Greetings and Castutations!
Whilst we’re keeping to a strict and rigorous schedule on the audio front these days, we’ve sort of dropped the ball vis-a-vis the written content this month and for that we humbly apologise as we know just how much you all like to read what we think as well as hear what we think.
As a way of catching up then here are five short reviews of films we’ve been meaning to write about of late but just haven’t found the time to do so. As always when we’re both sounding off, Chris W will write in green whilst Chris M will scribe in blue.
1. Film Community Potluck – The Seventh Seal
I’d been quite intent on watching this movie for a long time, finding that most things that have been parodied (at least in the classic sense of the term – not the “parodies” like Vampires Suck which we’re subjected to nowadays) do themselves prove to be quite worth watching. I was very happy then when I saw that it had been nominated by Ripley from four of them and shouted out my desire to be paired up with it.
The Seventh Seal tells the story of various levels of Swedish peasantry living through a plague sometime in the middle ages – more than that though it’s a study of mortality, faith, the value of life and the importance of having a good chess strategy.
Whilst its early shifts around various characters prove to be somewhat confusing, by the time the cast has met up and are travelling as one, the movie effortlessly hits home with its questioning of life, death and the futility of resistance to the latter.
As much as this film still proves to be a good thinking man’s watch over fifty years later, I’m not really sure how well it holds up to classics of its period – watch it but be prepared to muse whilst you do so.
2. Review – The Kids Are Alright
I feel like a broken record saying this about yet another movie but the folk who put taglines in the trailers and posters for TKAAR saying it was “the funniest, laughtest-out-loudest film of the year” are off their rocker. This is a dramedy in the strictest sense of the word; an explorative character piece about what happens when people from different backgrounds come together and effect each other’s lives.
So far as it goes TKAAR is a decent watch. All of the cast are on top form- notable mentions to Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasijowska (of Alice in Wonderland) as the offspring of same sex couple Annette Benning and Julianne Moore (two performances that both traverse the real/stereotype line at many points during the film) who go in search of their sperm donor father (Mark Ruffalo- FIT!) with consequences that affect their comfortable family existence.
The film outstays its welcome by the end (there is at least one mid-act subplot that could be lifted completely to lighten the film’s load without, I would argue, affecting the films impact at all) but in general it is a very easy watch that doesn’t ram it’s west-coast liberalism context down the audiences throat. Not bad.
3. Tag Team Review – Burke & Hare
The thing that strikes me most about this movie it is that it’s pretty boring. Being as we’re keeping this succint I’ll say that the laughs are few and far between and the story will only prove to be of slight interest if you’ve never heard of Burke & Hare before. Residents of Edinburgh like myself will undoubtedly already know the tale back to front.
The cast is crowded and severly underused in most cases (hello Tim Currie) even to the extent of Sirkis and Pegg themselves, and the over reliance on both support characters and cameo appearances throughout (p ss off Stephen Merchant) lend themselves more to a feeling of desperately trying to flesh the movie out enough to last the requisite ninety minutes than for the purpose of benefitting the proceedings.
Personally I don‘t think that Burke & Hare is informative, funny, involving or captivating enough to hold anyone but the most ardent history buff’s attention – and they’ll only be annoyed at how liberally the history has been treated.
Oh and please stop hiring Australians to play Scottish people. Cheers.
We’ve set ourselves 150 words each on this one…how many words in “I was really bored”? There is the possibility that I just don’t like historically set comedies that spend their duration dropping contemporary references and attitudes into the proceedings, but even by those standards this was still hogwash. I struggle to think of anyone involved in the film that comes out of this with much integrity left- maybe Tim Currie, at a push Tom Wilkinson, but Pegg and Serkis are almost unwatchable at times, Isla Fisher is embarrassing (although her cleavage does at least try to change the subject from time to time) and that it is directed by a comedy legend of John Landis’ standard just makes the whole thing sit even worse in the stomach.
And despite what I said before about The Kids Are All Right being more of a drama than comedy it still had more laughs per minute than this piece of tosh.
A very bad effort.
4. Review – Despicable Me
Whilst most other people have sung and danced about this film, I’m going to lay down the gauntlet. I hated this movie, plain and simple.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen anything on the big screen so overtly pander to children. This movie is shameless in its attempts to gain cheap laughs, half of which miss completely. The voic
e acting is poor, the writing is sloppy, the characters don’t feel fully realised, the incident is bland and uninvolving and the morals feel too tacked on. I felt insulted throughout, particularly by Gru’s little yellow henchman, who go down in my estimation as some of the worst supporting characters of any film in recent memory.
But hey according to all the people I know who have seen it with children, their kids really enjoyed it. This then appears to be a film strictly for the younger kids out there, albeit a much more hollow one at which the parents will be left feeling less involved than with the usual animated fare. I wouldn’t expect anyone to buy this on DVD and genuinely find it worth watching five or more years down the line.
Oh and last thing… As much as I’m willing to suspend my disbelief, please don’t try and imply that taking the moon out of orbit around the earth wouldn’t have instant catastrophic effects the world over. Shame on you Universal.
5. Review – Mary and Max
I would like to argue that we are ending this post with the best film of the bunch. I cannot describe how completely enjoyable a viewing experience I had with Mary & Max.
We’re spoilt for choice these days with animated features and this Australian claymation MASTERPIECE must be a sure fire nomination for next year’s best animation Oscar (or the Toy Story 3 award to give it its full title) or my name isn’t Christopher Madd- oh…damn!
The story is simple and heartfelt; two lonely people separated by a continent (one an Australian girl with an alcoholic mother, the other a 40 year old Jewish New-Yorker with aspergers syndrome) share a pen pal relationship spanning 22 years and help each other to find their own identities in a world that doesn’t seem to want them in it.
I’m going to do a CM and not say much more about the plot because I don’t want to spoil it, but put simply I haven’t laughed more this year than I did in the opening 15 minutes, and I haven’t been as touched as I was by this in its last 20 minutes. It’s mesmerising. A movie of two-halves; a must see.
That’s your lot. Thanks for reading. Hopefully you’re now all caught up with our movie goings on and looking forward to our next audio post which should go up some time tomorrow.