Passion (2012)

Passion

Genre: Erotic Thriller

Cast: Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace

Synopsis: An assistant is in a love-hate relationship with her advertising executive boss, who proceeds to humiliate her and then make out with her. Throw a murder in the mix and it all gets out of hand.

To be a successful erotic thriller, a film has to do two things. The first is titillate. A thriller cannot be called erotic if it doesn’t cause a certain amount of tightness in the trouser-crotch area. The second is thrill. The plot needs to grab the audience by the balls and not let go. It needs to keep viewers entertained and keep them guessing. Sounds simple enough, right? So why is it that Brian De Palma’s film Passion fails to titillate and thrill? Well, for the titillation part, perhaps it’s because it is a German film and we all know nothing sexy ever came out of Germany.

lederhosenI rest my case

OK, that’s not true. Watching the German football team play in the World Cup has convinced me that the country is full of stud-muffins but that doesn’t change the fact that this film is not sexy. It recycles a lot of the traditional erotic thriller fair such as lesbianism and aggressive vadge-banging so good the couple clearly forgot to use protection. However, at no point did any of this get me hot under the collar. I am tempted to say that the film’s central problem in the boner-inducing department is that the eroticism feels forced: it’s De Palma telling you what should be sexy by relying on conventional and well-worn formulas. Passion takes no risks with eroticism. I think back to Drive and I remember that scene in the elevator when Gosling kisses that lucky bitch and then pummels the shit out of the guy. That was hot…probably because it shouldn’t be. Erotic thrillers are successful when they push boundaries. McAdams and Rapace making out in the back of a limo pushes no boundaries.

So, the film is not erotic. Is it thrilling? Well, not really. The film is basically about women being mean to one another at work. If I wanted to see that I would just show up to my regular job and spread some shade amongst my female colleagues e.g. “so-and-so called you a bitch,” “what’s-her-face slept with your boyfriend,” “that chick over there said you smell like bad-decisions and week-old happy meals.” I could go on. Point is, there’s nothing terribly exciting about people hating their colleagues. That’s just everyday life. By the time the murder actually happens in this movie you’ve stopped caring and you’re just shouting at Noomi Rapace to fucking quit her job. Seriously, why is she still there!?

That’s not to say that Passion is a complete waste of time. It does have hints of glory. For instance, the scene where Noomi Rapace has a panic attack in a lift was very good but then it gets a little OTT when she crashes her car. Also, the random scenes in German were very good and displayed a lot of the actors’ talents when playing roles in their native language. The best scene, however, is when the two main characters go to a private runway show and some model stacks it. If life has taught me one thing, it’s that there is nothing funnier than watching good-looking people hit the floor like a sack of shit.

Model falling downSee what I mean?

High-lights:

  • I seriously laughed for a good five minutes when the model fell over. It’s even funnier when you realise there is a camp German guys shouting abuse at her.
  • The film kind of makes you realise that your job isn’t so terrible.
  • Screaming at the screen: “WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU STILL IN THIS JOB!!??”

Downers:

  • Eurotrash houses…makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.
  • Idiotic characters. “Isobel, are you alright?” OF COURSE SHE’S NOT FUCKING ALRIGHT!!!! She’s popping prescription pills like they’re pez!
  • Rachel McAdams really can’t handle the scene where she describes her twin’s death. It’s so stale.

Summary:

After a stint of watching erotic thrillers, I think it’s time to put a pin in it but it’s a shame I didn’t end my marathon on a high-note. I mean, was certainly high but that’s not the same thing. Passion is a very run-of-the-mill thriller that does not excite it audience. Instead of doing anything controversial or interesting, the film simply relies on the old “bisexuals are serial killers” theme. It’s bland and forgettable. I was hoping for more from De Palma.

4/10

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Stay Alive (2006)

stay alive

Genre: Horror

Cast: Jon Foster, Samaire Armstrong, Frankie Muniz

Synopsis: A group of hot, young adults all play a video game. Unfortunately, the game is haunted and the game’s central villain begins picking them off one by one.

There have been many attempts over the years to turn video games into movies: Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Mortal Kombat etc. For the most part, these adaptations have been unsuccessful. Stay Alive is a little different in that it’s not an adaptation, but a film that centres on the characters playing a haunted video game. It’s like an updated Ringu. Whoever made the film, however, has clearly never played a video game. In fact, whoever made this film has obviously never opened a history book or developed any idea of how decent people act in real life situations.

So what is this video game about? It’s about a serial killer. A fictitious one? No. A real life serial killer….wow. That has got to be one of the most inappropriate things to ever happen. Can you imagine someone making a video game about Jeffrey Dahmer or Fred and Rose West? It’s just something you should never do! OK, the serial killer in the game is a historical one but that hardly makes it better. The killer’s victims were still real people and I don’t think they would appreciate their killer being celebrated in a video game…if they know what that is. So, who is the serial killer in this film?

Elizabeth_Bathory_PortraitDis bitch

Elizabeth Báthory, a 16th century noblewoman who supposedly slaughtered dozens of young and fertile wenches and then bathed in their blood to keep her youthful looks. Fucked up, right? Yes, she was an awful human being but the makers of this film didn’t even do that good a job of researching her life. In fact, the characters just spread lies about her and put her in New Orleans, which, may I remind you, did not fucking exist in the 16th century! Aaaaah, historical accuracy rage. Hollywood writers, I implore you, research your characters thoroughly.

Hocus Pocus

So what else is wrong with this film? The characters! All of them are terrible but special mention goes out to the one played by Anna from The OC aka Penny from the Hanson song, ‘Penny and Me Tonight.’ I refuse to call her by her actual name. She’s the sort of person who takes photographs at a funeral. Who does that!? No-one because it’s fucking rude, and borderline psychotic. Frankie Muniz is in the film too and it’s funny yet rather depressing to see how his cuteness as a kid in Malcom in the Middle did not continue into adulthood. Milo Ventimiglia is the only actor to come out relatively unscathed and that’s because he’s killed off before he has a chance to get annoying.

High-lights:

  • A lot of the annoying characters get killed off.

Downers:

  • How are all the characters playing the video game on one screen if it’s first person?
  • Seriously!? A video game about a serial killer?
  • Stop taking photos! You’re at a fucking funeral! Show some god damn respect.
  • The historical inaccuracy makes my blood boil.

Summary:

I can’t believe I wasted 90 minutes of my life on this steaming turd. If you want a scary video game experience then do yourself a favour and play Resident Evil or Silent Hill because this movie should be avoided at all costs.

1.5/10

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The Goonies (1985)

The_Goonies

Genre: Kids, Action/Adventure, Comedy

Cast: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman

Synopsis: A group of kids go on an adventure to find the treasure of One-Eyed Willie, a legendary pirate.

I think everyone has that one film from childhood that they treasure above all other films. This film will be the one that is passed down from generation to generation. You will sit down with your kids, all huddled together on the couch, and put on that classic and all bask in its wonderfulness. For me, that one film is The Goonies. Quite simply, there is no better film that both adults and kids can enjoy.

I can’t exactly remember the first time that I saw this movie. In a way, I feel like The Goonies has always been a part of my life and I can see now how it has had an impact on me. It’s part of the reason why I really want to see the Oregon coastline and why I love those white wooden houses that just scream Americana. It’s also impacted my fashion sense (I own the type of yellow rain coat Mikey wears). Interestingly enough, watching the movie at 25 I can see how much it influenced my sense of humour. The humour in this film is crude and twisted but well-timed, sharp, and, in a way, nostalgic as it feels like comedy that belongs in a bygone-era of kids’ films. Hell, what sort of kids’ movie nowadays makes fun of childhood obesity!?

Truffle Shuffle

Advice I live by

It’s funny how my appreciation for the movie has changed with age. When I watch the movie now, I am taken back by the razor sharp script and the amazing performances given by the young cast. As a child, however, I fell in love with the film’s spirit of adventure. Here you had a group of friends setting off, facing danger, solving riddles, and narrowly avoiding death. It was the sort of life I dreamed of. Unfortunately, when you grow up in rural England the only real danger you face is needle sticks in the graveyard during the town’s annual gypsy festival.

Gypsy

Cross my palm with hepatitis

That sense of adventure and danger is exactly what kids’ films need nowadays. I read an article recently that suggested that The Goonies and E.T. were the perfect kids’ films because they presented a real and genuinely terrifying danger: death, abduction, torture and scientific experimentation. Modern kids’ movies don’t compare. While engaging a child’s sense of wonder, The Goonies and E.T. was able to keep audiences and kids at the edge of their seat by showing universal and innate fears. It’s also partly the reason why audiences became more emotionally involved in film and sympathised with the characters to a greater extent.

I have to say that I agree with this theory. I always forget that the villains, the Fratellis, try to stick a child’s hand into a blender. That’s about as fucked up it can possibly get. Moreover, the same kid gets locked up in a freezer and a car boot with a dead body, easily one of the funniest moments in the movie. I think that’s probably one of the greatest things about The Goonies: it never patronises its audience, even though the target audience is children aged about 10. It’s a movie for smart and precocious children. If you watched and loved this film as a child then I can almost certainly guarantee that you are awesome.

High-lights:

  • The best child acting I have ever seen in a movie and all the kids are likeable. Even the girl with the least screen-time has some cracking one-liners.
  • I love Chunk. The scene where he tells the Fratellis about all the bad things he has done is comedic genius.
  • Cyndi Lauper soundtrack!!! 80s awesomeness overload.
  • The seen in which Corey Feldman speaks Spanish to the maid is brilliant.
  • A wonderful sense of adventure that charms adults and kids alike.

Downers:

  • I honestly can’t think of any.

Summary:

In my mind, there is no greater movie more worthy of the “mind-blowingly awesome” label. This is a film that will always bring a smile to my face and I honestly can’t wait to share this movie with my children. If they dislike this movie then it’s off the orphanage with them. No child of mine will criticise The Goonies. I’m sure that won’t happen though. How can anyone criticise a movie that has a song from Cyndi Lauper in it?

10/10

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Comedy, Kids, Mind Blowingly Awesome

Skyfall (2012)

Skyfall_62

Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama

Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem

Synopsis: Following a terrorist attack on MI6, Bond must track down the perpetrator who seems to know an awful lot about M’s past.

So far, I have reviewed two other Bond movies for this blog: A View to a Kill and Tomorrow Never Dies. Both are good Bond films in their own way. A View to a Kill is perhaps the campiest Bond movie to date and Tomorrow Never Dies has Michelle Yeoh firing a gun while screaming “Hiiiyyyahh!!!” I readily admit, however, that both are not, objectively speaking, the best Bond films. In fact, they don’t even rank near the top. For the sake of variety, I decided to review a Bond film that most would agree is objectively decent, one that balances style with substance. One that does not feature Madonna.

MadonnaShudder

I remember when Skyfall came out and it was all anyone could talk about. It’s easy to see why. This film has all the hallmarks of classic Bond: style, exotic locales, fast cars, sexy women, and people being killed by dangerous animals. At the same time, Skyfall felt like a step forward. Although it had all the things that made Bond films great in the past, it introduced a whole new range of things to get excited about, namely breath-taking cinematography and a window into the past of two central characters.

On the cinematography front, this is another notch to add to Roger Deakins’ belt. The man can simply do no wrong when it comes to cinematography. There are so many examples of cinematographic brilliance in this movie it’s really difficult to narrow down my favourite shots. If I had to choose, however, I would say that the two moments that stood out for me were the fight scene in the Shanghai skyscraper and the scene in the Scottish highlands. The cinematography gives Skyfall such a sleek and polished look. It’s rare to see an action film that marries style and substance but when an action film does do that it results in a remarkable end product that manages to tantalise both the adrenaline whore and aesthete within me. It’s like receiving double the pleasure…like being on the receiving end of a rusty trombone.

Rusty TromboneI didn’t think it would be wise to include a picture of an actual rusty trombone…

The depth added to Bond and M was also greatly appreciated in this film. I won’t mention any detailed spoilers. It’s simply enough to say that we learn more about the characters’ pasts. This is the sort of information that is glossed over in other Bond films. Although the lack of character history never really bothered me, it was a nice touch to give the characters a background that shows them to be more human and sympathetic. It makes the ending of Skyfall a lot more emotional and strangely cathartic, two things you don’t expect in a film about a man who kills people for money and bangs a lot of poon-tang along the way.

High-lights:

  • The feeling that this is a more modern and complex Bond film.
  • Stylish cinematography.
  • Perfect level of eroticism. The scene with the straight razor comes to mind. I want to go to a traditional barber and get a proper shave like that. I think it would be quite an erotic experience if done correctly…and if it’s done by someone hot.
  • Komodo dragons!? That’s new for a bond film.
  • Sexy-adorable Ben Wishaw.

Downers:

  • Too much product placement and sometimes it’s introduced in a really clumsy way.
  • Not enough Daniel Craig nudity.
  • He has sex with a woman who just admitted that she was a victim of the sex trade…completely inappropriate.

Summary:

Skyfall offers a lot to potential viewers. Fans of classic Bond will not be disappointed as all the hallmarks of the brand still feature in this movie. However, a greater depth and style is added so Bond-sceptics/phobes will still be able to find something to appreciate and enjoy. I don’t know how the next Bond film will be able to top this one but I have high hopes.

9/10

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Drama, Great

Celeste and Jesse Forever (2011)

Celeste and Jesse Forever

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama

Cast: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood

Synopsis: Childhood sweethearts Celeste and Jesse are getting divorced but can they manage to stay best friends?

I like to keep as up to date as possible when it comes to movies. I read all sorts of things to keep abreast of the movie industry: trade magazines, newspapers, blog posts, reddit etc. As such, I get quite surprised when I come across a movie I haven’t heard a lot about. Celeste and Jesse Forever was one of those movies. I was instantly drawn to it because it has my future husband (Andy Samberg) in it and I was spurred on by good reviews and word-of-mouth. Overall, it wasn’t a bad choice.

The film boasts an impressive cast who manage to do a pretty good job for the most part. If this movie accomplished one thing it’s that it convinced me of Rashida Jones’ talents as a serious dramatic actress. She showed a lot of potential in The Social Network and in this film she cashes it all in. The best example is when Jesse tells her he got some book shop slut knocked up a few months after the divorce. Seriously, why is it always the bookish ones that are the hoes? Subconsciously, it’s probably the reason why I hang out in book shops so much…I’m looking for a gentleman in the streets but a freak between the sheets….moving on. Jones really impressed me in the scene. You can almost feel her pain as she desperately tries to reel it in. The other cast members also have their moments but it’s Jones that really stood out. Actually, do you know who else stood out?

Surprise Bitch

That’s right! Emma Roberts. Her character is complete fluff in this movie. She essentially plays some sort of bitchy Lindsay Lohan/Miley Cyrus combo. There is no real reason to have her in the film but I don’t care because I secretly love her. I also love her character’s song in this movie, “Do it on my face.” What I did not appreciate, however, was Jones’ characters’ attempt to market her to the gay crowd because we love dick in the butt. Yes, we do love dicks in butts, I will admit that, but I’m not going to buy merchandise or buy into a product simply because it references that. Gay guys are not that shallow. Fag-hags, maybe, but not gay guys.

While I enjoyed most of the film, it did suffer from two central failings. The first is that it tries a little too hard to be the new 500 Days of Summer by subverting the romantic comedy genre. I wasn’t convinced it accomplished it as successfully as 500 Days of Summer which, in my opinion, did it in an effortless and honest way. The character drama in Celeste and Jesse Forever is a little too ridiculous to be believable and borders on farcical at times. It feels a little too contrived. The second failing was occasional clumsy writing. For instance, I don’t know why the writers pretend that LA is some spiritual-health mecca. Don’t get me wrong, I love LA but it is not Nirvana. Angelinos don’t all do yoga or pilates. Moreover, people who say “Namaste” and discuss kale varieties are likely to get “Bitch please” looks.

Bitch PleaseChristina gets it

OK, you know what? I actually do love kale but I’m not THAT crazy about it. I swear.

High-lights:

  • Rashida Jones ability to do serious dramatic acting.
  • Beautiful LA. This is the city I fell in love with…although I swear to God the people who live there aren’t always like this.
  • Andy Samberg…drool.
  • Awesome soundtrack couples with some great Sofia Coppola-esque dream-like scenes.
  • Lots and lots of pot.

Downers:

  • Elijah Wood makes for a pretty dull gay friend.
  • A little too contrived in places.
  • Lazy stereotyping thanks to clumsy scriptwriting.

Summary:

I enjoyed this film. I’m not going to pretend it’s the greatest film out there but it was certainly a good way to kill a couple of hours. I can’t guarantee you’ll like, though. That will depend on your ability to overlook its sense of self-awareness. If you can look past it though I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

7/10

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Filed under Comedy, Drama, Good, Romance

Pathology (2008)

Pathology

Genre: Thriller

Cast: Milo Ventimiglia, Alyssa Milano

Synopsis: A bunch of psycho doctors smoke crack and kill people for sport and then try to guess how the murder was done.

We have a doctor in our family. My twin brother, who has gotten many shout-outs on this blog, is that doctor. He currently works in a hospital outside of London and, although I don’t see him as much as I would like to, we talk regularly. As such, I like to think I have a pretty good insight into what the life of a doctor is like. It is hard work, long hours, crazy stress, and even crazier patients. It is not a crack orgy in the morgue. If you don’t know any doctors and watch this movie, you may be fooled into thinking that’s what a career in medicine is like. Unfortunately, that is not the case. That’s what a career in law is like.

RBGYou don’t even want to know the shit RBG gets up to on the weekend

This movie gets so many things wrong. I will start with the writing because clearly the writers have never met another human being in their lifetime. Why would a doctor decide to start killing people for fun just because a bunch of “popular” kids do it? THIS ISN’T FUCKING HIGH SCHOOL! If someone came up to me and said: “Hey do you want to join our secret society but first you have to kill someone and smoke crack”, I would agree to it, wait until they left the room, and then call the cops. It wouldn’t make for a very exciting movie but I feel as though people would have more respect for me that way.

Also, what kind of person would get turned on and want to fuck another person while surrounded by dead people? The answer? No-one. No-one would get turned on. Yet this is what happens in this movie when Milo Venti-whoosit joins the team of pathologists. All of a sudden he sees some crazy red head playfully stroke a dead body and suddenly he wants to get all up inside that crazy. Seriously, a dog with two dicks would have shown more restraint.

That’s part of the reason why this film is fucking terrible: it tries to inject eroticism into a situation that is in no way sexy. Autopsies and sex do not go well together. Ever. Getting aroused while watching this film is like trying to watch someone shove a roast ham into an electrical socket. It’s an exercise in futility. That shit just won’t go. What’s worse, there’s this huge sex scene after this girl kills her abusive stepdad who she says raped her as a child. Why on earth would a guy have sex with someone who’s: 1) just killed someone; and 2) just revealed seconds before that she is the victim of sexual abuse? Does crack make you do that? If so then I’m sticking to weed. The stuff I smoked on Friday gave me couchlock so fierce I doubt I could have fucked anyone even if I wanted to.

flat-girl-above-the-influence-elite-dailyI need to get me some of the stuff this girl was smoking

This film gives me a headache and I think I can feel my blood pressure rising. I could go on and on about all the things that it did wrong but, for the good of my health, I think I had better stop. Just know that this film is the reason why I have no faith in mankind.

High-lights:

  • Milo Venti-something or other has a cute ass.

Downers:

  • Why is everything on screen happening? Why is no-one acting like a normal person? Why is that Asian woman getting off with the redhead woman while those guys are cutting some dead person open!?
  • Alyssa Milano was rude about that girl’s dress. I mean, she said she liked it and all but you can tell she was lying. The dress was fucking ugly but you don’t need to draw attention to it. Just don’t say anything. Rude.
  • Aaaahhhh, nipple piercing! AAAAAAAAAAHHHH NEEDLE IN THE EAR!!!
  • “You never forget your first fuck.” Perhaps the worst thing that could ever be said about child abuse.

Summary:

This movie is like when you show up for a Grindr/Tinder date and the other person shows up and looks very little like the photo they sent you. That sweeping sense of mortification is present in this film also. Proceed with caution.

1.5/10

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Filed under Crap, Thriller

Tron: Legacy (2010)

Tron_Legacy_poster

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure

Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Jeff Bridges

Synopsis: I have no fucking clue…something about being sucked into a computer and then Olivia Wilde shows up and she’s important to the story somehow but I couldn’t figure out why.

Weed can be both a blessing and a curse. There are times when it augments a viewing experience so much that it seems silly to watch movies without smoking a joint. Then there are times when your mind completely clouds over and you might as well watch a brick wall for all the entertainment you get out of it. I had one of those experiences last Saturday when I sat down to watch this movie with a friend. I let him choose the movie which, in retrospect, was a bad thing to do because during Tron: Legacy the phrase “What the fuck is going on?” must have been uttered about 20 times. Seriously, I was so baked. I caught a reflection of myself in the mirror and I looked like this dog:

Stoned dog

I feel like it would be unfair to review this movie in light of my state of mind while watching it. However, I don’t have any alternative movies lined up so you guys will just have to cope somehow.

Right off the bat, I can tell you that there were some very impressive things about this movie. Firstly, the visuals. This is the sort of movie 3D was made for. Part of me wishes that I had seen this in cinemas when it first came out. The neon lights, the crazy arenas and death matches, and Jeff Bridges digitally altered face would have been much spectacular had they been amplified on the big screen. When you’re watching the movie on an i-pad screen it just doesn’t have the same effect.

The second thing I liked about Tron: Legacy was the soundtrack. Make no mistake, this film is essentially “Daft Punk: The Movie.” I think the robot duo even have a cameo in the film. I think the constant robo-techno-techno would probably get on some peoples’ nerves but I enjoyed it and if you’re a fan of their music then you will definitely appreciate their contribution.

I think part of my problem with this film is that I had not seen the original Tron. The storyline probably would have made a lot more sense had I done some background research first. Plus, that way I would have been much less inclined to pick out the flaws of the actors in this movie…namely Oliva Wilde’s asymmetric fringe/bob that I just wanted to attack. Also, I have a hard time accepting Garrett Hedlund as the lead in a family friendly film after I saw him butt-fuck Steve Buscemi. There are some things that you just can’t unsee.

My eyes

High-lights:

  • Toe-tapping, shape-throwingly good soundtrack.
  • Great graphics.

Downers:

  • I have no idea what this movie was about or what happened in it. I seriously can’t even remember the characters’ names.

Summary:

This film was a bit of a write-off thanks to the fact I was baked off my tits. I feel like I should come back to this one after seeing the original though as this film clearly had its strengths. Maybe if I come back to it I’ll be able to grasp the plot the second time around.

5/10

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Meh, Sci-Fi