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Admiral Ackbar's blog: "film stuff"

created on 09/01/2008  |  http://fubar.com/film-stuff/b242470

A while ago on my MySpace page (yeah, I think that's still active somewhere), in that bit where it says 'would like to meet' or something, I put Ron Livingston and Paul Rudd, so the three of us could make a movie together about three guys doing cool shit, or something.  You know, on account of my mad hetero-crushes for those guys.

So anyways, 2010 sees the release of 'Dinner For Schmucks', a remake of some French film, which teams Livingston and Rudd up with 'The Hangover's Zach Galifiankis

Doesn't take much to see that, somehow, despite not actually being aware of my existance, they already had some kind of unconscious desire to do that thing I said with me, but they didn't know me so they just went with a guy that reminded their unconscious minds of me.

(I'm actually kinda torn, I swore never to go see a remake, on the grounds that they just make too many of them, and seriously, why can't people just watch the original French version - but dammit Steve Carrell and Jemaine Clement are in it too... how can I NOT see it?)

Watched this again over the weekend - Stephen Fry's directorial debut (he also wrote the screenplay) is an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's 'Vile Bodies', and marries a delicious authentic atmosphere with a sparkling hilarious script and a cast to die for - Jim Broadbent, Peter O Toole, James McAvoy, Michael Sheen, Emily Mortimer, Julia MacKenzie, Fenella Woolgar, Stockard Channing, Dan Ackroyd, David Tennant, Immelda Staunton, Bill Paterson, Richard E Grant and John Mills, to name but a handful.  Ably demonstrates that celebrity culture and all its pitfalls is not a uniquely modern phenomenom, and proves that Fry pretty much can turn his hand to anything and produce gold.  Well worth seeking out.

Do I take my hat off to Cameron?

HATS OFF : it looked amazing.  As an exercise in world building, it's unsurpassed, although...

HATS ON : the neon night stuff was a li'l fruity...

HATS OFF : The 3D is rarely used in a "WHOOOO LOOK AT THIS STUFF COMING OUT OF THE SCREEN" way, and is pretty much entirely a 'giving the film depth' tool.  There were more "WHOOOOO LOOK AT MY HANDS" moments in the trailer for some cretinous dance movie they shew beforehand than in the entire movie, so kudos for that.

HATS ON : Nevertheless, it's gimmicky and unneccessary, and I want to see the movie in 2D now because I'm convinced it will actually be a better film for it.  I'll go further, and say given the choice between 2D and 3D for ANY future release, and I'm going with 2D.  3D gives me a headache, and as far as Avatar goes and how it enhances the effects, it's like baking the world's most lavish and ornate cake, and then deciding that's not enough and gold-plating it.  I don't want gold-plated cake.

HATS OFF : Despite my ingoing scepticism, I did get drawn into the plot, and as a story I enjoyed it, despite the fact that...

HATS ON : I know there's only seven stories in the world, and that essentially a good storyteller is one who can take those familiar tropes and tell them in a new way, so to bash the film for its unoriginality is harsh but Cameron spent years making this movie, and years telling us how it was the dawning of a new era in cinema, so frankly I expect more than Ferngully 2 : Dances With Smurfs

HATS ON : From the Director of 'Aliens' you say? Hmmm, so hard to see what this film has in common with that exercise in marineporn...

HATS OFF : James Cameron pays respectful homage to great filmmakers of the past

HATS ON : The only great filmmaker of the past he knows is James Cameron.

HATS ON : There are some frankly risible moments of dialogue.  I defy anyone even vaguely familiar with the world of motion-picture entertainment not to mouth along to the next line after the boffin helps the marine into the connection-pod-thingy and tells him to clear his mind...

HATS OFF : There's also some great dialogue.  My best bit was where Ripley climbed into the exo-skeleton and said "Get away from the rain forest, you bitch!"

HATS ON : Unless you're Edgar Wright, repeated fast-cutting as a cinematic shortcut to EXCITEMENT and DANGER (ie a cheap alternative to genuine thrills) should be left well alone.  All it does is make fight and chase scenes unwatchable.  And guess what, it's even worse in 3D.

HATS OFF : I liked the characters.  There's great chemistry between the leads, even under their blue make-up, and the supporting boffins make for a good little team.

HATS OFF : Giovanni Ribisi.  GIOVANNI RIBISI!!! C'mon...

HATS ON : For a 3D movie, it's a shame that the marine colonel barely registers one dimension.  Straight from the Book of Big Bad Movie Villains, he's a masterclass in lazy stereotyping.  They shoulda just blown him up in the big airplane thingy and had the final showdown between Jake Sully and Giovanni Ribisi.  GIOVANNI RIBISI!!! C'mon...

HATS OFF : And I repeat myself unashamedly, it does look GREAT.  Take the 3D away, and it's just AMAZING.  I don't have a hard-on for CGI, but this is EXACTLY the sort of thing it was invented for, and it looks utterly seamless.

Overall, heck, I enjoyed the hell out of it, despite going in convinced I would be let down.  It's a mark of how much I enjoyed it that I'm willing to pay to see it again.  In 2D.  For all that it is derivative, there's no denying that this IS an old story told well.  But I remain firm in that considering what we've been fed by the filmmakers about how this is ushering in a new era in cinema, that it's disappointing in how little new ground is trod anywhere outside of visual effects, but as 3D seems on this showing to be the biggest cinematic Emperor's New Clothes since... the last time someone tried to usher in a new era of cinema with 3D, then I think it's safe to forget all of that, and just enjoy a hell of a ride.

So pretty much everything I've heard suggests that 'Avatar' is a visually breathtaking movie, albeit one that plot-wise doesn't exactly blow one's mind.  "Worth seeing for the effects" is a phrase I've heard more than once.  Well, you know what?  If this truly is heralding a new era of film-making, and we can expect a golden future of movies that look this good, I think that means I can afford to wait until someone makes one that's a GOOD movie, cheers.  Not just a GOOD LOOKING movie.

Yeah, it was good fun, I enjoyed it.

Christmas doesn't start until I've wept like a baby at this at the cinema.  That is all.

I found this page on the internet.  It made me laugh.

Porkins at Hall Of Magnificent Bastards

If you like a film that is Michael Caine being a pensioner who's wife dies and then his best mate gets killed by some YOUTHS, who then decides to get all medieval on their asses, and it has Emily Mortimer as a thoroughly unconvincing detective inspector, and it's all GRITTY, and URBAN, and the score gets on your nerves for being heavy handed, and the whole thing is very well-executed, but the more you think about it, the more it feels like 'Daily Mail : The Movie' because, you know, all YOUTHS are BAD, and therefore it's OKAY if you KILL them, then you'll probably like 'Harry Brown', cos that's sort of what it is.

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