GUEST REVIEW- Sex And The City 2

May 31, 2010

Hello Casta-persons! Like it or lump it the big release this weekend was the eagerly anticipated (by at least 51% of the human population) Sex and the City 2. Now, neither myself  or Chris M could bring ourselves to view this mighty offering, not even at the expense of subjecting each other to it, so for a time it looked like we would fail in our promise to deliver you, our loving fan base, a review of a big film that we really should have an opinion on…

FEAR NOT THOUGH because help is at hand as Katie Dimaline (our first Casta-in-law) has stepped up and delivered a cracking written review for everyone’s approval.

As a result, Katie joins the ever growing legion of Casta Club members and the requisite badges and certificate will be heading her way just as soon as we get round to it all right!

Remember, you too can become a part of our empire by getting involved yourself, either by writing us your own review and emailing it in – mail@castalavista.com – or getting in touch through our Facebook groups or Twitter feed (the details are somewhere on the right of this page).

Enjoy the review!

After 14 years of SATC (Sex And The City- keep up!- CW) might the producers have been forgiven for thinking that female audiences had had enough Cosmopolitans (drink- CW) and Jimmy Choos (shoes- CW) to last them a lifetime? Put simply, no. The decision to make another movie was one that set female tongues wagging for months and the release this weekend will have had plenty of ‘all-girl’ group viewings (in my screening I probably saw less than 10 men). That isn’t to say that SATC2 has nothing to offer the male viewer- for the first twenty minutes there was plenty of bra-less boob action, perhaps added to satisfy the male viewers into acquiescence whilst they endured a film that is, much like its predecessor, pretty much the same as the TV show except over 2 hours long.

My first reaction was that SATC was really good; entertaining, very funny in places and well worth watching. However on closer inspection the overwhelming opinion I have is that as watchable as the film is the concept of SATC just doesn’t work very well as a film. It’s about twenty minutes too long, a criticism that can be laid at the first films feet too, and the length emphasizes the flaws in characters that a 25 minute show manages to mask. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda are stereotypes of themselves now and perhaps the writers feel there isn’t anywhere for them to grow.

The writer, Michael Patrick King, has apparently said the decision to set the film in Abu Dhabi was in order to get the girls away from their husbands and babies so they could act like single girls again – in my opinion this isn’t really what I wanted to see. For many the draw of watching the show was to see four fabulous women living in New York, dressing like they live on a catwalk and sharing the same dating dilemmas as women all over the world. This ‘sisterhood’ that had been created was a huge reason the show was so popular. By aiming to cast the women as single again the film takes 7 Manolo (shoes- CW) steps back in time– it was difficult to reconnect with these old friends.

Having said that the film was very funny and it drew some applause from the audience I watched it with – albeit not from my hands. There was no embarrassing toilet scene this time round but Charlotte did fall off a camel and there was a hilarious scene where Samantha air humps and screams ‘yes I have sex!’ in front of hundreds of conservative Arab men. I’m not sure how this film will be perceived by people in the UAE, although scenes like this certainly aided in constructing Samantha as the ‘typically American’ stereotype she is often positioned as; one that is big, brash and couldn’t give a shit about an unfamiliar culture. Samantha is arrested for having sex on the beach and is released with not so much as a slap on the wrists – something tells me the families of the man and woman currently awaiting sentence for merely kissing on a beach won’t take too kindly to the way in which this scene was handled!!

Criticisms like this will not stop women seeing this film and it certainly won’t stop there from being a third. I did really like the film, it’s a good way to spend an evening with your girlfriends and if you don’t look too closely it is highly enjoyable for a piece of popcorn cinema.

Short and sweet, just like the author! Cheers Katie. Winky face!


Advertisements

Episode 17 – Casta and Commander

May 22, 2010

Casta and Commander (right click and “save as” for download)

It’s time again for your favourite movie podcast thing – already some days after we recorded it. If it sounds awesome then double props for me this time around as I was drunk whilst editing most of it. BOOM!

Listen in for reviews of Robin Hood, Four Lions and Newsmakers oh and prepare yourself as Casta goes softcore! Sexy!


Project 365 – Back in Action

May 12, 2010

Well I think it’s about time I brought you up to speed on project 365. As mentioned a while ago I was finding the whole thing too easy and so decided to try and watch the entirety of Lost. Truth be told I actually managed to do this a few weeks ago and so, as well as having a three week holiday in Canada, doing my back in and moving house, I’ve also managed to get myself fully up to date with 24, Breaking Bad, Flashforward, Modern Family, The Office, Parks & Recreation and the Big Bang Theory.

Whilst pummelling all that I did still manage to see some films, but nowhere near as many as previously, at one point I even managed to go twenty four days seeing only a single movie in the middle. In the sixty five days from hiatus start I managed to see twenty eight movies which pales somewhat to the one hundred and twenty one I saw in the sixty three days before it.

Whatever the weather I’m still on track and am feeling refreshed from not having watched quite so many films recently. I’d better get back to business and build up a good lead now so I can make myself do something else stupid before I finish…

Suggestions are always welcome – either leave me a comment here or look to the right for other ways to get in touch.

Enough waffle.

Weeks 10 – 19

122. Crazy Heart
123. The Informant
124. Alice in Wonderland
125. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
126. Green Zone
127. My Neighbour Totoro
128. The Blind Side
129. Shutter Island
130. Hot Tub Time Machine
131. Kick Ass
132. Whip It
133. Repo Men
134. Dear John
135. Crying with Laughter
136. It’s Complicated
137. The Ghost (Writer)
138. Iron Man 2
139. The Joneses
140. Cheaper by the Dozen
141. Julie & Julia
142. The Men Who Stare at Goats
143. Centurion
144. How to Train your Dragon
145. Fanboys
146. The Final Destination
147. The Disappearance of Alice Creed
148. Pandorum
149. The Time Traveller’s Wife

Highlights: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Crying with Laughter, How to train your Dragon
Lowlights: Whip it!, Cheaper by the Dozen, Centurion


Episode 16 – Butch Castidy and the Sundance Kid

May 9, 2010

Butch Castidy and the Sundance Kid (right click as “save as” for download)

Cripes! Has it been a fortnight already?! Well never fear, we’re back again talking more of the usual awesomeness with reviews of Iron Man 2, The Ghost Writer and The Disappearance of Alice Creed as well as everyone’s favourite quiz Castamind and a call out for five lucky people to join the Casta club.


Review – Crying with Laughter

May 1, 2010


I know what you’re thinking, and don’t worry – I’d never heard of this film either. A quick scan of films showing last week at my local cinema threw up this title and the fact that it was on its last day. A further check on the internet showed it had only been out a week. A week?! And its run was already ending?! That’s crazy talk! So oddly enough my motivation for going to see this film was a mix of obligation… and pity…

Crying with Laughter is a British Independent offering about stand up comedian Joey Frisk, whose life is basically pretty shit; then with the appearance of a mysterious man named Frank from his past, manages somehow to get even shittier. Events soon spiral out of control and Joey’s puzzlement of whether or not he even knows Frank is soon swept aside for more pertinent questions: What the hell is going on?! And (perhaps more importantly) what the hell has it got to do with me?!

Me being Joey. Not me. Obviously.

Delving into details and intricacies would only spoil a large part of what makes this film so great but – as has become standard fare for my reviews – there’s one scene that I want to mention that wonderfully (or somewhat conveniently) serves to summarise what I either loved or loathed about the film. Loved in this case.

In the inevitable all is revealed scene towards the end of the movie, [bad guy] explains his reasonings for all the strange goings on and our lead guy Joey just kind of sits by helpless because, well you know, he’s already been punched in the face and shocked with a cattle prod. It was wonderfully observed that our hero isn’t a hero in this case, he’s just a normal guy caught up in some crazy happenings and if not interfering and being quiet stops him from being electrocuted or punched again or whatever, even if only for the moment, well then that’s the obvious course of action isn’t it?

It’s little scenes like this that are peppered throughout the course of the film which really lend the narrative a sort of credibility which you don’t find in bigger budget/studio movies. Sure the events are pretty far removed from reality, but because of the humanity attached they occur in a sort of believable way which, if anything, is one of Crying with Laughter’s greatest strengths.

It was really refreshing to see an independent offering like this that didn’t remotely feel independent. A large part of this surely comes down to first time writer & director Justin Molotnikov but he’s not the only person in this ensemble who deserves credit. The cast entire was a joy to watch and as far as I can tell this film is the big screen debut for the majority, if not all of them. It’s always promising to see a film succeed on the back of new talent, as it makes you appreciate that it’s not just the big guns with the huge stars and the massive wallets who can put something together with polish and gravitas.

And of course, I have to complain about something… For a film shot in and around Edinburgh – my home city – I didn’t really recognise any of the locales, that being until the last twenty or so minutes when obligatory shots of the Royal Mile, the Scott Monument, the Meadows and that souvenir shop that has the bagpipes blaring just next to George IV Bridge all crowbar themselves in. It may be the cynic in me that thinks that there was some sort of funding obligation for the inclusion of scenes shot in obvious places but the fact is that these shots don’t really add anything to the movie and perhaps even serve to act to its detriment; negating the pleasing anywhere feel of the earlier events.

Anywho that’s something and nothing really – and more the old man in me speaking rather than any sort of comment on quality. This is easily one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen all year and remember, I’ve seen a lot of movies already. If this just so happens to be playing at your local independent then definitely definitely check it out – saying that though having checked the film’s website it only seems to have shown at most places for one week; so check here before rushing out and if it’s not in your area then certainly give it a view when it’s out on DVD.

It’s not like me to get on my soapbox but the unfortunate truth is that this isn’t the kind of film that’s going to gain a cult following, slowly get bigger & better known and earn anyone involved any kind of real money, and that’s a real shame because in five years time if the guys involved are still making movies, people will look back at this and think “how the hell did I miss that first time around?!” The sad fact of the matter is, if movies like this don’t make any money then the guys involved might not feasibly be able to carry on in the industry. So make sure you watch this when it comes out on DVD or else I’ll blame you directly for the death of British cinema.

And now you have three reasons to see this film; obligation, pity and guilt.

Toodles!