The Girl Who Became Three Boys (2012)

Genre: Documentary, Comedy, Drama

Cast: Real people from the deepest and darkest corners of the British Isles.

Genre: A documentary about a psychopathic girl who used social media trickery to become three different boys and seduce two clueless friends.

I’m not the biggest documentary watcher. When I watch movies I like to enjoy a sense of escapism, which is something that is mostly absent from documentary films. However, I do like to break this rule every now and then. Considering it’s my first proper post of the new year, I thought I would break tradition by writing about my favourite documentary, which aired on the UK’s channel 4 in 2012. For those of you who do not live in the UK, channel 4 documentaries are legendary because more often than not they take the piss out the subjects of the film. Channel 4’s editors are true visionaries who seem to have adopted a motto that humour can be found in every story, even the most tragic. Plus, the documentaries often have ridiculous topics like dogging or children past the age of five who still breast-feed.

The Girl Who Became Three Boys is the tragic and (surprisingly) true story of Gemma Barker, a girl who managed to seduce two of her straight friends. In this day and age, a gay person seducing a straight person is hardly news-worthy. Hell, I did it once or twice in my college days. What is so shocking about the Gemma Barker case is the way she seduced her friends. There were no drugs involved thankfully. What she did instead was create three different boys using Facebook and social media and then used those boys to get close to the two girls in question. Basically, she was a catfish. But it gets even more twisted when you find out that the two girls actually met the ‘boys’ and started serious relationships with them. How did they not know they were dating their female friend? Lord knows because she adopted a disguise every bit as complicated and rigorous as the disguises used by Sailor Moon and the Sailor Scouts.

sailor-moon-wallpaper-hd-13-770047“These colourful and suggestive outfits will totally keep our identities hidden!”

Looking at it objectively, it is a really fucked up situation. This girl manipulated her friends, toyed with their emotions, and allegedly assaulted them. Then again the series of events is so bizarre and unusual, you would be forgiven for thinking it was the plot to a Shakespearian farce. The documentary capitalises on the inherent WTF-ness of the story and heightens it by using CGI re-enactments, the kind favoured by that Taiwanese news show, and also animated collage poster boards. You may think it was a dirty move on the part of the filmmakers to do this and to make light of a tragic situation but, after seeing interviews with the victims, you kind of feel as though it was actually the sensible thing to do.

The filmmakers manage to interview the two victims and one of them, very sensibly, decides to remain anonymous and her face is never shown. The other one…..well….let’s just say she wasn’t as smart. She comes on to the show and, bold as brass, details everything about the incident…and I mean EVERYTHING. The stuff she says is just unbelievable. Through gentle questioning from the filmmakers, you find out that she never actually saw the guy/girl’s full face because he/she always obscured it with a hat or a hoodie, and he/she never spoke to the victim. Instead, he/she used to type messages on his/her phone and then show the victim….while they were stood next to each other.

wut

As the documentary progresses, you begin to question whether it is actually a piss-take but I assure you it is not. This is all true and there’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to the case. I urge you to watch this documentary online (if you can find it) for two reasons. First, it’s a great example of how to make a documentary that entertains as much as it educates. Secondly, it’ll make you feel much better about yourself because you’ll come to realise that you will never be as clueless as the people in this documentary.

High-lights:

  • So much WTF.
  • “She was so clever!” No. She really wasn’t.
  • Surprisingly quotable…”He gave me pleasure.”
  • British humour at its finest…and most sardonic.

Downers:

  • It must have been a very traumatic experience for the victims.

Summary:

If you watch one documentary this year, please let it be this one. It is so ridiculous and so memorable you will be talking about it for days. It is available in some corner of the internet so there is no excuse not to watch it.

10/10

2 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Drama, Mind Blowingly Awesome

High-lights of 2014

Happy new year everybody! I hope you all managed to celebrate the arrival of 2015 in a special way. As expected, I spent the evening baked out of my gourd and watching movies. All in all, a pretty successful evening for me.

Now, moving on to the important stuff, it’s time for me to deliver my opinion on what the best movies of the year were. Before I start, I should say that last year I failed to include some films I should have because they had not yet been released in England. Had I the ability to see them before New Year, 12 Years a Slave and Her would have definitely made the list. I was considering including them on this year’s list but I thought it would be unfair to prejudice the great films that were released in 2014. As such, this year’s list will only include film’s that were released this year. Fortunately, my sojourn to the US meant I was able to see all the Oscar-favourites before they came out here so my choices this year are fairly balanced.

I have picked these five films for a variety of reasons and, as you will see, it’s quite a diverse group. I picked some for entertainment value. Others I picked because of what they accomplished. All in all, I have to say it was an impressive year in cinema and I hope 2015 turns out to be just as eventful.

Boyhood

Boyhood_film

What is it about?

A young boy growing up in Texas.

Why is it one of the best films of the year?

How could it not be? It took 12 years to film and is one of the most audacious films to have ever been made. Boyhood packs and emotional punch but the surprising thing about it is that it’s a film that’s not really about anything. A lot of the drama actually happens off screen: the parents’ split, the domestic violence etc. What we see is the boys’ reaction to these events and how they shape his life with very little input from him. The audience is asked to relate to and forge a connection with the boy simply because we share one thing in common: we were once children ourselves. Boyhood delivers a message which is that childhood is a magical time, but one that ends very quickly. You blink, you miss it. Once it’s gone, you’ll never get it back. The movie made me, a young adult, reflect on my own childhood and appreciate any film that manages to evoke a sense of nostalgia.

Best thing about it?

The realism. The scene in which the boy gets given a gun and a bible on a birthday from his conservative grandparents is a brilliant example. He doesn’t get emotional, he just accepts the gifts politely and then saves his comments for later.

Dear White People

Dear_White_People

What is it about?

Race relations on a university campus in North America.

Why is it one of the best films of the year?

Because it manages to inject appropriate humour into a subject matter that is incredibly sensitive and complex and concerns an issue of the utmost relevance. I must admit, I was surprised by how much I loved this film. I went to see it at the London Film Festival because I had heard good things about it on the festival circuit. Now, as a white guy, race is something I don’t think about a lot largely because I don’t have to. When I lived in the US, it was the first time I experienced the race debate. It was a completely new experience for me but one that fascinated me. So much so in fact, that I took a course on critical race theory. This film dealt with a number of topics we looked at in class: intersectionality, racial identity among minorities, and the myth of a post-racial society. These issues are complex and emotional and to see them discussed thoughtfully and with well-scripted humour was very impressive.

Best thing about it?

Tyler James Williams. They guy has great timing and delivery.

Under the Skin

Under_the_Skin_poster

What is it about?

An alien in Glasgow who picks up men and devours their insides.

Why is it one of the best films of the year?

Because it is both beautiful and fucking weird. I remember leaving the cinema with an eerie sense of dread and discomfort, and I don’t mean that negatively. The film has very little dialogue, and when it does a lot of it is improvised, but it’s a great study of how images and sound effects can influence a person’s mood and emotions. Scarlett Johansson delivers one of her best performances as an alien in a ratty wig and fur coat, seducing men from depressing Glasgow council estates and leading them to their doom. Be warned, this isn’t the sort of film everyone will enjoy and I know people who hate this film. However, in my mind, it deserves to be on the list simply because it was the most unusual, interesting and creative film of the year.

Best thing about it?

Scarlett Johansson asking for directions to the motorway and shopping in Claire’s Accessories.

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawlerfilm

What is it about?

A freelance camera man records the aftermath of crimes and car crashes and then sells the footage to TV networks.

Why is it one of the best films of the year?

Because the film manages to be both entertaining and creepy, with Jake Gyllenhaal giving a wonderful performance as a career-obsessed sociopath in a fucked up profession. If I were to pick a group of people who are simply the worst, it would have to be real estate agents. However, Nightcrawler shines a light on an industry I didn’t even know existed and it is clearly full of douchebags. Nightcrawler is quite a slow film at first but the tension builds throughout. The ending is not a disappointment and the tension is released in an explosive and also really twisted way. This is a savvy and inventive little thriller that deserves recognition at awards ceremonies. Also, some beautiful shots of LA and it was filmed in my old neighbourhood….although I don’t remember it being that dangerous.

Best thing about it?

The film’s ability to build tension.

Gone Girl

Gone_Girl_Poster

What is it about?

A woman disappears and her husband becomes the prime suspect.

Why is it one of the best films of the year?

Because it’s a smart and stylish thriller with a great performance from Rosamund Pike and brilliant direction from David Fincher. I am a voracious reader; I get through at least 40 books a year. However, I tend to stay well away from ‘it books.’ The novel was certainly one of those and, because I hadn’t read it, I came to the cinema blind. I had no idea what would happen and thank god for that because it heightened the overall experience. During this movie I laughed, I was shocked, and I was thrilled. It’s a difficult thing to bring out a broad and contrasting range of emotions in an audience, but Fincher manages to do it with Gone Girl thereby securing his title as one of the best directors working today.

Best thing about it?

Honestly, I would say Pike. She’s not going to win an Oscar for her performance but a nomination is highly deserved. She manages to portray a very complex and interesting character with ease and she was a very pleasant surprise….as was Ben Affleck’s penis.

9 Comments

Filed under Great

Downers of 2014

On the rare occasions my childhood friends and I get to celebrate New Year’s Eve with each other, we have a tradition. Before midnight we each do a shot of an alcohol mixed with cranberry juice. After midnight, we do another with some kind of alcohol paired with apple juice. As we do it, we say: “Bitter cranberry for the past and sweet apple for the future.” It sounds a lot more poignant than it actually is. The tradition started when my friend, who was royally pissed at the time, ran out of Malibu and coke and had to improvise.

At the end of 2013, I did a ‘year in review’ post where I listed my favourite and most hated movies released that year. I have decided to do the same this year but have approached the post differently. This year, I wanted to take inspiration from our tradition by doing two separate posts: one chronicling the bitter cranberry movies and another celebrating the sweet apples.

As a general rule, 2014 was quite a strong year for movies. Then again, there were some absolute shockers in the bunch. Some films, such as Transformers: Age of Extinction and A Million Ways to Die in the West, don’t make the list. That’s not because I liked them. It’s because I didn’t see them. Quite frankly, I don’t hate myself enough to watch these films. If I had seen these movies then they may have been included. The best I can do is include the shit films I have watched. Rest assured though, I did see quite a few. Without further ado, here are my picks for worst films of the year.

Maleficent

Maleficent_poster

What is it about?

It’s a reinterpretation of Sleeping Beauty, only this time through the eyes of the villain who, apparently, is not a villain at all…she’s just a messed up woman who was physically abused and possibly date raped.

Why is it one of the worst films of the year?

Because it’s totally unnecessary! I must admit, I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to these sorts of things. I’m happy to label the villain as a villain and leave it at that without further question. Not everybody needs a back story, especially if it’s one that’s so saccharine and ham-fisted. The reason Maleficent was such a good villain in the original version was because she was a total drag-queen bitch. She didn’t need a reason to be evil. With cheekbones like hers, she doesn’t need a reason to do or be anything. In my eyes, this was just a waste of money and some of the CGI was pretty monstrous.

Worst thing about it?

Despite the attempts to give them more depth, the characters are really bland and uninspiring.

Grace of Monaco

Grace_of_Monaco_Poster

What is it about?

Grace Kelly’s marriage to Prince Rainier and their efforts to keep Monaco a tax haven for corrupt officials and millionaires.

Why is it one of the worst films of the year?

Because everything about this steaming pile of crap was mistake. It’s hard for me to point out anything positive. If you were to put a gun to my head and make me say something nice it would probably be that the costume department did a good job. Everything else was a total misstep. The acting is hammy at best and none of the characters are sympathetic. Olivier Dahan, the director of the film, was the man behind La Vie en Rose, which is widely considered to be a great French movie. As such, it’s a little confusing to be presented with this abomination, which essentially functions as a two-hour Chanel commercial.

Worst thing about it?

It feels like a wildly inappropriate film to make. At a time when people are tightening their belts and trying to get by on what little money they are given, it seems tacky to make a film about how a screen goddess helped hide their wealth from the government. On top of that, the film ends with a message that it’s OK to be rich and superficial so long as you help the poor on one day of the year….by throwing a lavish ball.

Mood Indigo

Mood_Indigo_poster

What is it about?

It’s about weird French people living in a fantastical Paris and one gets sick when a lily starts growing in her lung.

Why is it one of the worst films of the year?

Because it is simply too weird. Don’t get me wrong, I love serious film’s that add a touch of the strange and fantastic. This film gets it all wrong, however, by having the weirdness eclipse the human drama to a point where nothing really makes sense. It feels like you’re watching street performers and mime-artists who managed to scrape together enough money to make a film with various political messages.

Worst thing about it?

I was so bored throughout this movie. Nothing really happens in it and the cutesy touches just become nauseating after a while.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Sin-City-A-Dame-to-Kill-For-teaser-poster

What is it about?

Life in a fictional city where crime lords and corrupt politicians run the show.

Why is it one of the worst films of the year?

Because it was mistimed. This film should have been released years ago, closer to when the first Sin City came out. Now that it’s 2014, the momentum of the first film has been lost and the film feels kind of irrelevant. On top of that, the quality of the individual stories in this film vary from dull to pointless. On a positive note, I will say that Eve Green’s boobs look magnificent in this film but I wish Joseph Gordon Levitt got his arse out.

Worst thing about it?

Replacing Devon Aoki and the scene in which Miho kills a bunch of guys….it just looked so sloppy.

Divergent

Divergent

What is it about?

It’s about a really dull teenager who inadvertently sparks a revolution in a dystopian society simply because she a “balanced” personality.

Why is it one of the worst films of the year?

Because it’s angsty teenage trash with a crappy protagonist who likes to do the things all moronic teenage girls like to do, namely looking at herself in mirrors and fussing about boys. This film is essentially a boring version of The Hunger Games and the lead actress, Shailene Woodley, is fucking annoying. I don’t know what it is but something about her gets on my tits…maybe it’s the fact that she’s younger than me and more successful or maybe it’s that she eats clay. That’s something people in special-ed classes do. Maybe it’s to do with the fact she starred in a film this year in which two kids make out in Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam. Who does that!? That place is a house of sombre remembrance and they decide to get busy there!!??

Worst thing about it?

The film lost me when the protagonist explains that society is split up into certain groups that match an individual’s personality type. At a certain age, kids get to choose where they want to be. As she’s explaining it all, she mentions there is a group called ‘Amity’ and that everyone there is happy. Why, then, does she decide to join the kids who all act as though they have ADHD!? Just pick the group where everyone is happy! Seems like an obvious choice.

5 Comments

Filed under Crap

Black Christmas (2006)

Black_christmas_ver3

Genre: Horror

Cast: Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert

Synopsis: A bunch of spoilt sorority bitches get axed one by one by a Christmas maniac

Merry Christmas ya filthy animals! I must admit, Christmas is not my favourite holiday to celebrate. I am more of a Halloween kind of guy. However, thanks to the ‘Holiday Horror’ sub-genre, I can indulge my Halloween spirit whenever a holiday rolls around. This year, my brother suggested that I watch the remake of the 1970s festive slasher classic Black Christmas.

Despite taking place over the holiday season, Black Christmas is unlikely to get you in the Christmas spirit. It is not because the film features a lot of death: Die Hard has tons of people dying but that never fails to put me in a Christmassy mood. No, the real reason is because all the Christmas decorations in this movie are tacky as shit. Personally, I prefer Christmas to be a tasteful and subdued affair. Think along the lines of a roaring fire and minimal usage of tinsel on a real tree rather than a house that looks as if a red-neck Santa Clause threw up on it.

Christmas HouseIT BURNS MY EYES!!!

On top of the distasteful use of Christmas bric-a-brac, the film employs a rather disgusting neon colour scheme. After about 30 minutes of watching this movie you will begin to feel a little nauseous. I suppose the sickening use of colour is meant to heighten a viewer’s sense of unease and discomfort with what is happening in the film. I understand the need to make cannibalism and holiday incest as unpleasant as possible, but doing so with the film’s colour scheme was a rather unfortunate choice.

If you manage to stomach the colour scheme and continue watching the movie, the first thing you will notice is that Black Christmas is chock-full of actresses you will sort-of remember from other things. I found myself asking things like: “Isn’t that Buffy’s sister?” and ‘Isn’t that the girl who did the voice of Eliza in The Wild Thornberrys?” It’s kind of fun at first but when they all get killed off in gruesome ways it’s kind of like watching your childhood get murdered. Then again, the amount of character development that goes on in the film is minimal so it’s not going to be too traumatic to see a character get an ice-skating boot upside the head. In fact, the person in this film who gets the most development is the villain but not in the good way: spoiler alert but it turns out the guys is a festive Joseph Fritzl.

In truth, I wish I hadn’t listened to my brother’s suggestion to watch the remake. I understand that the original has a campy appeal and it’s available on Netflix so I feel as though I missed a golden opportunity. Plus, it has Margot Kidder in it before she went manic. If you’re really up for a holiday slasher, then don’t waste your time with the Black Christmas remake. Keep it old school and watch the 1974 original…or watch Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2.

High-lights:

  • The hilarity that ensues when one woman shows up and all you can think about is how much plastic surgery she’s had.
  • All your favourite actresses from childhood.

Downers:

  • Too much neon!
  • Unnecessarily gruesome maiming and murder.
  • No character development.
  • All your favourite actresses from childhood getting killed.

Summary:

Why spoil your Christmas season with this crap? Do yourself a favour and watch Die Hard instead. Hell, even Die Hard 2 is better.

2/10

Leave a comment

Filed under Crap, Horror

Akira (1988)

AKIRA_(1988_poster)

Genre: Sci-Fi, Animation, Action/Adventure

Cast: TETSSSSUUUUOOOOOO!!!, KANEDAAAAA!!!!

Synopsis: A teenager who is also a member of a biker gang in dystopian Neo-Tokyo acquires psychic powers after a run in with an anaemic child. With his new powers, he sets out to release the mysterious entity known as Akira.

I’m back! That’s right loyal readers. I have returned to you after a five week sojourn to the USA. It must have been very difficult for you to process my absence. Lord knows it kept me awake at night. I am sure you have asked yourself, fist shaking at the sky: “Why did Baked leave us?” The simple truth is I decided not to update my blog while I was in the US for one key reason: I didn’t have access to weed. I didn’t want to compromise the integrity of my method…if ‘integrity’ is the right word. I would hate myself if I didn’t stay true to the basic tenets of this blog; namely get high and watch movies. Fortunately, I am back in London where the weed is plentiful and the police don’t give a rat’s ass. For my first review back, I’ll be reviewing the anime sci-fi mind-fuck classic: Akira.

If you thought Paprika and Perfect Blue were bat-shit insane, then you were right. However, as Japanese game shows have demonstrated, there is no limit to the sanity black hole that is Japan. Akira is a film that reflects that generality. The film is set in a dystopian Tokyo in 2019, 31 years after a nuclear explosion destroyed the city. The city is overrun with juvenile delinquents on bikes and nut jobs. Throw in psychic sickly children who look like they’re 80 and things get weird very quickly. I’m talking giant killer teddy bears and an oversized throbbing tumour monster. For the last one, imagine an inappropriate Power Ranger villain but with added sexual symbolism.

Zedd2Although I always thought Lord Zedd was inappropriate for that reason

Although the weirdness is certainly a hallmark of the film, the thing that makes Akira a brilliant film is that it speaks to sentiment that is 100 per cent Japanese. To date, Japan remains the only nation that has had a nuclear weapon used against it in war. In 1945, two Japanese cities were wiped off the map. Akira is a film that is very theme heavy with the central ones being: the fragility of civilisation and cities; the repercussions of using God-like powers for destruction; capitalism and urban wealth inequality; adolescence and coming-of-age; and spirituality and rebirth in the modern age. When watching this movie for the first time, these themes may escape you because it’s such a complex movie and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I watched Akira for the first time when I was 15 and only ‘got it’ when I was 22. However, it’s still worth the watch and the re-watch because the themes this movie tackles are still relevant for today’s world and will continue to be so for a long time. Also, let’s not forget that Japan is hosing the Olympic games in 2020 so I fully expect Akira to actually happen by that time.

The amazing thing about this movie is that it is over 25 years old and it still holds up by today’s standards. The animation is as fresh and remarkable as it was when it was first released. I don’t think anyone could ever dream of criticising how Neo-Tokyo was designed: it’s a sprawling metropolis with shining lights and gleaming towers as well as dark corners and decay. The level of detail is, quite frankly, astounding and no scene does the craftsmanship justice quite like this one.

While the visuals are just as amazing as they were in the 80s, the sound effects have maybe aged a bit. I mentioned something similar in my review of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. However, you can’t let these small blips ruin what is an otherwise brilliant film. My advice to you readers is that you should watch this film as soon as possible, as a US remake could be on the way. The remake has been in development hell for years but that could change soon so you’ll want to experience the original before Hollywood shits all over it by including heavy-handed 9/11 references and Milla Jovovich in a skin-tight cat suit.

High-lights:

  • The animation. Wow. That is all.
  • Complex but not without reason. The film is all about nuclear war, evolution, and spirituality in an age crippled with capitalism.
  • Probably the best representation of romance in an apocalyptic scenario. I always find it weird how people are always shagging each other at the end of the world in these sorts of films….surely the characters have other more important things on their mind…like not dying.
  • Watch it with a friend and assign roles so that one can shout ‘Tetsuo’ and the other one shout ‘Kaneda’ at appropriate moments.

Downers:

  • Poor Kaori. Poor, poor Kaori. She got clothes-lined by a guy on a motor bike. That’s got to hurt.
  • Slightly outdated sound effects.

Summary:

When you first watch this movie, you might not get it. In fact, you might hate it. However, I am begging you to come at Akira with an open mind and maybe a little context because if you do that you will see why it’s such an important moment in Japanese cinematic history. Sure it’s a weird film, but when that weirdness comes together with purpose it becomes art. That’s what this film is, pure and simple: it’s art.

10/10

5 Comments

Filed under Action/Adventure, Animation, Mind Blowingly Awesome, Sci-Fi

Django Unchained (2012)

Django Unchained

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio

Synopsis: A German bounty hunter and a former slave band together to free the slave’s wife from the hands of a ruthless plantation owner.

Hello all. Firstly, I apologise for the gap between posts. The last two weeks have been very hectic with work. I’ve been to Hungary and back and now I’m in Washington, DC for a few weeks. On top of that, I was sick and jet-lagged last week so writing posts simply became too much. Fortunately for you, I recover quickly! To celebrate my return to the USA, I decided my next post will be for a film that looks at the peculiar American institution of slavery. Slavery is always a difficult topic to discuss, and even more difficult to portray in film. A director will want to show the horrors of slavery but balance it with entertaining content…unfortunately, this has led to some questionable moves in the past.

MandingoThis bitch loves the taste of chocolate

To be honest, I was scared to approach Django Unchained after having watched 12 Years a Slave. That film was harrowing. I remember leaving the theatre, which was full, in complete silence. I almost cried on my way home and I’m not ashamed to admit that. No film had portrayed the brutality of slavery in such a real and striking way. When I got home, I just sat in a quiet room and thought about slavery for a while. I did not expect Django Unchained to have a similar effect. In fact, I was worried that, as a Tarantino movie, Django Unchained would make-light of the issue with the director’s trademark dark humour. To my great surprise, Tarantino managed to put together a film that tackles the issue sensitively.

That’s not to say that humour doesn’t play a part in this film. In fact, one of the best scenes in the film is a funny one involving KKK members discussing eye-holes in their pillow-masks. However, it’s the scenes of brutality that stuck with me the most. Just like the scene with Patsy and the soap in 12 Years a Slave, the mandingo fight in this movie is shocking. It made me feel uncomfortable but that’s what a film about slavery should do. You don’t want to be sat there, munching on your popcorn and thinking that slavery was all smiles and sunshine because it fucking wasn’t! You want to be reminded of its brutality and you want a film that’s going to make you think and feel in equal measure. Surprisingly, the humour in this film doesn’t detract from the film’s emotional punch.

As a final point, I will say that the actors garnered a lot of praise for their performances. I can attest to their awesome acting skills. However, two performances stand out. The first goes to long-time Tarantino staple Sam Jackson. I feel that Sam Jackson is an actor whose skills are often underrated, largely because he doesn’t take on challenging roles in the way that Meryl Streep might. However, his abilities are on full display in this movie and he manages to craft a truly despicable and complex villain for the audience to sink their teeth into.

The other performance that stands out was DiCaprio’s. By all means, DiCaprio is an excellent actor so the fact he does well in this movie is not entirely surprising. However, there’s something deliciously brilliant and flamboyant in his portrayal of Calvin Candie, the ruthless plantation owner. I’ve never seen a villain quite like him and DiCario’s performance alone is enough of a reason to watch this movie…plus, his performance gave birth to one of the greatest gifs in recent years.

Candie gif

High-lights:

  • The scenery in this movie is wonderful. It gives the film a very authentic feel, just like in True Grit.
  • Brilliant performances from all the actors, but special mention needs to go to DiCaprio and Jackson.
  • Appropriately injects humour into a film with harrowing subject matter.
  • Cracking sound track.
  • It cements Tarantino’s position as one of the most talented and versatile directors around. He’s been in the game for two decades and he can still surprise me.

Downers:

  • Very long. I fell it could have been shortened quite a bit.
  • Sad to think that neither DiCaprio nor Jackson won key award nominations for their work.

Summary:

Django Unchained is probably not the sort of film you should watch if you’re looking to kill a couple of hours. If you decide to watch this movie, you need to be prepare yourself for an experience that will bot only entertain you but one that will also upset you. Although not as powerful as 12 Years a Slave, Django Unchained will still give you plenty to think about. You should only watch this movie if you can handle the pressure. If you can, then you will not be disappointed.

8.5/10

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Drama, Great

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Bridget Jones Diary

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Cast: Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth

Synopsis: A year in the life of tragic singleton Bridget Jones

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have no doubt noticed something odd with Renée Zellweger. In short, she has a brand new face…one that is very different to her old face. My friend has a theory that someone killed Zellweger and assumed her identity and has everyone fooled. Most other rational people think she’s gone under the knife. Then again, maybe not…as this gif points out, it can all be a matter of perspective.

Face-angles

Anyway, the point of this post is not to debate whether Zellweger had the Wacko-Jacko treatment. This post is instead going to celebrate Zellweger’s best work. Bridget Jones is a role she truly made her own and one which brought her into the hearts of many a British spinster/singleton.

In all my years as a movie-watcher, I have never seen any American manage to portray a British person quite so convincingly. Sure, Zellweger doesn’t get the accent right 100 per cent of the time but being British has nothing to do with the accent. It’s all about the mannerisms, the mind-set, the awkwardness, and the charm; all things Zellweger manages to nail. Who can deny the Britishness of chugging a bottle of wine alone, finishing off the last bit of cheese in the house while watching Fatal Attraction and singing 80s power ballads? Seriously, I have done that. Most British people have done that. That’s why everyone loves us so much. As a group of people, we’re weird and eccentric and people don’t always get our sense of humour, but there’s just something so devilishly intriguing and amusing about us isn’t there?

BorisPictured: the epitome of Britishness

Not only does this film show Zellweger’s talents, but it also displays one of Great Britain’s greatest assets: fit posh-boys. Is there a man as vagina-moisteningly gorgeous as Colin Firth? Short answer is ‘no.’ Long answer is ‘possibly’ but that one won’t come with as sexy an accent. I want Colin Firth to impregnate me. Mark Darcy? Phwoooar. Even Hugh Grant in this film is kind of hot in an ‘evil hairless bastard’ kind of way. To put it succinctly, there is so much eye-toffee in this you will be mopping up your seat with a sheet of Bounty once you’re done watching this film.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’m not really a fan of romantic comedies but Bridget Jones’s Diary is an exception. I can kind of see a lot of myself in the main character, as I am sure a lot of Brits can. Maybe that’s partly why I like this film so much: it gives me hope that one day my own Colin Firth will come into my life while wearing a hideous Christmas jumper…one can dream…

High-lights:

  • A great window into the awesomeness of the British, one that bypasses all our negative qualities like passive-aggressive tutting, constantly apologising and colonialism.
  • Fuck me now Colin Firth.
  • The fight scene is probably the best (and most depressingly accurate) fight scene I have ever seen in a movie. They even apologise while fighting.
  • Run Bridget!!! Run into the snow naked to get your man!
  • “….mainly poofs.”

Downers:

  • Typical of Richard Curtis films, every hot young singleton in London knows every other hot young singleton and they all live in lovely flats in Zone 1. It’s all make believe!
  • Geri Halliwell…I will never forgive you for what you did to the Spice Girls.
  • She’s been a journalist for all of 15 sodding minutes and she’s already more successful than me.

Summary:

If you’re coming over to the UK for a holiday, this is the film that you should watch before you leave. It will properly introduce you to the ways of the British and help you assimilate. Of course, you should watch this film even when you’re not coming to the UK because it’s still a bloody good laugh.

8/10

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Great, Romance