Friday 17 September 2010

Octuple Bill Mini Musings: August/September 2010...

I'm a big fan of Pixar (even if I didn't care for Cars or Ratatouille), but it's taken me a while to get around to this. The first half an hour is flawless, and yes, minute 10 is utterly, utterly heart breaking and it establishes a thread that runs throughout the rest of the movie ... but the second and third acts are a bit of a mixed bag. It's beautiful looking like all Pixar movies, there's a great sense of physical humour like all Pixar movies, and there's a real heart to it all - also like all Pixar movies.

But there's just something missing from the central threat portion of the script. Everything works nicely (frequently fantastically), but I wasn't as impressed by it as I was with WALL.E - and as impressed as I'm sure I will be when I finally see Toy Story 3.

It's weird how many comedies from the 80s were really about the key performers than a range of gags, and being that it's only rated 12 it's all quite gentle stuff ... and really it's not very interesting. The only reason to watch it is Bill Murry doing what he does best (although it's an earlier performance and he's not fully off-the-leash here) ... and that "Are You Ready for the Summer" song (butchered by a bunch of tone-deaf children) is like rusty nails scraped down the side of a chalk board.

Pirahna 2: The Spawning:
I've still not seen the first movie, and I've not seen the recent Aja remake yet (but I will at some point), but this sequel to the Dante original was on and being that it was James Cameron's first flick I was intrigued. Bloody nora it's dull, and it barely makes a lick of sense ... clearly more a career move than anything else, and who's to blame Cameron? The dude went on to make hugely successful classic after hugely successful classic.

American Grindhouse:
A documentary all about grindhouse cinema from the days of Edison all the way to the present day. There's far more to the genre than what you might initially think, so if you've got an interest in this type of cinematic treat, this doc is well worth a look for a great overview.

The Final Destination:
I recently saw the third movie for the first time and while it was a bit naff, the death sequences were still decent and enough of the characters were still likeable and switched-on enough to bother watching. This fourth film in the franchise has neither. The characters are painfully dull, moronic, unsympathetic and switched-off, and the plot's no better. It hits enough standard beats to vaguely hold itself together but it's dull as ditch water and offers absolutely nothing new to the franchise. Nothing advances from the other three, so it's yet another group of people trying to figure out what's going on (while the viewer has known since the first bloody movie!) until one-by-one they've all been bumped off by an oddly more-hands-on-than-is-appropriate-to-the-franchise-gimmick that is Death. Avoid it. Just avoid the hell out of it.

Churchill: The Hollywood Years:
There's been a lot of talk about the end of the UK Film Council recently (from both sides), but this dreadfully dull and ill-considered and torturous 90 minutes of goodness-knows-what is a great example of how not to make a British movie. Like The Final Destination, avoid the hell out of this crap.

Fast & Furious:
Aside from a couple of genuinely tense action sequences, it's really quite boring. The first movie was what it was and it did it well. I never bothered with the second or third movies and this fourth entry may be the best of the three sequels, but it's just a load of old cobblers. This record played well, once, many years ago and that was that. It's time in the spotlight was brief, yet it keeps lumbering on far beyond it's one-movie prime.

The Mechanik:
Dolph Lundgren. That's the only reason to watch this relatively cheap Euro-actioner. The plot is simple, but kind of simple in a boring way, unlike simple in a good way - such as with The Expendables - and the editing is all over the place, it really does prove to be a confusing distraction throughout. Moments are missed, the choice of shots isn't ruthlessly efficient enough, there are too many 'driving/walking around looking pensive' moments weighing down the whole movie and it doesn't make much sense either. Light on action and light on substance, the only reason to see it is the star himself - hopefully he's learning from these entries as he makes each new film he directs too as he's clearly an intelligent and passionate dude, but yeah, this flick isn't much cop.

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