Saturday, 31 January 2009

Shopgirl (2005)

I have a feeling the reviews of films I hated will be better than the reviews of films I actually enjoyed. Tonight Suzie and I watched Shopgirl, which I've actually wanted to see since it came out and is one of the few films Suzie owns (along with The Other Boleyn Girl and Blades of Glory), I wanted to see it but I think it went straight to video over here. I seem to recall Novocaine went that way too. I saw that film when the video came out though, and I have to say I was mightily disturbed.
I'm a Steve Martin fan, I own every single one of his films up to and including Bowfinger, God, that film is brilliant. Ok, I saw a couple of awful recent-ish ones too, like Cheaper By the Dozen- shudder... we all know Steve should just stop and let us remember the good times. But I wanted to see Shopgirl because it's clearly not along the Bringing Down the House lines, and I hoped it wouldn't be along the same lines as Novocaine either. It wasn't along the same lines, I actually enjoyed it. I thought it was very funny- in the right places, and very well written, yes, the sexy scenes are all wrong, but only because it's Steve Martin (ie your dream-dad), at least he's learnt to tone them down and show nothing but the lovely girly unlike in Novocaine- another shudder.
Steve's written the film's two male characters the way he was as a young man and the way I guess he is now, pity that people still want him to play the goofy idiot- and more pity that he continues to do so.

Severance (2006)

Right, I've decided that with films I do like, for example the French film I just reviewed, I'll try and be nice and polite and not give anything away, you'll have to watch the whole film to really appreciate that closing scene I mentioned. BUT with films I absolutely hated and have been giving me nightmares ever since I saw them, I will give away absolutely everything so you NEVER have to see them...
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Severance, or as I like to call it 'Watch all your favourite British character actors getting brutally and unfunnily masacred.'
I'd seen the dvd box in the Video Emporium several times, stuck on the cover a review from I don't know which badly informed paper boasted 'Funniest British Comedy Horror since Shaun of the Dead!' I expect I was drawn in by the fact that Toby Stephens and Tim McInnerny were on the cover, as well as the cute one who was not Fennella Woolgar in He Knew he Was Right who tries to marry nerdy and cringy vicar David Tennant before Doctor Who fame, yes, I like her.
The whole set-up confused me; why was this weapons distribution company going paint-balling in Eastern Europe anyway? Why not go somewhere closer to home? Why did any of the characters work in a weapons distribution company?! Every single one of them was actually quite nice and mild-mannered, and the lead drug-addicted wanker, how the hell did he get a job there?! Who interviewed these employees?!
I saw this film two weeks ago and the image of Tim McInnerny standing on that land mine has haunted me since, I have had frequent nightmares about Toby Stephens being decapitated and recently I dreamt Christian Bale stabbed pencils through my eyes- but I think that was unconnected as he's not in this hellish film. I want to know where the supposed comedy was. I can only remember one small laugh and that was as Toby Stephen's decapitated head smiled smugly at his body after earlier (when no actual horror had happened yet) insisting that decapitation was not humane as Marie-Antoinette stayed concious for three minutes after the chop and saw her own headless corpse. Yeah! That's it! That's the funny!! What's funny about someone's leg being repeatedly caught in a bear trap!? In Shaun of The Dead reactions to the horror were amusing and exagerated, the reactions to the horror in this were disturbing and real and therefore NOT FUNNY!
I admit there was another point I think I laughed but it wasn't an intended funny moment, it was just Tim McInnerny standing on a step addressing the rest of the employees, I laughed because it reminded me of that episode of FUNNY historical sitcom Blackadder where Percy addresses (ironically) the execution staff. "They're gone, Percy." "Ah, team? Team?"

Le Goût des Autres (2000)

I don't have much to say about it but I thought I'd start with the last film I saw.
I think my mum bought this one at Christmas and we finally got around to watching it on thursday after a hard day of bookbinding, pasting and cutting, etc. Usually we don't watch foreign films after a day of concentration (eyestrain and subtitles? I don't think so.) I think I was just so tired that I couldn't be bothered to protest!
First I'll set your minds at ease: French actress Anne Alvaro is NOT Rebecca Hall's mother despite looking EXACTLY like her. I am a tad disappointed by this, I was hoping Peter Hall had met her on a theatre tour of France, sigh, how romantic!
So the film is about a boring but well-meaning businessman discovering culture late in life. Picture your crass dad, who walks around art galleries laughing, suddenly finding he appreciates a piece of art. Maybe that's just my dad but I have a feeling it's most.
It's a comedy, but not slapstic (the French still make them! See Les Visiteurs and Le Dîner de Cons - both most excellent but often cringeworthy!!), maybe it's not politically correct to laugh at someone's misfortunes, that's why it's a French film not Hollywood, it all ends well for our lead so why not laugh at him on the way? "I don't want to live in a candy shop!!" was the subtitled quote I enjoyed the most, an awful wife is always a nice addition in a French film, for God sake, you want him to leave her to pine over the woman he's fallen in love-at-first-sight with! Off the top of my head I can't think of an American film where you wouldn't give a damn about the wife who's being abandoned!! Such good minor characters! The Chauffeur's life were the absolute best parts of the film for me.
It was a typical and simple wonderful French film about nothing in particular, the French could make a film about walking in the street and it would be fabulous (they probably have!). The first French film I saw at the cinema was a confusing tragedy, the title escapes me as I was only there to hang out with a bunch of cool new friends- who I remember fondly as a bunch of stoners. I do however remember it ending and us all shouting "The Piano!!!" and being thrilled that it ended with a shot of a piano on the back of a truck driving past the body of the dead lead. I think every so often in the film the director cut to an unconnected sub-plot of a little street boy who was a marvelous musician...So when the piano finally arrived after the boring film ended we were all so amazed and pleased that the two stories finally crossed over. The reason I'm writing about this piano incident is that the final scene of Le Goût des Autres is so ingenious, so brilliant that you forget that the film wasn't maybe your cup of tea and you just smile at how clever and ironic it is.

Blog Introduction

Hello Blog-readers,
Amy here, I'm setting up this blog with the intention of actually continuing on a weekly basis. Those of you who know me may now be thinking of my fabled opus; comic 'Our Pokemon Journey'... well, don't think about that abandoned masterpiece, instead think about the dedication to my appreciation of actor Jonathan Pryce- I haven't stopped that in ten years!
If you don't know me at all, please ignore and try to forget all of that. I promise my blog will try to entertain you.
So on with the introduction: I watch a lot of films, I own a lot of films, people glance at the dvd/video corner/room and say; "Wow! You've got a good collection!" but on closer inspection all these onlookers retract their previous and offer instead; "What is all this shite?" Yes, I watch a lot of shite, and I frequently tell people/force them to watch shite.
Suzie suggested I write a blog where I can review things that I have seen. I don't know if this is because she finds it amusing when I tell her my thoughts on terrible/amazing films (that's right, I own some non-shite too...) or because she's fed up of hearing about it and she thinks just because I write a blog means she won't have to listen to my rants- think again Suzie!!
My goal is to review at least two films- or tv shows a week (I also read books and go to the theatre on a regular basis, we'll have to see how dedicated I become to this blog) after all; I'm eight years old, tv is my life (actually I'm 23, but that sounds pathetic).
NB. Please don't rely on this blog for reviews of current films and programs, I still think Drop the Dead Donkey is recent. The theatre will be current of course, I don't have a time machine!
(if anyone has a time machine please give us a lend of it, I promise only to use it for theatre- those of you who know me will know this is a very, very ominous pledge...)