Date Night + Extract = DOUBLE REVIEW!!!

April 28, 2010

Good day one and all!

Many moons ago CM threw together a wicked cool review of two films at the same time. Adventureland & Zombieland was a match made in heaven; they have the same star and they both have LAND in the title…what more do you want?

Unfortunately the films chosen for my Double Review don’t have as direct a connection (other than that they are both comedies) however I think there is enough in both of them that means I can tie it all together in one neat little package. So without further ado; you’re welcome, and let’s begin…

Perhaps mistakenly I am going to play my hand early on and give you my overall recommendation about seeing Date Night and Extract; the truth is you may as well only see one of them. I saw both this week and came out of each feeling exactly the same, the fact is that formally and tonally they share the same airspace and in wanting to help my discerning fan base keep their wallets in check I can honestly say that you’d be as well to flip a coin and see one or the other, and then rest assured that you didn’t miss much by avoiding the alternative.

I wish the following didn’t sound so diplomatic but it can’t be helped: I honestly couldn’t decide which film was the best (actually I can but I’ll save that reveal until the end – keeps you reading doesn’t it?) or more accurately in regards to these two films ‘the least bad’. But let me stop tiptoeing around and get into specifics.

Plot really doesn’t matter for either Date Night or Extract so you aren’t getting a synopsis from me this time around; just rest assured that both films hit the 90 minute mark by meandering through cause and effect style scenes before wrapping everything up in under 5 minutes and hitting you with the credits.

Both films have got high quality casts at their disposal, utilised in very different ways. Tina Fey could read The Da Vinci Code for an hour and a half and I would still think it was hilarious and worth buying on DVD, she’s that good. Funny, clumsy, accessible and not too bad in the looks department if you ask me or any other warm blooded male, she makes every joke count (and even saves a few dodgy ones from the tumbleweed fate lesser comediennes might produce upon delivery). Her relationship with Steve Carell is believable and it’s that which drives the film and keep s the ridiculousness of the plot in check; despite the near impossible series of events on show the core of Date Night is a man and wife having fun with one another again. Carell too is incredibly watchable, not afraid to make himself look idiotic for the sake of a good joke.

The problem with Date Night, other than the massive one that I’ll get to in a minute, is that the rest of the film is peppered with cameo after cameo, and there is really no other substantial character to support the main story. Kristen Wiig, James Franco, Ray Liotta, Mila Kunis, MARK RUFFALO, Will Fitchner and a few others all share scenes with FeCar (does that work?) that send them back off on their adventures and allow the cameo-er to say a few funny things. That’s fine on a case by case basis, but sometimes in films like this I wish they would trim the fat a bit and combine each character into just one role, so that a decent supporting character can be created (want a great example? Philip Seymour Hoffman in Along Came Polly: terrible movie but he is hilarious in it). Much was made of Marky Mark’s appearance in the film, a performance that parodies much of our assumptions about the man with the golden underpants and AMAZING BODY. But again, he’s in it for 5 minutes and spends most of that time just watching Carell and Fey talk. At least he’s a good listener.

Extract falls foul of the same problem; there are far too many supporting players in the film with not enough substance of their own. Great actors like JK Simmons, Kristen Wiig (again), David Koechner, Clifton Collins Jr and even Gene Simmons float in and out of the narrative without really impacting the trials that Joel Reynolds (played with typical warmth and every-man-ish-ability by Jason Bateman) endures.

A lot is made of Mike Judge’s cult status as a filmmaker who holds the mirror up to everyday life, the events and non-events that define a working week. Extract makes no sweeping statements regarding big business, drugs, community, power or monogamy; however each of these issues is represented in the film. The position of the writer/director instead appears to be “These things happen, who are we to judge?” (and his surname is Judge – ha! Just me? Fair enough).

Quite the opposite, Date Night’s director Shawn Levy is regarded as something of a hack director, his films scraping the bottom of the comedy barrel and floating by on mediocrity that is diluted by star power. I don’t want to be too critical here because I really like Cheaper by the Dozen however I have to admit that critics might have a point. Other than the performance and likability of Fey and Carell, Date Night, excuse my French, is absolute shit. The premise is ridiculous, the execution is derivative and one scene in particular – two cars that are locked together manage to negotiate the streets of New York- makes no sense whatsoever. I’m all for ‘suspension of disbelief’ but sometimes one finds themselves looking at the screen and wanting to shout “No! That could NOT happen. The steering columns of those cars would not allow for so clean a turn”.

So anyway, rant over, and review over. I hope you enjoyed it. If you manage to see either of these films and want your say then post away at the end of this review and tell me if I got it right or completely wrong, or indeed if I simply managed to write a lot without really saying much.

I leave you with my final judgement on which of the two films is actually better. Prepare yourselves…


Why? Because Ben Affleck is in it. It’s really that easy for me sometimes. In fact, I’m going to go and watch Daredevil right now.



Episode 15 – Casta Management

April 27, 2010

Casta Management (right click and “save as for download)

We’re back! Apologies for the delay folks but as noted here and here we do have more credible excuses for our lapse in regular ‘casting other than just being rubbish boys.

Those, and the fact that we’re just rubbish boys.

Expect reviews of Kick Ass, Whip It, Hot Tub Time Machine and Dear John as well as Chrazza Mazza… not swearing?!


Review – Repo Men

April 27, 2010

Okay so it’s the future right? And some stuff happened… I’m not sure what… and like the world economy has gone totally bust… and I’m not sure how that happened… and now basically er people get replacement organs from this company. I’m not sure why exactly – oh so they don’t die maybe? Hmm I’m not sure… Oh yeah and this company is really big and is called The Union which is kind of ominous if you ask me, but someone must have thought it was a good idea to call it that … they did manage to somehow recover the economy though I think so they must be okay right? Oh yeah and the guys who work for them act as a law unto themselves a bit and no one seems to mind… I think.

Well that’s the set up for Repo Men anyway – you might want to print that out and take it with you should you choose to go and watch this… I was going to throw some derogatory flippant comment in there [in the vein of “this something excuse for a film”] but worry that I may show my hand too early if I do, so let’s try again; you might want to take this summary with you if you go and see this film. Just film.

“Why so Maddog?” I hear you cry, (and I say “catch up! No one has called me Maddog in years!”) well the reason you’ll need this summary is simple… it’s all about context. Repo Men doesn’t really waste time with the formalities of “setting the scene” or “developing the atmosphere” and hey, why should it? They’re only techniques successfully employed in all forms of literature for oh… I don’t know… thousands of years, but hey enough of me being an old stickler and onto the details:

Jude Law and Forest Whitaker play The Union’s enforcers who go about “reclaiming” these organs from those hapless saps who just can’t keep up with their repayments, shrugging off the brutality of their employ by adhering to the maxim “a job’s a job” – so what happens then when Jude Law has an artiforg implanted and can’t keep up with his repayments. Somewhat inevitably, we get to find out.

Just an aside, I would’ve thought that being as he was injured in the line of duty he would’ve been given the organ for free and just gone back to work, but that wouldn’t have made as interesting a premise I suppose…

What follows is your becoming-more-and-more-typical-all-the-time Escape From the System narrative whereby rather than just lying down and have the organ ripped out of him, Jude Law uses his insider’s knowledge to try and get himself off the wanted list. That’d probably be a little boring in and of itself so there’s a woman involved too who seemingly becomes a main character purely for the fact that there needs to be another one – her involvement at all times feels fairly pedestrian and she serves to act more as a well meaning foil to Law’s escape than a serious romantic interest.

Repo Men also uses that (becoming-more-and-more-typical-all-the-time) technique of starting proceedings *at some point* through the course of the story which actually comes a bit sooner than you think, but not soon enough to be written off as an intro of prologue – which left me wondering why they didn’t just start at the beginning. Just a small niggle but one that grows every time I see the mid-point intro used lazily.

Whilst the largest part of the action is base and derivative, one particular scene that does require a shout out is one that falls towards the film’s climax – no spoilers here but it deserves a mention for being the most unashamedly gory pornographic scene I believe I have ever witnessed outside of a fetish film (not that I’ve actually seen any of those mind). Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not talking about Gorno, but actual sexualised gore. I struggled to fathom how it fit in with the events previous, more in terms of style than content. It was a pretty weird scene to watch and by the end of it I’m fairly confident in saying I wasn’t the only one in the cinema feeling a little uncomfortable. But maybe that was just because of my hard on.


Like Surrogates before it, Repo Men feels like somebody just sat down and thought “right, I’m going to do Minority Report with [insert whatever is becoming-more-and-more-typical-all-the-time here]” but the bottom line here is that Repo Men is a perfectly acceptable cinematic jaunt. It’s certainly not going to win any awards but it’s definitely not as bad as other reviews would have you believe – sure the plot Is formulaic enough for the most part (if you’ve seen the trailer then you’ve pretty much seen the first hour) but a couple of the action scenes are fast paced & interesting enough to keep you entertained and it does have a couple of cards up its sleeve to try and impress you before the events are drawn to a close (although these are so obviously sign posted throughout that you’d be a fool to miss them completely).

If in the run up to this summer’s inevitable action fest you desperately feel the need for something to get the adrenaline… well not pumping but certainly dribbling then give this a shot –  or alternatively, just watch Minority Report… again.

Delayed? Again?!

April 24, 2010

That’s right Casta fans, Chrazza Mazza here with the unfortunate news that the next episode of Your Favourite Podcast® is going to be delayed – but only slightly…

Fear not! The  recording has all been done (and it’s a beaut I might add) but I’ve gone and taken myself out of commission.

Fortunately I haven’t contracted swine flu (for a second time) – so what’s the call for the poster above? Well I’ve gone and put my back out… again…

The cause?

I sneezed.


So I can’t really sit up for extended periods and thus am not in a fit position to do any of the editing for a couple of days. But don’t worry, it should be up by the middle of the week (I hope) and I’m fine – thanks for asking.

Right well this has taken me five minutes to write and my back is killing already, so it’s back to bed for me!


Where the Hell are we?

April 17, 2010


Okay so I went on holiday to Canada and guess what? It was amazing! Okay so I’m back so why  the hell the hell is there no new Casta?! Well hey guess what, I’m moving house again! And guess what makes it even better! Chrazza Wazza came up to Edinburgh to help me to do it!

Chrazza Wazza did an excellent job of steering the good ship Casta whilst I was away but I can’t wait to get back with some tag team Casta amazo-content!

We should be back on track next week with brand new Casta so hold on to your hats – it’s going to be amazing.

Mega love!


(note: I wrote this whilst I was drunk – hence it not really making any sense)

Mini-sode: CastAway the second

April 3, 2010

CastAway2 (right click and “save as” for download)

Howdy y’all! Welcome to another CastAway! This is our second mini-episode whilst Chris M is STILL away on holiday, and it’s another cracker. We’ve got reviews of How to Drain Your Dragon, Nanny McPhee and The Big Bang and me and my special guest have a natter about cinema prices and just how cheap we both are!

Please be warned that the quality of the opening 2 minutes isn’t  the best, but eventually it sorts itself out and becomes audible!