Monday 23 May 2011

Hextuple Bill Mini Musings: Art, Ponciness, Hard 10s, Mowers, Aliens, and Speeding...

The Stendhal Syndrome:
Another season of Dario Argento movies is running on The Horror Channel, which has improved a hell of a lot over the last 12-18 months. The eponymous syndrome is that when the victim suffers a collapse after being overwhelmed by artwork, after which they suffer the effects of a split personality. It's an intriguing concept, but for my liking it isn't explored quite enough. It needed to go into darker and stranger territory for me, but it felt somewhat lacking and - oddly - in need of some classic Argento flourishes. A great idea at heart, but the execution is disappointing. Definitely not one of his best works, but even still, it's one of his most interesting ideas.

The movie about a killer car tyre - who the hell wouldn't want to see it?! Well, half of it anyway. The half that follows the tyre discovering its powers and exploding heads is enjoyably daft ... but the other half is an eye-rollingly pretentious load of old bollocks, that is so self aware it's not in the slightest bit funny, witty, or entertaining. If all that wasn't in the movie, it'd be a spiffing 40 minutes - or personally, I would have gone in a different direction with such an idea as a killer car tyre.

The opening monologue, about "no reason", is apparently supposed to be ironic. Now, is that because none of the examples given demonstrate "no reason" at all, or is it ironic for another reason and the annoying monologue is actually being serious? I enjoyed the silliness of the cop arriving in the trunk of a police car, which knocked over a series of chairs in the middle of a road, but for goodness sake I didn't need the poncy-arsed bullshit that came afterwards and was dotted throughout the movie. So it's a very split flick - one half of it is total crap that thinks far too much of itself, and the other half is an enjoyable askew idea of a killer car tyre blowing up people's heads in and around the desert motel that was memorably featured in Rob Zombie's wonderful The Devil's Rejects.

She's Out Of My League:
A nerdy guy who works for TSA (a "5") meets and gets into a relationship with a jaw-droppingly gorgeous girl (a "hard 10"), and nobody can quite believe it. I really enjoyed this somewhat raunchy comedy, which packed a perky and funny script populated by entertaining characters. Not much to say about it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Straight Story:
Another dose of David Lynch with this tale of an OAP who treks across state lines on his ride-on lawnmower to visit his ailing brother with whom he hasn't spoken for a decade. It's a simple story - a straight story if you will - but at the same time, it's an odd one. Lynch's film, a typically idiosyncratic ode to rural America, finds the curious in the normal, and the normal in the curious. It's a meandering yarn with a gentle, laid back feel, and despite being quite different from the likes of Blue Velvet or Mulholland Drive, you can feel Lynch's hand at work throughout - indeed, the same can be said of long-time Lynch composer Angelo Badalamenti, who scored the flick.

A lot has been made of this film - mostly down to the micro budget and that Gareth Edwards (the Writer/Director) put the visual effects together "on his laptop". However, the pace is too slow and the male lead is too annoying for too long ... but on the other hand the subtleness of the fact that South America is now a quarantine zone populated by giant alien squids provides some nice tension. The plot is a bit sparse, and it doesn't quite convince at certain points (most notably the reason the two leads have to trek through the zone), but the low-key-yet-involving spectacle of the finale is impressive. It's also an impressive feat technically and stylistically, but it's a bit lacking at points throughout the uneven script. That said, it's a solid debut from a fellow Brit, and I look forward to seeing what Edwards can do with a bigger budget and a tighter script.

Gumball 3000: Coast To Coast:
I'm a bit of a fan of Gumball 3000 (and Bullrun), keeping up with them through the DVD releases and TV shows made about them over the years. This one I've only just discovered, and it's about the L.A. to Miami rally in 2009. It's nowhere near as good as Gumball 3000: The Movie, nor 3000 Miles, so it's a disappointing effort. 'Nuff said.

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