Sunday 17 October 2010

Triple Bill Mini Musings: A complete history of taking meatballs...

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs:
There are three immediate reasons that this is worth seeing - Bill Hader, Bruce Campbell and Mr. T all do voice main characters - but beyond that it's just flat-out entertaining and consistently funny throughout. Quite often an animated feature can forget to be funny in the third act as it tries to focus on tying up the story - but why can't you do that whilst cracking plenty of jokes throughout? This happens with all kinds of comedies come to think of it - in the last act the jokes take the back seat - but not in this flick.

It's brilliantly barmy too, from Steve (the monkey with a thought translator attached to him - "Steve!", "Lick. Lick. Lick.", "Gummi Bears!") to the occasionally exposed eyeballs of the protagonist's father, to the central premise of ever-larger food falling from the sky. It's also interesting to note that it still looks kind of 3D even in 2D. Being that it was crafted with 3D in mind, this still translates really quite well to 2D - giving the visuals (which were already impressive) an extra bit of spice.

Wonderfully weird and laugh-out-loud funny throughout. It lives up to the Pixar template for quality with no worries.

Taking Woodstock:
Rather than focusing on the event itself, Ang Lee wisely looks at everything which led up to - and surrounded - the famous music festival. It's a meandering tale filled with "it's fun to be a hippy for a bit" sentimentality. It's not as gripping or anywhere near as moving as Lee's earlier Brokeback Mountain, but the careful characterisation and moments of out-of-control daftness keep you invested.

A Complete History of My Sexual Failures:
I couldn't figure out - being that I knew nothing about the film - if it was real or fake or a mixture of the two; it's the scene where the idiot takes multiple Viagra tablets and then goes tear-arsing through the city trying to find someone to shag that most made me think "this has to be fictional". A guy - often considered an "arsehole" by his surprisingly long list of ex-girlfriends (oftentimes you have to agree with the women who have ditched this serial dumpee) - decides to make a documentary all about his total inability to maintain a relationship, and why he's always being dumped.

The sheer amount of farce and nonsense that crops up to conveniently provide a structure to this babbling load of mumbling and stumbling makes me wonder if it's all a set-up, or at least a dramatised documentary. Then again, maybe it's all really true and this guy is a complete and utter bugger up who lacks any sense of organisation, cleanliness, self-presentation or social etiquette.

I have to wonder how this shambles of a man got the money to make the documentary in the first place - indeed there's a scene where his furious producer and funder berates him down the phone after a particularly disorganised filming session early on in the production.

I might just go and find out more about this film to see whether it's real or fake (or a mixture of both), because coming at it entirely cold I've got no idea - which certainly proved to be distracting throughout, but when you do allow yourself to just believe that it's real there are some cringe-inducing moments that makes this play out like a real-life version of The Office, but focusing on a shambles of a man lacking any sort of grace or inward thought. It's like a car crash that you can't look away from - and apparently it's true (but I'll check that out just to make sure) - so all-in-all I just sat there with a baffled look of disbelief on my face, but amidst all the distraction and disbelief it does come together quite tidily in the end.

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