Friday, 17 February 2012

Opening Gala of the Glasgow Film Festival 2012

Can you guess where Mark Duplass is?
Last night was the opening gala of the Glasgow Film Festival and I managed to get a ticket for the sell-out opening film... only in the wee auditorium, an hour after the real UK premiere & sans the Q&A with director Lynn Sheldon. The film to kick off this year was Your Sister's Sister, a mumble-core drama/comedy starring Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt & Rosemarie Dewitt. If I'm being completely honest the ROMCOM! plot synopsis didn't thrill me (and neither did the BROMANCE! plot synopsis for Humpday, Lynn Sheldon's previous effort about two straight males who dare each other to have sex with each other) & the only reason I bothered is because a) Free Booze afterwards b) A 20 films for £90 deal. Well, what a tool I am. It was such a massive crowd pleaser & for me, a very pleasant surprise.

Just to clear up the plot - it's about a guy called Jack who is sent on a sabbatical to a family cottage on a remote island by his late brother's ex-girlfriend, Iris, but finds her sister Hannah already moved in and half-way through a bottle of tequila. Yes, there is a love triangle but it's not quite as conventional as you may assume - it's very well acted and scripted with lively direction and genuinely likable characters. This movie proved to me that the rom-com/dramady fare of today aren't all the same soul-less drivel, I smiled pretty much all the way through the movie (and well afterwards, but the lovely atmosphere/free drink might have had something to do with that - well done to the GFF crew) and now I'll definitely be looking out for Humpday despite it's bromance UP TO ELEVEN plot that nearly made me roll my eyes out of my own head upon first glance.

I'm trying to not make promises I can't keep, but keep an eye out for my blog updates in the next week as I'm going to see some really exciting movies that won't have their official release for a while - including Werner Herzog's latest documentary 'Into the Abyss', 'Livid' from the team that made the terrifying 'Inside' (which was possibly the best horror of the noughties), the re-release of the Glasgow-set 80's sci-fi movie 'Death Watch' & a Surprise Movie this Wednesday that always delivers something exciting (last year it was 13 Assassins).

And now as a way of apology for being out of your life for nearly 2 months here's my half-arsed notes on the new releases of 2012 I've watched so far.

Jan 6th: The Artist: Those movies where the two characters who could actually sort their shit out if they just talked to one another usually annoy me, but it works here 'cos this is about communication! The movie world being turned upside down, proud stars falling, a time of change, etc - there's even scenes where one is too silent and one talks too much, it's way too clever... but lovable. Best Picture winner-worthy? Aye. I liked Hugo more & think Singin' in the Rain is more re-watchable, but.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

David Fincher's The Girl Who Drinks Coca-Cola, Eats McDonald's Happy Meals & Uses Google

Directed by David Fincher
Based on the novel 'Men Who Hate Women' (2005) by Stieg Larsson
Adapted by Steven Zaillian
Starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer & Stellan Skarsgård.
This English-language adaptation of the Swedish novel by Stieg Larsson follows a disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), as he investigates the disappearance of a wealthy patriarch's niece from 40 years ago. He is aided by the pierced, tattooed, punk computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). As they work together in the investigation, Blomkvist and Salander uncover immense corruption beyond anything they have ever imagined.
Much like last year's Swedish classic-cum-Hollywood remake Let Me In this has been dubbed an "English adaptation" of the original book (rather than a Hollywood remake of the subtitled film), & I suppose the wording there is correct - they definitely use the English language in these movies. I'm one of the few who decided to hold out for David Fincher's vision & then compare it to the original afterwards, avoiding all things Millennium Trilogy - one of the most talked about & loved literature/cinematic events in the last decade - until this adaptation was released. Did I make the right choice? The short answer is no, I feel like a complete fucking moron. Despite being helmed by one of the most talented directors in the world & the new leaf in shady sales language that will attempt to convince you otherwise - this movie has been made for an audience too lazy to sit through a foreign language film. Yes, the American version has a prettier cast, it's tighter & has a soundtrack that will make Reznor/Ross fans cream themselves but when compared to the '09 version does it stand out? No, it doesn't. Not very much, anyway.


Unfortunately for Rooney Mara, who puts in a fantastic performance as Lisbeth Salander (ruined somewhat by some poor screenwriting - see full review below), the poor figures released in regards to TGWTDT '11's opening weekend seem likely to put a screaming halt on the "English adaptations" of the sequels - The Girl Who Played With Fire & The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. Luckily there's some "Non-English Adaptations" for those of us who want to find out what happens next.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Fake Update! Best of the Worst 2011

My latest blog post (£10 Top 10 of 2011) was potentially missing two big releases at the very arse-end end of the year, The Artist & The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. My original thought as I drew my list up was "if it's released at a time when I'm supposed to be getting drunk as fuck - then it doesn't count" - but then I remembered that I'm a Scotsman, I'm supposed to be pished out of my head all day every day. I also realised that I had seen a fair few films that would deservedly be in the top 10 if they were "officially released" in 2011, & not just UK-released. So I will do a true update next week (I shall update every Thursday) & give these films the mention they deserve. As an aside I did see David Fincher's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo yesterday but you'll just have to wait for my full review & see if it was one of my favourites of the year. In the meantime I thought I'd offer up the reviews I did for some of my worst disappointments of the year (I know Shark Night 3D was worse than most of these, but I expected it to be). I think I was a lot drunker writing these than I am right now (I'm obviously boringly not drunk right now, but Celtic Football Club take on The Forces of Darkness later on & I'll get steamin' for that pretty quickly) so they're thankfully more sweary & mental than this introduction. Enjoy.

The World (Inside a Lying Bawbags Head) Is Yours. You can keep it!
The Devil's Double is like what would happen if ITV4 (Edit for non-UK peeps: A down-market UK television channel famous for shows such as 'The Only Way is Essex' & 'My Father Had Hands For Feet & Feet For Ears') decided to become a movie studio. Having such an overblown, scatter-shot attitude to actual tragic history sorta fits the guy who alleges all this actually happened though, so cannae really cry about it too much. The scenes where Uday Hussein is actually just Joe Pesci in a Scorcese film/Pacino in Scarface will surely constitute giant garish posters of him holding an AK47 and smoking a cigar being thrown up in teenage boy bedrooms around the land as well as a fair few rap video homages "EET EEZ MY BEERTHDAY! YOU SHOULD ALL GET NAKID!". Just wasn't my sorta thing, though.

PS: I also conclude that the real life author/star of the show Latif is actually a lying bawbag & should have written about himself honestly rather than turning himself into the cheesiest modern Bollywood-style handsome hero. But then again I guess "I was only following orders" just willnae cut it if you want to sell a couple of million books & have a movie of yer "life story".

Thursday, 22 December 2011

£10 Top 10 of 2011: With Some Fucking Swearing

It may seem bizarre to have an End-of-Year Review type thing for a film blog which didn't update much (at all) in 2011 but I wrote this for a forum & I'm just copy/pasting it anyway so deal wae it. In a year where I saw near 70 new releases (so says my Flickchart) I went a bit stir crazy, this is what happens when you're jobless, cashless & lassie-less (although I have stated I'd grab a lassie as an excuse to go see Stupid, Crazy, Love. - the last one I stupidly dragged to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and had to shush on at least 5 occasions). The Unlimited Cinecard has been my prized possession & surely saved me from wanking myself into oblivion although with all my favourites, which I'll list in a bit, it has (along with the more traditional way of watching new movies, like illegal internet piracy crowd-interactive CAM copies) brought a massive pile of utter shit and dropped it square onto my lap. Green Lantern. Red State. Your Highness. Apollo 18. Blitz. And the slightly better produced perfect shit-storms of Contagion, Limitless, Warrior & The Adjustment Bureau. 4 complete failures of expensive cinematic quality & entertainment that should have their DVD stock ground up into little bits of deadly powdered glass and force-fed to all responsible. Fuck you, bad movie-making cunts, don't waste my time when I could be working through all the YouPorn categories in alphabetical order. I'm nearly at S!

Anyhoo, without further ado - my top 10 of 2011:

#10 is the animated big-kids Western adventure Rango. With a bit of the plot borrowed from Chinatown, a cameo from the other Duke & some gritty, dirty, amazingly wonderful animation it's just entertaining as hell.

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Best Dumb-Ass Action Movie Popcorn Fodder Film of 2010 is...

It has been decided! So... without further ado.

#4 The Expendables 
What's it all about?
We waited ages for this, as soon as the rumours started circulating that Sylvester Stallone was assembling all the old action-movie stars to be in his next film all the 80's fan-boys started beating our chests and firing our toy guns in the air. Stallone! Schwarzenegger! Willis! Lundgren! Rourke! Jet-Li! Um... Statham! Stone Cold Steve Austin! ...ERIC ROBERTS! Some UFC fighter guys! The crap detective from Dexter! ...uh, !!!. Yeah, despite spending an extra $20 million (cost: $80 million), the cast doesn't quite stand up to RED - especially when you consider Bruce Willis & Arnie are on the screen for about 20 seconds, Mickey Rourke is on back-up duty with only some old stories to regale the troops in his armoury, Jet Li is reduced to the clown of the group & Dolf Lundgren's role is much smaller than it should be (the biggest crime of all). Jason Statham is rather boringly 2nd billed & his character is going through a really ball-breakingly boring relationship problem which (unlike RED) takes up a lot of screen-time & is extremely cliche. The main story is about some fictional corrupt South American island that is under the evil influence of a forgettable American crime-lord & the situation has to be sorted - Stallone runs a crew of mercenaries who take on the worthy job (yep, straight out of The A-Team). It's got it's fair share of dumb explosions & daft action but suffers from the insane Snakes On a Plane effect - lots of hype, very little delivery. Sounded like a great idea - but this film is a major failure because there's no compelling story, there's no Van Damme or Seagal (see: Machete!) there's no real bad-guy we want to see blown away & most of the cannon-fodder are just soldiers who don't know any better & only believe they are protecting their country (which Stallone et al are invading). Which brings me to this...

Most needless scene of mass murder in any action-film:
This is a screen-cap of the moment a flare ignites a pier which was just soaked in gasoline:
Just moments before Stallone and Statham were on their way home... until they decided to turn back and machine-gun and set fire to all the guys angrily shaking their fists as their plane disappeared into the sunset. These poor son's of bitches!

Best Line Said by Dolph Lundgren (they're all good):

Monday, 3 January 2011

2010 Dumb-Ass Hollywood Action-Movie Fight to the Death Special!! (Preview)

The general idea of this blog is to talk about all the things which take money out of my pocket - in my case mostly movies. Expect rambling about music, video-games, theatre, alcohol & prostitutes at any given time. Some people may call this blog a constant comment on the high quality of commercial product or a constant review & reminder of the pointlessness of Capitalism - if they did, that'd be deep & cool. Please do that. Anyway - I couldn't think of anything else to be my first blog post other than a showdown between the top 4 action films of last year, that's how important & awesome this idea is.

The 4 biggest, dumb, Hollywood-budget ass-kicking films of 2010 go head to head until I decide which one is the best of the year. If there's any sniff of smarty-pants innovation ('Inception'), wry, comedic wit ('Kick-Ass') or if it generally looked so god-damn boring I wouldn't hand over my £10 even if it smelled of Amy Winehouse's vagina ('The Book of Eli') - then it doesn't qualify. The year 2010 produced it's fair share of bloody action & edge-of-your-seat thrills, but enough about Raoul Moat R.I.P. (lol @ the topical joke, you fool!) - these films were widely released for the general public's perusal. Some made old folk spit out their popcorn/teeth & leave, some made young folk start saving up their cash to buy flying tanks, big knives and [insert The Expendables reference here] & some just made us fondly remember the good 'ole days of the 80's - others ('Knight and Day', 'From Paris With Love') just made us all roll our eyes and do our best to avoid the local cinema as doggedly as Frankie Boyle avoids Katie Price's boyfriend.


 Winner to be decided by the end of the week! (07/01/11)