Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Whip It! - Starring Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Lewis

Looking like a 1 UP from Super Mario World everyone's favourite jail bait returns to mix it up with some rock and roller derby.

Teens kiss and make out, and one couple goes all the way - no sensitive body parts are shown, but you see them stripping to their skivvies underwater in a swimming pool and later holding each other out of the water (bare shoulders showing). The girl later discusses the experience euphemistically with her mother. References to penis size.

Roller derby is very aggressive, and the film showcases plenty of bruising, bone-crunching action. Characters are elbowed, kicked, and pushed around, and they sometimes end up bloodied. There's also some outright fighting, and trash talk is a common occurrence on the track.

Fairly frequent use of language like "jackass," "hell," "shit," "bitch," "screw," ass," "balls," one use of "fuck," and a character gives someone the finger.

Some underage drinking. A teen girl gets drunk at a party and makes out with a random guy before throwing up; later, a teen is arrested after being caught with a drink in public. One character (not a teen) does a kegstand. A mother hides her smoking from her daughter. A father drinks beer while watching sports and lets his teen daughter take a (big) sip.All in all, not one for the kids, not really one for the adults either, unless you're a certain kind of adult and if so you may want to keep that quiet.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Educating Rita - Michael Caine, Julie Walters

Michael Caine stars as Rita, an alcoholic loner given a girl's name at birth who prowls the streets of Liverpool breaking into housing and beating the shite out of anyone who lives there.

Julie Walters is Frank. A tough madam with a huge collection of leather catsuits and bondage equipment which she can use to hold her own.

One night when Rita breaks into Frank's house the game is set!

Only one can win!

Only one can survive!

Who will it be?
There's not much dialogue which is great for building suspense and drama but Caine really should have used a stuntman as he's clearly not in shape to be doing roundhouse kick's at head height.

An iconic film and pre-runner to the wave of smut that appeared in British Cinema in the 1980's (see Rita, Sue and Bob Too).

The film resurrected Caine's career after the disaster that was Jaws 3 and it launched Julie Walters as a household name and bricklayer's fantasy.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

I Am Legend - Starring Will Smith

Will Smith stars in this surreal drama about a man so boring everyone else has deserted the city he lives in. His only company is his dog who he keeps on a tight leash to ensure it doesn't desert him too.

He spends a large portion of the film pondering over why no one likes him. He asks his dog several times and it tries to swallow it's own tongue.

He takes the dog for long walks through the deserted city where he spray paints I AM LEGEND on the wall of a derelict building in the hope of attracting some friends.

He knows something is wrong with it but he's not sure what. His dog knows that he meant to write I AM A LEGEND and pisses on the wall.

Will Smith thinks the dog is mocking him and shoots it in the head.

The film ends with Will Smith walking through the city repeating the phrase "I am legend?" to himself, still not sure what is wrong with it.

In the last scene he stares at the camera for a long time before saying "I fuck sheep."

The film ends.

The subtext of the film seems to view boredom as a disease which affects chronically dumb people. The only way to alleviate it is by committing acts of violence against defenceless people or animals. This however only leads to strange and unsettling behaviour.

A triumph of sorts for Smith who was trying to shake off his Fresh Prince persona, not quite sure he has managed it.

Monday, 13 September 2010

The Football Factory - Starring Danny Dyer

Written, directed by and starring Danny Dyer in his sensational film debut this film was based on Dyer's own experiences working in a football factory.

Dan D (Dyer) is sick of his dead end life in a London kitchen sink estate so he takes a job sewing footballs in a football factory in the hope of escaping the bleak streets.

Dan D fancies himself a cut above the other employees due to the colour of his skin (he is the only white person there) and thinks that his rise through the factory's ranks is inevitable.

When a refugee is promoted to QA instead of the hard working but inept Dan D he finds himself expressing racist opinions he never knew he had. He encourages his white friends to get jobs at the football factory to "level the playing field" (one of many football metaphors expressed throughout the film).

The influx of like-minded (no-minded) white people causes tensions with the happy refugee community of the football factory leading to violent confrontations (pictured right).

Just when it seems the two sides will never get along Dan D finds out that there are plans to close the football factory  and move it to Guatemala.

The whites and the refugees join forces and fight to keep the football factory open. After killing the management in a bloody battle they all relax down the pub to watch a game of, what else, football.

A cinematic triumph for the young maverick who has never quite managed to better it.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Lost In Translation - Bill Murray, Matt Damon, Scarlet Johansson

Matt Damon is Jason Bourne. Waking up on a fishing boat off the coast of Japan with no recollection of who he is Jason Bourne knows the key to his memory is locked in the phrase "For a relaxing time, make it Santori time."

When the boat docks he goes in search of the enigmatic Bob Harris (Bill Murray) the public face of Santori whiskey. Along the way he is chased by police and a number of underworld figures. This is when Bourne discovers that he's able to Kung-Fu the fuck out of everyone.

Bourne discovers his identity - Jason Bourne - by beating it out of all the criminals and CIA men he encounters.

He never manages to meet Bob Harris, instead the movie ends with an hour long section involving Harris' attempts to seduce a lonely unnamed newlywed (Scarlet Johansson), which, though achingly dull, beautifully concludes with a long lingering kiss in downtown Tokyo traffic.

Another film that walks the tightrope of fast paced action thriller/ introspective soul searcher. More could have been done to mesh the separate plots together but the actors all put in stellar performances especially Murray whose career was given a new life by the role.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Lolita - Starring Jeremy Irons, Kirsten Dunst

When dutiful school teacher Humbert Humbert (Jeremy Irons) is falsely accused of fiddling with his students, he is determined to prove his innocence. When his wife Charlotte (Melanie Griffith) is brutally murdered he knows he is being set up.

Taking his teenage daughter Dolores (Kirsten Dunst) with him as he travels across country to escape the law. He is hotly pursued by the maverick detective Quilty (Frank Langella).

This black comedy was badly received mostly because it turns so sharply from being a thriller into a goofball comedy all about how men are bad at bringing up teenage girls and don't know what to say or do about stuff like periods or boyfriends. Humbert never manages to prove his innocence and ends up killing Quilty in a bloody gun battle which gives the film an unfinished feeling.

Irons puts in a great performance but Dunst steals the show in the most memorable role of her career.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Barb Wire - Starring Pamela Anderson, Udo Kier

Lousy retelling of the Casablanca story which renders the Bogey classic nothing more than a teenage wank favourite.

Pamela Anderson stars as Barb Wire, a conspicuous boot legger (in the literal and metaphorical sense of the words) who spends half the film walking around in front of her brother wearing hardcore bondage gear (he's blind so it's okay).

Barb doesn't have Humphry Bogart's dialogue to help the remake. She does have the crap catchphrase "Don't call me babe." Which must rank up with much forgotten Channel 5 talk show host Jack Doherty's much forgotten "Applaud my guests," as a catchphrase that went down like a bowl of cold french onion soup someone had spat in.

Yes this film is dreadful. Don't watch it unless you are horny and single, and even then you'll skip most scenes and put the others on slow play.