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Summer catch-up 2009: Films

Posted: July 22nd, 2009, by Marceline Smith

I’m still hoping that my friend’s feature film 1-2-3-4 gets picked up for proper UK distribution, as it sorely deserves it. Plus, I’m in it – bit part though it is – and its success could be the launchpad for my forthcoming Hollywood lifestyle. [Simon Minter]

Star Trek
I haven’t been to the cinema much lately, but the other week my brother’s-in-law and I went to see Star Trek.  No, the story makes absolutely no sense, and Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk is a swaggering prick with none of the charm of William Shatner (now there’s a sentence I never imagined myself writing), but it’s a solid lasers-and-spaceships blockbuster that’s getting bums on seats, and precisely the shot in the arm that the franchise needs. [Alex McChesney]

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Wow! Well I’m more into the soundtrack by Burt Bacharach (it’s on Spotify) but the film is one of the classics for a reason. Good banter and tidy shoot-outs. Very nice. [Pascal Ansell]

Honey and Clover
This is a sweet but rather depressing tale of a bunch of Japanese art school students and their unrequited love hexagon. At least half the series is either characters gazing wistfully at each other or making lengthy monologues about how they need to stop moping and get a grip. the other half is them all eating amazing looking meals together and OTT manga style slapstick. There’s some totally awesome parts, mostly involving the boy-next-door hero who goes on a crazy cycling trip round Japan to find himself and then uses his experiences to help one of the girls recover from her terrible glass related hospitalisation that threatens to ruin her artistic genius. It’s all rather touching and (kind of a spoiler) no-one ends up with the one they love. Downer. The actual ending though involves one character eating a honey and four leaf clover sandwich on a bus while blubbing. Amazing. I loved this actually, particularly the architecture boy’s collection of jumpers, but I’d probably advise you get the film instead as this has terrible subtitles. I was also delighted that a minor plot point involved the raffle system that Tom Nook used to do in the original Animal Crossing. Seems that Nintendo really got that perfect right down to the last detail. [Marceline Smith]

Zombies! In a tower block! In Spain! And then a creepy skinny alien zombie thing with an AXE. Yes please. [Stuart Fowkes]

The Day The Clown Cried
2009 has been an absolutely amazing year so far for movies, every movie I have seen at the cinema has been great including The Damned United, In The Loop, Looking For Eric and Synecdoche New York.  Then obviously there has been The Wrestler, the truly heart-warming Anvil story and Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist was a lot of fun too.  Currently though I find myself obsessed with a movie that quite possibly the world will never see again.  In 1972 Jerry Lewis made a movie set during the second world war about a failed clown who finds a talent in entertaining kids in a concentration camp who ends up using this ability to lead them into the gas chamber.  Harry Shearer is one of the few people to have ever seen this movie which apparently is so off the taste Richter scale Shearer described it as a “perfect object.  This movie is so drastically wrong, pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is.”  Apparently the only place that there is a copy is in a safe in Jerry Lewis’ office.  What on earth does it say about the mindset of person who came so close to committing career suicide, perhaps his character in The King Of Comedy wasn’t such a stretch after all.  Talk about making the mind boggle, Jerry just release it.  I have also slowly been ploughing my way through watching all the Mumblecore movies so that you don’t have to. [JGRAM]

Observe and Report
I was curious about this — from the previews it looked like a pretty standard Judd Apatow type flick but the reviews implied that it had a dark, “Taxi Driver”-ish edge. I’m not sure either description really nails it. It’s a rather confusing film — it won me over the first 60 minutes or so, then lost me for a while, then won me back, albeit with serious misgivings, towards the end.

The main problem I have with this movie is the main problem I had with “Pineapple Express” which also starred Seth Rogan. On one hand, there’s aspects of these films that feel very real — the characters and dialogue have that “Pulp Fiction” dedication to the most granular aspects of pop culture. On the other hand, much of what happens in both movies is quite absurd, with routine violations of the laws of physics, the laws of society and just plain common sense. In the real universe, Seth Rogan’s “Ronnie” character in “Observe and Report” would have been carted off to a maximum-security prison within the first 30 minutes. So you have to just kind of suspend disbelief and go along for the ride.

Anna Faris is of course perfect as always. She’s really taken the dumb blonde stereotype and put her own stamp on it. And while she’s funny and beautiful, she’s beautiful in a funny kind of way. I could spend hours licking all parts of her body.

One thing struck me today: I’ve seen a few reviewers compare Ronnie to Travis Bickle from “Taxi Driver.” But when I consider Ronnie’s dedication to enforcing a moral code on the world while being aware of the amoral nature of the universe, I see a more apt, more modern comparison. Ronnie is a chubbier version of the vigilante Rorschach, from the “Watchmen” movie and graphic novel. [Wil Forbis]

Marceline Smith

Marceline is the fierce, terrifying force behind diskant.net, laughing with disdain as she fires sharpened blades of sarcasm in all directions. Based in Scotland, her lexicon consists of words such as 'jings', 'aboot' and 'aye': our trained voice analysts are yet to decipher some of the relentless stream of genius uttered on a twenty-four hour basis. Marceline's hobbies include working too much and going out in bad weather.


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