolves around pointless press-ups, growing an avocado plant, and tearing up his pension cheques so he has an excuse to call the Customer Service Rep. This is Mary Louise Parker, who – I’ll be upfront about it – ranks at the Jolie end of the scale i.e. (for those who are not familiar with my Tyler/Jolie Scale of Unbearableness) annoys the crap out of me, yes, even in ‘Weeds’. Anyway, in ‘Red’ she plays another annoying character, one who is more interested in having telephone sex with OAPs than doing her fucking job yet sees no irony in bemoaning her lacklustre love-life.

This state of affairs all changes when a squad of hit-men break into The Bruce’s house to rub him out. Bruce dispatches them all within about three seconds of screen-time by strangling them with his dressing gown cord.

Stopping en-route to pick up a protesting Mary Louise Parker for her own protection (thankfully he also duct-tapes her mouth shut, presumably for the viewers’ protection), Bruce goes on the run. On the way, he attempts to figure out who’s trying to retire him permanently, the answer to which involves many interested parties including big business, politicians, and the good old CIA; and so complex as to make virtually no sense whatsoever.

Bruce also finds some spare time to get his old team together, all of whom are also classified RED – ‘Retired, Extremely Dangerous’. If the baddies had only done a little due diligence and watched Diehard with a Fucking Vengeance, they would have realized how ED Bruce Willis is.

In fact, this constitutes one of my main issues with the film. Bruce and his cohorts – John Malkovitch, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren – are apparently inviolable, which is nice for them, but doesn’t make for much in the way of dramatic tension.

Even when Bruce breaks into the impregnable CIA HQ, how about a bit of decapitation or something to demonstrate how dangerous it is? I don’t want to be TOLD it’s a suicide mission, then watch Bruce strolling around smirking at trained CIA operatives who want to kill him if they only knew it.

The other thing was, the movie should have been MUCH funnier. So much potential, but the jokes all seemed tired – in fact, exhausted would be a better word. For example, Bruce chatting up MLP on the phone, who mentions she’d like to travel, go to Chili; she asks if he’s ever been and what it was like.

Afterwards, he smacks himself around in a horny orgy of self-loathing, for responding, “It was night.” Granted, it’s not the smoothest of responses, but there are worse. “I had Delhi-belly the whole time,” for instance, or, “Sometimes I think of you licking stamps and masturbate.”

In another scene, MLP reads ‘Forbes’ upside down in the CIA staff canteen. Now, if actors are paid seven-figure salaries, shouldn’t they be required to PROJECT distraction instead of resorting to reading a magazine upside-down? At this point, I’m convinced Forbes actually prints some editions with the cover on upside down so that actors don’t have to strain themselves.

Then we had Helen Mirren settling in for some girl-chat over an automatic weapon. “If you break (Frank’s) heart,” she threatens MLP, “I’ll kill you then bury your body in the woods.”

I suppose, coming from a career assassin, it was supposed to leap off the screen with a new twist, but it just . . . didn’t.

So, as to how many stars to award Red, I’m conflicted. No doubt, the film was above-average entertainment. But with that cast – which was so awesome I forgot to even mention Karl Urban – and the concept – it should have been SO MUCH BETTER.

The execution should have been a clean kill, but was sloppy and indecisive.

The action was over-crisp, yet under-cooked.

It hurts me to do this, but I wouldn’t be doing justice to either you or me if I didn’t deduct a star for the wasted potential. Trust me. The alternative would hurt A LOT more.

2/5

Film review: Star Trek The Future Begins Movie

Q: How many ears does Captain Kirk have?
A: Three. The left ear, the right ear, and the final frontier.

091002 Star-Trek

On Saturday evening, Jed and I went to MarkJ’s house, where his brother supplied the latest Star Trek movie. It was an amusing, entertaining film, and if you think I’m only saying that because I don’t know MarkJ’s brother well enough to slag off his taste in movies, I appreciate your dilemma. You’ll have to use your discretion. Sorry.

Star Trek 2009 is a reboot of the Star Trek franchise, telling the back-story of the crew and the series of flukes via which James Tiberius Kirk comes to be captain of the Starship Enterprise.

No idea what the plot is about. It involves a fleet of Romulans. I’m not sure why the producers didn’t choose more compelling intergalactic villains for the franchise premiere – for example, the horny-headed Klingons; or the terrifyingly ridiculous-looking and inalienly strong Gorn. But there you go.

Anyhoo, the Romulans pootle around the universe applying impressive special effects to planets. Apart from that, even Eric Bana’s freakishly small head fails to make the Romulans look the least bit threatening. They have no exoskeletal anomalies, no surplus proboscises, no multiple recessed jaws; they are even a standard Caucasian colour. Although their blood is greenish-yellow, there isn’t half enough of it splattering about the set.

I suppose they do have impressive cranial tattoos – but then so do lots of people – I mean, it’s hardly chillingly blood-crawling.

Q: How many Star Trek landing party members does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one, but the extra red-shirt will die in the attempt

The movie introduces Kirk as a foetus, and unfortunately the character does not appear to mature in any measurable way throughout the course of the movie apart from a rudimentary mastery of his motor functions. Impossible as it may seem, Chris Pine’s incarnation of Kirk made me wistfully yearn for William Shatner.

091102 Kirk

Even Uhura, embarking on her mission to boldly sleep her way to the top, keeps Kirk firmly at bargepole’s length. Which tells you all you REALLY need to know.

But since you asked nicely, I will of course tell you more.

Kirk is so whiny and boisterously annoying, you want to ground him until he reaches adulthood – about 20 years. The only new life forms he is interested in seeking out are the female variety (demonstrating a disturbing fetish for bottle-green redheads).

Q: Does Kirk become the first cadet in the history of the Academy to outwit the Kobayashi Maru Simulation with his blistering intelligence and encyclopaedic knowledge of Klingon war strategy?
A: No, Kirk CHEATS.

Q: Following his suspension from the Academy, does Kirk unexpectedly disguise himself as the First Officer and blag his way on board the USS Enterprise?
A: No, he is smuggled aboard by his friend.

Q: Does Kirk detect a Romulan trap using his powers of deduction and encyclopaedic knowledge of Romulan war tactics?
A: No; by pure chance, he overhears Uhura talking about it in her underwear (although the fact that he recalls the information at all with Uhura clad only in her underwear is undeniably admirable).

Even worse, Kirk’s bravery does not translate to skilled combat.

Q: When a Romulan is stamping on Kirk’s fingers as the rest of him hangs from the edge of a drilling platform, does Kirk lunge for his assailant’s ankle and pull himself back onto the platform while simultaneously hurling the Romulan to his death?
A: No, Sulu saves Kirk’s dangling ass with a timely sword thrust.

Q: When another Romulan is in the process spanking Kirk with nothing more than his fists and a big sneer, does Kirk distract him with a talking newt before bludgeoning the Romulan’s head to a fine paste with his thumbs?
A: No, he pulls the Romulan’s own gun on him.

And this is the permanently pubescent person chosen to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations and boldly pilot the USS Enterprise where no man has gone before.

In fact, the only positive character attribute exhibited by Kirk is a totally unfounded bravery.

Well, Kirk might be brave, but so is Rambo, and I wouldn’t hand the reins of the Starship Enterprise over to him.

Although I would if the only alternative was Kirk.

The vaunted friendship between Kirk and Spock is made possible only by virtue of Spock’s paucity of emotion.

091102 Fascinating

For some reason, the story features two Spocks. Obviously, this is a good thing – but replacing Kirk with Spock altogether would have been better still.

Spock’s ears appear to have been ‘modernised’ into immobile wax sculptures on either side of his head. Why? WHY? What was wrong with Spock’s original aural devices? I’ll tell you what: NOTHING. Spock’s ears used to be sublime perfection: those delicate pinnacles of silicon pointiness that looked like they might fly off into the control console at the slightest hint of turbulence; that, when you flicked them with your index finger, made a satisfying thwippety thwippety sound that resulted in a cochleal orgasm.

Q: How can you improve on that?
A: You can’t.

Terrific movie; well worth a watch.

Lank hair

And then there was Proof, during which I was mentally violated by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Proof

To avoid charges of bias, I will fess up right here. I mean, you can still charge me with bias, but since I will have admitted it, there seems little point, hmm?

Here is the basis of my bias: Gwyneth annoys the crap out of me. There is nobody else whose hair I want to pull more. And Baby CHEESES will someone ever give the woman a carb? She is critically in need of a feed of rice pudding. You can actually see her wasting away on screen.

Gwyneth evidently attended the Tom Cruise School of Acting, whereby as long as you have a minimum freaky charisma allied with plasticity of skin, you can employ one, single gesture to cover all human emotion and pass it off as acting. (In Tom Cruise’s case, this is of course the double-hand point. In Gwyneth’s, a bewildered frown with eyes crossed.)

Director: Cut, cut, CUT! Goddamit! Babydoll, get your sweet ass over here!

Gwyneth: I presume one is referring to me.

Director: Who? Yeah, whatever. Gwynnie honey. Since your features are so pale and indistinct, we need you to – what’s it called again? – oh yeah. We need you to ACT more.

Gwyneth: I can act you know. I won an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love.

Director: What’s that? You might want to speak up while you’re at it. I want you to EMOTE. I want to see the spit, I wanna FEEL the sweat. Set to it, there’s a good girl.

Director (aside to sub director): Stupid bitch. Needs a good feed of rice pudding.

I have no idea how she won an Oscar, although I can only conclude she must have donated many varied and nasty sexual favours to the entire Academy.

Now that’s out of the way: in Proof, Gwyneth plays the petulant, whiny, lank-haired daughter of a brilliant mathematician. She gives up her own studies when dad goes woopdewoohoo and then misplaces his mortal coil. Then her father’s student finds a notebook containing a mind-blowing proof to some theorem, which Gwyneth claims she wrote.

Honestly, it’s a stretch believing Gwyneth is capable of forming coherent sentences, never mind that she is a mathematical genius.

Gwyneth’s character is consumed by the likelihood of following her father into insanity. She appears to be crazy because she fears going crazy. Which is undoubtedly tragic but no more than, say, genocide – or any number of other things.

Her sister is supposed to be a harridan, but all I felt was sympathy for her. She turns up the day before their father’s funeral try to persuade Gwyneth to wash her hair – I completely understood where she was coming from – and Gwyneth gets all snotty about hair being dead tissue so Jojoba Oil won’t make any difference. Well, I’ve used Jojoba on my own dead tissue and the stuff is a miracle, so that shows you how much she knows.

Jake Gyllenhaal is her father’s former student, the drummer in a rock band of maths geeks. This time I suspended disbelief – hung it by the neck until dead – and then tried swinging it around and juggling it a while, but it was no good: maths geeks are just not that good looking. Trust me. I studied maths, and we were a dull looking bunch of monobrows. The best bit in the movie is the band’s song ‘i’, comprising three minutes of silence.

Disregarding all that, the movie is worth a watch.

He’s Just Not That Into You

I was mentally violated at MarkJ’s last night.
Of course, camp and all as it is, we should have watched The Long Kiss Goodnight. Geena Davis – despite that Mount Rushmore quality chin – maybe even BECAUSE OF that monumental mandible – was totally hot before she married Renee Harlin and became a sex slave instead of an international superstar.I’ve always loved that iconic scene where she’s strapped to the mill-wheel and, instead of just drowning her, the baddies dunk her a few times for laughs and to see what she looks like in a wet t-shirt, giving Charly the opportunity to escape her bonds and seize upon a submachine gun discarded on the bottom of the mill pond and blast their motherfucking heads off. God, get a load of the language out of me! It really IS true: movies breed violence.
MarkJ had prepared no shortlist, so I picked out some movies whose titles sounded optimistic, but they were lesbian flicks and MarkJ gave me a hard time, implying I was a lesbian. I have to say, he obviously had a disproportionately high number of lesbian flicks in his collection, so I’m not sure what that says about MarkJ except that maybe HE’S a lesbian.
Generally, a good romcom will do the trick for me – but that one, innocuous, often misapplied, little word ‘good’ disqualifies most contenders.
MarkJ suggested ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’, hastily qualifying this by saying he hadn’t watched it himself yet. The movie is based on the book of the same title, a self-help book whose premise can be condensed into one multiple choice question:
So, you meet a guy, and he says he’ll call, but he DOESN’T and then, when you ring HIM, you get his voicemail, so you drop by his house because you were just passing by ANYWAY, and he sets his dogs on you and later the police arrest you because of the restraining order – but dammit, how were you to know? – so does he:
a) like you
b) not like you
c) not sure
Personally, I learned that lesson at the age of sixteen (I have the teeth marks to prove it) and have no idea how they made a whole book out of the subject. But if you answered a) or c) you might want to pick up a copy.
Anyhoo, the movie is about a group of couples and one slapper, all of whom either break up and then get back together, or are together and then break up. It was somewhat lacking in dramatic tension although regrettably not cliches. Also, you could see the plot twists coming like giant, inflatable pretzels being towed behind a light aircraft.
The characters were pretty much uniformly one-dimensional and unlikeable, apart from Jennifer Aniston who couldn’t pull off unlikeable if she whined like Gwyneth Paltrow while torturing a puppy.
There’s Gigi, who does not appear to have any pride, which is just as well because she would routinely shove it up her bum. She calls guys, she leaves multiple insane voice messages, she stalks, she quizzes men on what they mean by ‘Nice to meet ya’, and she appears to have a worrying fetish for obscenely hirsute legs. (Note: this character is supposed to be a twenty something everywoman, rather than a thirteen year old with a crush on Robbie Williams.)
Gigi gives a tremulous, impassioned speech about how her actions may be so cringeworthy that I could only watch it through my fingers and MarkJ pulled his t-shirt over his face, but that at least she’s daring her heart and feeling something or . . . something. SHE IS TRYING TO MAKE A VIRTUE OUT OF STUPIDITY! It’s like trying to make a virtue out of . . . of . . . crack cocaine addiction, or the Atkins diet.
What else? Scarlett Johanssen stalks a married man, and then gets all upset when he bundles her into a cupboard half-naked when his wife calls to his office (I know, UNBELIEVABLY cliched) (this scene was also more cringe-worthy than a Fawlty Towers finale). I hate to think of a slut like Scarlett throwing herself at Husband. At least I know he would say: “Scarlett, I know you want me. That’s understandable. But step away from the lunchbox. I mean it. I am madly in love with my wife, and you have thick legs.”
Then we have The Wife, who was more concerned whether her husband was smoking on the sly than shagging some slut (see above). And then The Wife finds a packet of cigarettes wrapped in his gym towel – but I ask you: if someone is trying to cover up an illicit smoking habit, do they really HIDE packets of cigarettes? Surely they SMOKE THEM? I would have thought illicit smokers bought packs of twenty, went to a secluded spot, and inhaled the lot of them, one after another, in a furtive five minute session before burning any remaining evidence.
Well, that’s what I would do.
So, I don’t recomment He’s Just Not That Into You.
And don’t get me started on the other movie we watched.
Great evening though – thanks MarkJ

I was mentally violated at MarkJ’s last night.

Of course, camp and all as it is, we should have watched The Long Kiss Goodnight. Geena Davis – despite that Mount Rushmore quality chin – maybe even BECAUSE OF that monumental mandible – was totally hot before she married Renny Harlin and became a sex slave instead of an international superstar. I’ve always loved that iconic scene where Geena’s strapped to the mill-wheel and, instead of just drowning her, the baddies dunk her a few times for laughs and to see what she looks like in a wet t-shirt, giving her the opportunity to escape her bonds and seize upon a submachine gun discarded on the bottom of the mill pond and blast their motherfucking heads off. God, get a load of the language out of me! It MUST be true: movies breed violence.

MarkJ had prepared no movie shortlist, so I picked out some films whose titles sounded optimistic, but they were lesbian flicks and MarkJ gave me a hard time and implied I was a lesbian. I have to say, he had a disproportionately high number of lesbian flicks in his collection, so I’m not sure what that says about MarkJ except maybe HE’S a lesbian so there.

Generally, a good romcom will do the trick for me – but that one, innocuous, often misapplied, little word ‘good’ disqualifies most contenders.

hesjustnotthatintoyou

MarkJ suggested ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’, hastily qualifying this by saying he hadn’t watched it himself yet. The movie is based on the book of the same title, a self-help book whose premise can be condensed into one multiple choice question:

So, you meet a guy, and he says he’ll call, but he DOESN’T and then, when you ring HIM, you get his voicemail, so you drop by his house because you were just passing by ANYWAY, and he sets his dogs on you, and later the police ARREST you because of the restraining order – but dammit, how were you to know? – so does he:

a) like you
b) not like you
c) not sure

Personally, I learned that lesson at the age of sixteen (I have the teeth marks to prove it) and have no idea how they made a whole book out of the subject. But if you answered a) or c) you might want to pick up a copy.

Anyhoo, the movie is about a group of couples and one slapper, all of whom either break up and then get back together, or are together and then break up. It was somewhat lacking in dramatic tension although regrettably not cliches. Also, you could see the plot twists coming like giant, inflatable pretzels being towed behind a light aircraft.

The characters were pretty much uniformly one-dimensional and unlikeable, apart from Jennifer Aniston who couldn’t pull off unlikeable if she acted like Gwyneth Paltrow while torturing a puppy.

There’s Gigi, who does not appear to have any pride, which is just as well because she would routinely shove it up her arse. Gigi stalks guys, she calls them, leaving multiple insane voice messages, she quizzes men on what they mean by ‘Nice to meet ya’, and she appears to have a fetish for obscenely hirsute blokes. (Note: this character is supposed to be a twenty something everywoman, rather than a thirteen year old with a crush on Robbie Williams.)

Gigi gives a tremulous, impassioned speech about how her actions may be so cringeworthy that I could only watch her through my fingers and MarkJ pulled his t-shirt over his face, but that at least she’s daring her heart and emotionally open or . . . something. SHE IS TRYING TO MAKE A VIRTUE OUT OF STUPIDITY! It’s like trying to make a virtue out of . . . of . . . crack cocaine addiction, or the Atkins diet.

What else? Scarlett Johansson stalks a married man, and then gets all pouty when he bundles her into a cupboard half-naked when his wife turns up unexpectedly at his office (cliched to the point of parody) (this scene was also more cringe-worthy than a Fawlty Towers finale). I hate to think of a slut like Scarlett throwing herself at Husband, but at least I know he would say: “Scarlett, I know you want me. That’s understandable. But step away from the lunchbox. I mean it. I am madly in love with my wife, and you have thick legs.”

Then we have The Wife, who was more concerned whether her husband was smoking on the sly than shagging some slut (see above). The Wife finds a packet of cigarettes wrapped in his gym towel – but I ask you: if someone is covering up an illicit smoking habit, do they really HIDE packets of cigarettes? Surely they SMOKE THEM? I would have thought illicit smokers buy packs of twenty, go to a secluded spot, and inhale the lot of them, one after another, in a furtive five minute session before burning any remaining evidence.

Well, that’s what I would do.

So, I don’t recommend it. Watch something else. Yoga and Meditation For Stress Relief, for example.

And don’t get me started on the other movie we watched.

Great evening though – thanks MarkJ

Tag Cloud