Thursday, October 29, 2009

Knowing me, knowing you. Ha. Ha.

Knowing (2009)

Disclaimer - I’m structuring this review in the style of a Nicolas Cage film. So yeah just a lot of random crap that popped into my head.

First of all: There’s a scene where Nicolas Cage is talking to some woman who’s been thrown in as his love interest, and he’s coming clean about how he’s actually been stalking her for a little while and knows all about her family. He delivers this whole speech in his usual stuttery, I-AM-CRAZY fashion, with his hands fidgeting under the table doing what looks like something rather unsavoury. Now I’m going to press play again to see how she reacts. Ha, he gets even crazier. She looks at him like the psycho he is and runs away. I like to think none of this was in the script and the woman isn’t even an actress.

Questions I asked myself: Why did Nicolas Cage give the dark and scary attic-room to his most-likely-traumatised son? Why did the creepy girl at the beginning have a scar on her face? Do we just assume it’s child abuse? Is that it? Was there a child abuse sub-plot that just got thrown away? These are things we the audience should be KNOWING.

Here’s how it ends: No word of a lie, the alien/angel (don’t get me started) things drop the children off on the new planet/heaven (really) and give them unflattering burlap outfits to wear. This new civilisation isn’t going to be very fashion-forward it would seem. The final shot has them frolicking in a meadow and running towards the tree of knowledge. I was expecting Kate Beckinsale and her gypsy family to appear in the sky, but as I’ve said before I never get what I want.

Also: I walked by the poster for this a few months back and thought it was called K Wing cause the letters were obscured by a hair-piece or something. Anyway when I was watching this I started wondering what style of fake hair Nicolas Cage would have in K Wing.

What would K Wing be about?: Well, Nicolas Cage is a renegade mechanic tasked by the NSA with building a time machine, nicknamed K Wing. His mission is to go back in time and slow down the rotation of the earth by small increments so as to decelerate global warming. To do this he’ll need the help of a reclusive and eco-conscious billionaire played by Julianne Moore, who’s divided different parts of the blueprints of K Wing amongst the leaders of the most politically volatile countries in North Africa. With sexy results.

Weird: I wrote that thing about global warming in K Wing before I even knew it was a major plot point in Knowing. That means this film is actually magic and has given me The Knowing.

The End?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This dude my Kevin Costner! He going to beat you off!

Crank: High Voltage (2009)

Starring: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Bai Ling, Clifton Collins Jr, Geri Freakin’ Halliwell

What’s all this then?: It’s the sequel I never needed to that film I saw once that was kind of crazy. Wasn’t that The Transporter 3 or something? No? You’re kidding.

Say what?: Yeah Crank is back. Chinese gangs have stolen his heart and given it to David Carradine. That’s kind of a spoiler, but if that concerns you then this film isn't for you. Though now that I’ve written his name out it makes me wonder if Carradine’s untimely death had something to do with this film ending very abruptly. Again, it really doesn’t matter, but one has to consider these things.

That’s a lot of boobs: It is actually. They’re all over the place. None of them belong to Amy Smart. It seems she draws the line at the hilarious scenes of public sexual humiliation. I’m fine with that, it says more about the status of women in Hollywood that doing the wheelbarrow in front of thousands of people then getting firehosed off of Statham is good for your career whilst showing your nipples would make you look like a whore. Hey, I don’t make the rules. Katherine Heigl does.

Geri Halliwell?: She doesn’t do much, but she doesn’t embarrass herself either. I know, these Crank films really do play with expectations.

Level of crazy: 8. Doesn’t have the novelty factor of the first one, but still off it’s rocker. Bai Ling alone gives it 5 crazy points.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This season has been very home-sewn bridesmaid Oktoberfest

Project Runway US – Season 6

Featuring: Um… I’m not sure, I can’t really remember anyone.

What’s all this then?: So take everything that was good about Project Runway – the bitching, the interesting characters, heck even an actual good designer or two amongst the crap – then reinvent it with a bustle made of pure bore-ganza. So dull it’s almost - wait for it - AVANT-GARDE.

Say What?: Yeah I have to say that I’m a bit baffled. It’s almost like they, and yes I’m looking at you too Heidi Klum, set out with a commitment to choosing not only the least interesting group of people that could be found personality-wise, but also the least memorable in terms of design or talent. Quite a feat really when you think about it. Then, as if to fully urinate from a height on the good will that’s been created with the discovery of designers like Christian Siriano, the eliminations happen completely at random with consistently poor designers getting dragged into the last half of the series over people who seemed like they could at least sew competently. And that’s pretty much all the praise you can heap on these big sacks of blah.

Could learn a thing or two from: Project Runway Australia. Or at least the second season of it where they assemble a great group of characters, many of whom you’ll enjoy both loving and hating, and then throw one ingeniously evil challenge after another at them. Oh and some of them are amazing designers as well. Go figure! In another twist, and I’m pretty sure this would never happen in America, not alone an American reality show, the strongest designers actually support one another through the challenges and encourage eachother to become better at what they do. It leaves you with a finale featuring three designers you’ll not only like but also moves closer to a genuine emotional pay-off than you thought a show like this ever could.

Surely I’d miss Heidi though?: Nah. Not a bit. It’s like she always says – one day you’re in and the next day…

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When the pawn hits the turnips he thinks like a king. What he knows throws the boomerang when he goes to the fight...

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007)

Starring: Wow, a lot of people actually. Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Matthew Lillard (Still alive, who knew?), Claire Forlani, Ron Perlman

What's all this then?: Jason Statham is a turnip farmer called Farmer. He's happy with the turnips. Then these things show up and they're really mean. They look like henchmen from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I think they work for Ray Liotta. Anyway, they steal his wife and kill his son and you're supposed to be sad about that but if you're anything like me you'll be glad that gappy-toothed little shit isn't in the film anymore. Also having Statham angry and full of rage makes it 60% more likely that he'll take his shirt off. The heart wants what it wants.

Say what?: This film is over two hours long. It also takes close to two hours to type the full title. So that's about four hours of my life now that I've devoted to it. I lie however, as the DVD stopped working after the first hour and refused to play the rest of it. Everyone in the hostel was fine with that, and I can always watch Crank again.

Things that might have happened in that last hour: It got more exciting. Statham did in fact take off his top. Those Cirque Du Soleil girls who show up throw leaves at the Mighty Morphin things to confuse them thus allowing Statham to tip them lightly with his boomerang. That's what she said!

Best part: Statham, Ron Perlman and the Eurosaver equivalent of Legolas are walking through the woods when one of them declares: We can't go into Sedgwick forest! Of course not, I thought, Kevin Bacon is hiding in there.

Level of crazy: 7. Turnips and boomerangs and Sedgwicks, oh my.

Croc Your Body

Rogue (2007)

Starring: Anna Paquin, Sam Worthington, Michael Vartan, Radha Mitchell

What's all this then?: After the mediocrity of X-Men: The Last Stand, Rogue (Paquin) goes completely insane and uses her powers to transform herself into a giant murderous crocodile. Now she stalks the Northern Territory of Australia looking for sexy native actors (Mitchell and Worthington) and visiting C-list Americans (Vartan from Alias and stuff) to eat. I choose to believe she's keeping her eye out for Brett Ratner.

Say what?: I had my reservations watching this, seeing as it's by the director of Wolf Creek and all, the one and only film I have ever walked out of. But this one is fun, honest. It's nothing you haven't seen a million times before of course but you'll have a good time seeing who Paquin chomps down next. She's way more fun as a giant murderous crocodile than she is in True Blood.

Reality check: I refuse to believe they have people as hot as Sam Worthington in the Northern Territory. And if they do then I probably should have paid a visit instead of wasting a year advancing my career in Melbourne.

Level of crazy: 6. Giant crocodile, what's not to like?

Friday, October 16, 2009

I think we're on to something Scoob!

The Final Destination in MF-ing 3D (2009)

My hopes for The Final Destination 3D:
1) That the dream I had about this very long, boring scene where Debi Mazar walks to a deli in New York in the dead of night and then nothing happens, actually happens. In Dolby Digital 3D!

2) It finishes with a preview for La Destination Définitive, with the action moving to a winery in Provence where moody French teens smoke cigarettes and throw cutting remarks at one another. The end. In Dolby Digital 3D!

What I thought would actually happen: Boring people I don't care about who I just assume are from Gossip Girl or something die in less interesting ways than they did before. In Dolby Digital 3D!

What actually happened: See above. Directly above - not the interesting stuff, don't be silly.

Best part: I saw this in Kuala Lumpur and it turns out Malaysian audiences don't full-on guffaw at horrible dialogue like I do. It reminded me of the time I went to see The Rules of Attraction in Dublin and felt like a murderer cause I was the only person who laughed at all throughout the whole thing. Others were tutt-ing and tsk-ing.

Other best part: Some guy and this other guy rush into a hospital ward to save this mangled guy, only to find him crawling, bandaged and blood-smeared, across the room. Then a gigantic bath falls on him. The next scene sees the guy and the other guy walking jauntily from the hospital happily declaring: I think we're onto something!!

Level of crazy: It's no My Bloody Valentine 3D. 5.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tá ocras an domhain orm, ya prick.

Van Diemen's Land (2009)

Starring: A miserable bunch of shits.

The Gist: It's 1786 and the miserable bunch of shits escape a penal colony in Tasmania, run from some shooty soldiers and hope for the best. They don't have a lot of food though, so they end up having to eat eachother. A lot.

And then what happens?: Bollocks-all. You're introduced to a big group of interchangeable beardy convicts who each in turn have their head meet the pointy end of an axe and their throat meet the slitty end of a knife. It's like Wolf Creek in a way, except I wasn't able to walk out like I did with Wolf Creek because I was with company and didn't want to look like a wuss. A woman walked out towards the end though. I envied her giant handbag and her possession of a vagina.

That bad eh?: Basically. Wolf Creek had the sense to realise it was trash, but this one - with it's take-me-seriously face and DRAMATIC SCORE - has absolutely no idea. Just look at that poster. It's all bloody fur coat and no knickers.

The lesson to be learned: None at all, except that the Australian film industry needs to lighten the hell up. Less losers of the badlands more queens of the desert, thanks.

Level of crazy: 6. For the sheer relentlessness and tedium. Avoid at all costs.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You got something wrong with your nipples?

The first 45 minutes of Showgirls (1995)

Starring: Jessie from Saved by the Bell, Gina Gershon, Kyle McLachlan and lots of other people you'd expect to know better

The Gist:
Jessie from Saved by the Bell is a real tough broad. She's heading for Vegas to become a dancer. This ambition proves difficult to achieve whilst keeping her clothes on and not having what looks like terribly clunky sex with Kyle McLachlan. Gina Gershon agrees. And by agrees I mean pouts and does cocaine. And by Gina Gershon I mean Pouty Topless Cocaine.

And then what happens?: Chances are you've heard of this and seen some of it on late-night TV and become slightly retarded as a result. It's also highly likely that your brother owns a copy. The gay one and the straight one. Possibly for different reasons or maybe they both enjoy it, regardless of sexual orientation, as exactly the same pumped-up blast of pure ridiculousness that it is. Because make no mistake this film is beyond genius and as you watch it you'll realise that there really is no concievable way that anyone involved could be taking themselves seriously. Is there?

See it for: I waited far too long to watch it and I regret every second of my life that I lived without knowing the full extent of the terrible acting, awful dialogue, ludicrous sex and Jessie from Saved by the Bell-destruction. In other words: a total classic you'll watch and watch and watch again.

Level of crazy: 10 to the power of a squillion. I like nice tits. I always have, how about you?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We're The Stains, and we don't put out.

Ladies & Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1981)

Starring: Diane Lane, Ray Freaking Winstone, Laura Dern, Christine Lahti, Various members of Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Tubes

The Gist: A young girl and her band, The Stains, jump on board the US tour of the Metal Corpses, an aging metal band of the Alice Cooper/Kiss persuasion. The Corpses are supported by The Looters, a British punk outfit the lead singer of which is played by a young, skinny, relatively cute Ray Winstone. Yep, that Ray Winstone. And teenage versions of Diane Lane and Laura Dern are two-thirds of The Stains. In case you were wondering, yes it is slightly odd.

And then what happens?: The plot goes through the expected rise-and-fall movements of any other small-band-make-it-big type films, but it’s really like nothing else you’ve ever seen. It’s funny in ways you don’t expect, has better actors than the story maybe deserves, there’s no attempt made to soften up the characters, and to top it all off, it’s generally mad as batshit. These are all good things.

See it for: There’s a scene between Lane and Winstone in her dressing room that contains one of the best exchanges of dialogue I’ve heard in quite some time.

Level of Crazy: 12. Watch the trailer and Making Of clips below. NOW!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Quiet dear, get back to your simpering.

Village of the Damned (1960)

Starring: Stuffy English people, Hysteria, Tea Cosies, Those creepy blonde children with the glowing eyes you see getting spoofed in The Simpsons

The Gist: It’s three years after The Midwich Cuckoos came out and they’ve made the film version. And you thought turnarounds were quick nowadays? Anyway they make a really good stab at it and only take 77 minutes to do so. I know that a short running time isn’t the best praise to heap on something, but it’s a total compliment when you think of Transformers taking almost three hours to do nothing at all very loudly. I like my nonsense short, sharp and to the point thank-you-very-much.

And then what happens?: It’s something that’s been said an awful lot on this blog (and apologies for the repetition) but there’s some kind of process that female characters go through between the book and the film adaptation. Like how in the book they actually make valid points and have personality and seem like, how-you-say, real humans? Then the film just gets them to simper around the place hysterically until a strong man can come along and slap them upside the head. Then they say thank you.

See it for: The creepy children. Though they’re not as creepy as I thought they’d be cause they get dubbed over with adults putting on a weird voice. Not scary, just distracting.

Level of Crazy: 7. Don’t glow your eyes at me, you pervy albino.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Freaky Baby

The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)

by John Wyndham

Stuffy English people, Hysteria, Tea Cosies, Those creepy blonde children with the glowing eyes you see getting spoofed all the time in The Simpsons

The Gist: One day a small town in England somewhere goes whump and all falls asleep and stuff. Anyone who walks within a five-mile radius of the place hits the ground. Which is frightfully inconvenient you see. Then they all wake up and they’re fine. Except when they find out later that all the women in the town of childbearing age are pregnant. Even the ones who’ve never made whoopy before. Yes I know I’m mixing the lingo of fifties Britain and fifties America but hush your mouth.

And then what happens?: Wyndham makes it about everything except the story itself. He whips up these great plotlines but then just uses them to poke a stick at lots of other things. “Civilisation is total decadence”. Discuss. “Women are inherently arrogant as they know they shall always be required in nature”. Rebuttal? “Would you love a thing what you don’t know where it came from?”. And he scatters it all about like confetti and it’s these questions that stay with you a lot longer than the image of a blonde-headed freak-child. Though they are effing weird.

Read it for: You've seen a thousand things that are derived from the storyline, but the likelihood is none of them have been done better than this.

But really don’t read it: If you’re pregnant.

Level of Crazy: 9. No go refer to a pregnant woman as “the host”.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I’m Educating You, Rita.

Educating Rita (1983)

Starring: Michael Caine, Julie Walters, Trinity College

The Gist: Michael Caine, Julie Walters and the other people involved in this basically created the prototype for the quaint little British film that goes on to get nominated for Oscars and all that. It’s predictable, simplistic and every movement of it is either signalled to you well in advance, or is explained to you as it happens just-case-you-didn’t-get-it. Or both. But you’ll still be charmed and/or entertained. Why? That’s why.

And then what happens?: It’s strange, the story is basically done after about 45 minutes, right after her husband leaves her (and that’s only a spoiler if you’ve never ever seen a film before) and she gives an intense speech to Caine about how she’s strong enough to take criticism of her essays. But then it keeps going for another hour, because people have to learn more lessons, Caine has to get a good weeping clip for the Oscars and Walters has to try out some more nifty stylings from the early 80s.

See it for: Trinity College in Dublin. I know I’m biased by misty-eyed nostalgia but it looks only gorgeous.

Level of Crazy: 2. I’ll be damned if Rita doesn’t get good and educated!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I see. No wait, I don't...

In this time of economic hardship that we now find ourselves, it's good to know that people are getting their priorities straight:

Casual female student to teach contact lens use

Job description:
Looking for a Uni Student (female) to tutor how to "put in' and "take out" contact lenses (hourly basis on a Saturday or Sunday).

I have been putting-off using contact lenses and whilst having received instruction at the Optometrist, I have not tried to wear contact lenses and am pretty hopeless with them. Also, because I wear glasses, if I dropped a lens I probably would have trouble finding it again. Hence the need for a personal tutor to demonstrate contact lens handling and application.

Ideally looking for a student, who obviously wears contact lenses, to provide me with weekend lessons and I envisage a month to six weeks for me to become confident with them.

Hourly $ rate negotiable.

Around $150 in totoal [sic]

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Trapeze Striptease.

Sent to me by a friend researching the circus. Loving the guys on the left. Way to underplay.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Original Bro-mance

Cruising (1980)

Starring: Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen

The Gist: If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise. Cause today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic. That is, if by the woods you mean San Francisco, and by surprise you mean gayness. And replace teddy bears with Al Pacino, and picnic with more gayness. Then you add some ambiguity about everything that’s going on, not so much to help the film but mainly cause it was produced at the tail-end of the 70s and people were coo-coo-bananas for that back then. That’s Cruising, though I think the original title was probably something like Homo Killer on the Prowl.

And then what happens?: Think of it like a buddy movie where one of the guy’s is Al Pacino and the other one is the gay S&M scene of San Francisco in 1980. At the start they don’t really see eye to eye but after a while they earn a mutual respect and share some common ground. In this case what I’ve assumed to be a poppers hanky. The hanky was dark blue, and I’ll be testing you on what that means at the end.

See it for: The ‘Getting Gay With Al’ montages. Paul Sorvino’s inexplicable limp. The parts that make no sense. The ‘Sniffing the Hanky’ montage. The big black guy in underpants and a cowboy hat who appears from nowhere and slaps Al around a little. All those other parts that make no sense.

Level of Crazy: 10. Did you get it? It means he may have something for you in the back. I say matron!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

He stole my kebab

Pulling (2006 - 2009)

Starring: Sharon Horgan, Tanya Franks, Rebekah Staton, Cavan Clerkin

The Gist: You know those angry and alternately miserable thirtysomething women you always see out and about on a Friday night? The ones you might just cross the road to avoid? They come in teeny short skirts, with voices like a drag queen after eating twenty cigarettes and generally exude an air of loud drunken desperation. Pulling is about them. Particularly if you’ve ever lived in the UK.

And then what happens?: You don’t think it’s going to funny at all. For one thing it’s called Pulling, and secondly it’s on BBC3. But then you actually watch it and realise that it was some ancient producer at BBC3 trying to appeal to the 'yoof' who decided to call it Pulling for some reason. What it should actually be called is Half of the People You Meet in London are Probably Like These Women. Anything besides Pulling. I mean I’ve seen the whole thing and based on the title I still expect Johnny Vegas to appear at any moment.

See it for: Karen, the alcoholic schoolteacher who shows up to her classes smashed and ends up drunk-crying at the children. And wakes up under a tree cuddling a tramp. And so on...

Level of Crazy: 9. And I haven’t even gotten to cock lollies.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bread + Cat Biscuits = Delicious

Grey Gardens (1975)

Starring: Edith ‘Big Edie’ Bouvier Beale, Edith ‘Little Edie’ Bouvier Beale, The Maysles, The Marble Faun, Those two randoms at the birthday party

The Gist: The cult classic about what happens when one potentially zany young woman lets her very-much-already-zany mother guilt her into taking care of her forever. Oh and the people who maybe didn’t but more than likely did completely exploit them for the sake of an entertaining documentary. And let’s not forget the powerful family members who just sort of let it happen and left them out to fester in East Hampton. Having fun yet?!

And then what happens?: I’m kind of a bad gay in that my introduction to this whole phenomenon was a line of dialogue placed at the start of that Rufus Wainwright song about Grey Gardens. Called Grey Gardens. Though the fact that I got to it through the lyrics of a freaking Rufus Wainwright song shows I haven’t been resting too much on my gay laurels. Anywho, it’s fun and tragic and you feel sad when they show you pictures of their former glories and you wince and furrow your brow when that young guy is hanging round eating their sweet corn. And really, what else do you want?

See it for: The part about the cape-skirt. Why aren’t there more cape-skirts?

Level of Crazy: 9. You’ll need to silence the part of your brain that screams “WHY?!!”, of course.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You'll edit this out won't you?

Let’s Get Lost (1988)

Starring: Chet Baker, Various succubi

The Gist: A documentary charting the highs, both chemical and career-related, and the lows, both chemical and female-related, of all-round jazz legend Chet Baker. It’s a story you’ve heard a thousand times before: gifted and charming musical genius becomes popular and rich and famous for being a gifted and charming musical genius BUT THEN he makes friends with the drugs and he loses his gift and his charm and his money. In this case he also loses his teeth which it turns out isn’t such a good thing for someone who makes a living out of singing and playing the trumpet real nice. There’s a lot of talk about “getting lost” throughout the film, which is used as a metaphor in connection to music, drugs and life in general. However I choose to interpret it as the final death-cry of his teeth as they decided to jump from a sinking ship.

And then what happens?: The director seems to take the angle that if it weren’t for the women he surrounded himself with then Baker would have been fine. They all get introduced in a nice, positive light that has you thinking “ah, he should’ve stuck with her, she’s level-headed” until about five minutes later when they get edited into destructive leeches. I know Hollywood has reduced women to this for years but the seeming misogyny stands out a lot more here. I say “seeming misogyny” as a disclaimer since these could be genuinely wretched women. Who knows?

Wait, was that?: Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Yes, yes it was.

Level of Crazy: 10. True life crazy always gets a 10.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

La-la-la-la-la, I can’t hear you

Être et avoir (2002)

Featuring: Georges Lopez and the children of a rural school in France

The Gist: A lovely documentary that follows the goings-on at the primary school of a very very small village (I do research sometimes honestly, but I can’t remember the name of the village and don’t want to look it up for reasons I’ll explain later). There are about twenty students of varying ages and levels of cuteness. Lopez teaches all of them, in the same room. This makes sense to me since I come from a place where some schools had about 12 students altogether, but the city folk I watched this with were baffled. And by baffled I mean faces permanently set to “what the fug?”.

And then what happens?: It’s so cute that “so” is pronounced “shooooo” and you wave your finger at it and stick out your tongue. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll feel sophisticated cause it’s French and it's a documentary. Most people need only one of those things to stay classy.

And now a warning: After watching this you’ll have a warm glow, like the world isn’t such a bad place after all. Then someone will try to tell you about what happened after the film was released. I made the decision to put my hands in my ears and live in blissful ignorance and still believe in Santa. But the information is out there if you want it, it’s your call.

See it for: Marie. I laughed out loud just at the sight of her.

Level of Crazy: 10. And by crazy I mean crazy-cute.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Are you sure you want to fillum this?

A Complete History of My Sexual Failures (2008)

Starring: Chris Waitt, His ex-girlfriends, Mistress Maisie

The Gist: Waitt is a bit of a loser. He’s been consistently dumped by girlfriends for his whole life and has just gotten the boot once again at the start of this documentary. And by documentary I mean that in the post-James Frey meaning of “this is what really happened”. So this is kind of how things happened, maybe, now shut up and enjoy the cringing. He gets a camera and some funding to go around and interview all of his exes to find out why they broke up with him. But the fact that he’s got the commitment and the connections to get funding from producers to make a film suggests that he might not be quite the aimless loser those same producers would like us to believe. Again, it’s a story just like anything else so don’t be that arse in the cinema saying “pfft, if he hasn’t got a job how can he afford to have that shithole in London all to himself?”. No one likes that guy.

And then what happens?: Cringing. I mentioned it up there but even if you’re not on board with it at all and are sceptical about the whole thing, there are several moments, sections even, that will have you hand-covering-mouth, looking at the person beside you with your best OMG face. Like when he visits an ageing dominatrix who whips his testicles. Or at the beginning when he just shows up at people’s doors with a camera and expects them to talk to him. And then there’s my favourite part when one of his ex-girlfriends suggests that the reason behind his failed relationships might be his mental health. Because for a long time he thought he was Jesus. “Like, fully believed it”.

See it for: The part where Waitt asks every woman in Central London to have sex with him. Not to mention that he’s just swallowed eight Viagra tablets. And he’s pissed.

Level of Crazy: 6. Oh by the way it gets all serious at the end. Uber-serious. Whip-you-in-the-testicles serious.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bar Elegant & Unique. Ha.

Victor’s Bar 1 and 2

Drummond St, Melbourne

Starring: Betty Boop statues, Naked lady statues, Photos of old celebrities looking shocked at coffee shops

The Gist: According to the brochure:

Victor’s 1 and Victor’s 2, set in the heart of Carlton, (five doors down from eachother) are a rarity of sorts. Owner Victor has created two stylish venues full of contemporary artwork and elegant European sculptural works. The venues are like houses open to the public. Experience the unique artwork and browse from one venue to another.

So what’s it really like?: Victor’s 1 and Victor’s 2 look like they got effed in the A by a decorator at one of Elton John’s birthday parties. You could boil the theme at Victor’s down to a mixture of Saddam Hussein’s mansion in the late 1980s, what Donald Trump’s house probably looks like and some footage of all Michael Jackson’s gilded rubbish from that Martin Bashir documentary. Disco balls placed beside provocative statues of women with erect nipples reading a fake book, placed on top of stacks of other fake books. A bar designed to look like the front of a car. The stuff in the blue room... And the music is a bizarre mix of mid-nineties trance and deep house. So basically it’s like what a particularly clueless Hollywood executive would imagine an underground bar in Krakow looks like.

Go there for: Victor himself is usually hanging around, which I noticed after laughing at the brochure then looking up and realising the man with the jet black toupee from the photo was at the next table. Oops. Also my favourite part was, after first walking in, feeling like at any moment some kind of drug deal, drug bust or drug-related shooting was about to take place.

Level of Crazy: 11. You need to see what’s in the blue room.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Let me make something clear to you and Mr Mulligan

A History of Violence
The graphic novel - V - The Cronenberg film

The graphic novel featuring: Lots of violent, vaguely disturbing imagery

The film starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, William Hurt, An inexplicably-naked-for-a-second Maria Bello

The Gist: Average Joe Small Town (no, that’s not a new reality show on ABC, that’s Farmer Wants a Wife or something) has some gun-crazy lunatics come into his diner and threaten to kill up the place. He responds by going all Jason Bourne on them and putting bullets in their faces. This plays out pretty much the same way in both the film and the graphic novel but from that point on they choose their own paths. Which one you like better will depend on a number of factors because…

And then what happens?: The graphic novel is all about pulpy, creative violence while the film has it’s own agenda. Possibly about modern gender relations, or family values or something. In that regard there are some real problems with it. They set up the wife character as being pretty together and ballsy for most of it, but then have her turn all bla and weak once things go really wrong. And then there’s the completely gratuitous full frontal nude shot. She comes out of the bathroom without her robe fully closed and then walks away. The end. What’s that all about? I think the extended Naked Viggo Mortensen Plus Knife scene in Eastern Promises was Cronenberg’s way of redressing the balance somewhat. Meanwhile the wife character in the graphic novel is unflappable and even gets a good surprise kill in. They give that to the son in the movie version. Hey women, Hollywood called, it says you’re useless. Now take off your clothes.

Read it for: The ending is quite gasp-intensive. I watched the film to see if they could possibly have the nerve to really go for it but alas twas not to be.

See it for: The part where the son finally snaps and slaps up the school bully. Vicarious thrills for anyone who ever met an asshole.

Level of Crazy: 10 for the novel, 7 for the film. Both worth a look, though you might not want to read it on a crowded train like I did...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Trop le mauvais, si triste

Epileptic (2003)
by David B.

Featuring: Some real nice drawings. Plus some extra sadness to taste.

The Gist: The autobiographical story of a young boy growing up in a small French town, having the usual rites-of-passage stuff: fighting with other kids in the neighbourhood, tormenting his little sister and shadowing his older brother Jean-Christophe and copying what he does. Then Jean-Christophe suddenly develops epilepsy and the story shows the way the condition envelopes the family like a demon and follows their futile attempts to fight it off for him even though he’s already given up. A laugh riot.

And then what happens?: Since you’re so used to getting the “I’m gonna beat this thing” triumph-against-all-odds side of the debilitating disease story, it’s interesting to see the other side once in a while. Every member of the family is trying harder than he is to figure out Jean-Christophe’s condition which makes it that bit more poignant. Also it hits on lots of other things like the fact that fads and conmen will always come along claiming to have a mystical, fix-all cure for everything and desperate people will pin their hopes on it. Enthusiasts of macrobiotic diets in particular get a good beating in this. I’m looking at you Madonna.

See it for: Epilepsy is represented as this reptilian creature that twists and turns Jean-Christophe during his seizures and begins to mould itself into his bones. Not subtle then, but definitely effective.

Level of Crazy: 9. Interesting! Heartbreaking! And so on.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Captain Hammer threw a car at my head

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008)

Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day

Weird: How much Neil Patrick Harris looks like an ironed version of Gordon Ramsay.

The Gist: In which Joss Whedon channels his fevered preoccupations with musicals, heroes and villains, Nathan Fillion and general kooky shenanigans into a sing-along blog. Except you can’t sing along because you’ve never heard the songs before. And once you’ve watched it all you won’t remember any of them. Oh and Neil Patrick Harris is in it. Which is nice.

And then what happens?: I’ll admit it right now, I don’t really get this. It’s cute and funny and I was entertained but I have no idea why it exists. And why is it a blog? Does the blog element add anything to it? Not so much, it seems more like an aborted and/or extremely condensed TV series. With songs. And Neil Patrick Harris. Which is nice.

See it for: Neil Patrick Harris. Haven’t you read anything? Also Bad Horse, the super-villain of the piece. He’s an evil horse. He doesn’t do much but that the concept is thrown out there is enough.

Level of Crazy: 7. Maybe 10, I don’t know, I’m still confused. We fear change.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Like if Amy Winehouse had a child with a Dickensian villain

Russell Brand: Scandalous
Melbourne, 21st March 2009

Starring: Russell Brand durr, Australian sluts

The Gist: Russell Brand’s live stand-up show where he waxes lyrical about that whole Jonathan Ross thing. You know that thing where England WENT INSANE and BECAME AMERICA. It was almost like the conservatives of England had gotten tired of the US hogging all the “we’re crazy and hypocritical” glory, what their crucifixion of Janet Jackson’s nipple and whatnot, and decided they’d show them how mass hysteria is really done.

And then what happens?: Brand does have a kind of Marmite quality and I’ve been known to flip flop between loving his antics and being totally irritated by him. On that note I’ll say that based on this he‘s clearly insanely talented. There aren’t too many comedians around at the moment who can throw so many creative, antiquated expressions into their cock jokes. Also the world kind of needs people like him who’ll do a section on the best death threats he’s received. And who’ll actually respond to said death threats with a homosexual advance. And we definitely need someone like him presenting the VMA awards where the people around him are clearly so far from reality that they still insist on thanking god (yes, that god, the one they believe created everything) for winning an award for Sexiest Under-age Female or whatever.

Funniest part: The excerpts from his aborted VMA script. He reveals that from the point at the beginning where he mocked George Bush he realised that he couldn’t possibly say any of the things he’d written and would have to improvise the rest of the live awards ceremony to a packed house of humourless Americans. Then he reads from the original script. Suffice to say, Britney would have cried. A lot.

Level of Crazy: 9. Less talk of bumming next time perhaps.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dental Dam It

Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World (2007)

Playmobil men in tank tops

The Gist:

They’re happy and gay like you wouldn’t believe,
With lesbians, a baby they try to conceive,
Ouch, I just spilled some hot tea all over my sleeve.

And so on.

And then what happens?: Little toy people being mean and gay to eachother. I’m not sure if straight people are allowed to laugh at this, it’s kind of a grey area. It’s like whether white people have permission to laugh at that Ebonics Delta commercial. Everything is painfully accurate, and just about three degrees north of reality, so you and your gay friends will have a whale of a time, but if you find you’re the only straight person at the tea party then you might be conflicted. That being said maybe all the references to fisting and whatnot would fly over your head anyway and you can just appreciate the bitchery. Everyone loves that.

See it for:
Dana the Lesbian. She’s everything you know you’ve met a dozen times before but can’t joke about cause she’s just too much of a stereotype. I haven’t seen the last series of The L Word yet, I’ve heard it’s insane so I’m hoping she turns up and punches Jenny Schecter in the face.

Level of Crazy:
6. I love this song!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Herdy Gerdy SPLAT!

Let the Right One In (2008)

Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson

The Gist: Bullied boy (Hedebrant) meets girl (Leandersson). She happens to be a vampire. She’s moved in next door with some old guy, who I’ve decided is her brother, though it’s not made clear at all. Together they discover that vampirism is a metaphor for puberty and sex. Not much else happens, and whoever made this seems to realise everyone’s on to the whole vampires-equal-sex thing. They shoot it really nicely and throw a lot of interesting deaths at you so you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your time. Even though you kind of have. Ooh look, more blood!

And then what happens?: The reason this is getting a lot of attention, apart from it being better than your average vampire film, is that it’s from Sweden. That means subtitles, and subtitles mean it’s important and you’ll look fancy if you have it in your DVD collection. But the best part about it being in Swedish is that it’s an inherently funny language. If I ever see it again it will be as part of a drinking game where everyone knocks something back when a character says “ja” or “nej”, or when over 75% of a given shot is comprised of snow.

See it for: The scene at the pool. The weeping boy with the Princess Diana hair. Ha.

Level of Crazy: 7. Vi ses snart slampa!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Got me a coffin, shiny and black

The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005)

Starring: Daniel Johnston and his family, friends, bandmates and managers

The Gist: It’s a documentary about Daniel Johnston, a singer/songwriter you might never have heard of who gained a cult following in the late 1980s and hung out with people like Sonic Youth. His voice is odd and his songs are odder still, but you’ll want to track it all down after seeing this. He’s also majorly bipolar and has been in and out of mental institutions since the time he became halfway famous.

And then what happens?: An uplifting (sort of) and desperately sad story about the effects his condition has on the people around him. You get a rundown of the highs and lows of his bizarre career: how he joined a carnival and travelled with them to Austin, Texas where he started giving out handmade recordings of his first album Hi, How Are You?; how he scared a woman so much during one of his crazy phases that she jumped out of a two storey window to get away from him and shattered her ankles; how he had no ability to re-record his tapes so would perform Hi, How Are You? over and over again to make the tapes to hand out. Interesting guy to learn about then, and great music, but you’re kind of thankful that he’s far away from you.

See it for: The part where his father describes the night Daniel took the keys from the plane he was flying them in, forced himself into the driver’s seat and proceeded to fly them straight up and straight down over and over again. He managed to grab the keys in time to crash them into some trees and survive but he just disintegrates on camera when he talks about it.

Level of Crazy: 10. Well, he’s crazy, so it’s crazy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No, not the place from Bedknobs & Broomsticks.

The Island Nation of Nauru (1968 - Present)

Featuring: Phosphate. Then no phosphate. And Germans.

The Gist: Officially known as the Republic of Nauru, but more widely known as the world’s smallest island nation and also the only republican state in the world without an official capital. And by widely known I mean known to me, the population itself (I assume) and this random girl I know who became the official UN representative of Nauru because they asked her to intern for them at the offices in New York. Upon arrival she realised she was the only person there who knew it was even a country.

And then what happens?: She sat in at international conferences as the only, and therefore most senior, Nauruan (Naurish?) representative. And met Obama. In terms of history it’s generally been swapped between the Germans, then the British, and then it was a bit of a hot potato when Japan took it over during Word War II. At that time it had the highest income per capita in the world. Now, not so much, and if anyone has heard of it here it’s because that’s where Australia detains asylum seekers when it doesn’t know what to do with them. Like those guys who floated here in the beer cooler. They’re probably there now.

Go there: Cause you might as well if you get the chance. Between December 2005 and September 2006 it was inaccessible when the only national airline stopped operating. Also Nauruans are statistically considered among the most obese people in the world. Go look. Point.

Level of Crazy: 9. “Tourism is not a major contributor to the economy”. Shocking.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Haven’t you noticed my daughter’s… different?

Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron (2004)
by Daniel Clowes

Featuring: Twelve shades of crazy.

The Gist: Clay Loudermilk stumbles into a porn theatre where he’s shocked to see himself pop up in a hardcore S&M/potential snuff movie. He follows the huge line of guys queuing for the bathroom and goes into the wise Indian oracle’s toilet cubicle. He gives Loudermilk the address of the company that produced the film; he then borrows his friend’s car to drive out to the place. Oh, did I mention the friend has some kind of infection in his eyes so they had to be taken out and replaced by sea creatures for a few days? I always forget that part.

And then what happens?: Too much to mention. Clowes also wrote Ghost World and Art School Confidential so a cynical outlook on the world was to be expected, but in all honesty this is the most relentlessly weird and scary and creepy thing I’ve read or seen or had nightmares about for quite some time. If David Lynch, David Cronenberg and Guy Maddin all got together and had a Who’s Weirder? contest, this would beat all of them to death with it’s mutated flippers.

Read it for: The part where Tina the drunk mutant sea creature seduces Loudermilk.

Level of Crazy: 10. There’s about one shudder per page.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

We'll always be together/Together in an effed-up dream

This Dream I Had Last Night

Starring: Quentin Tarantino, A sofa, A billboard for Watchmen

The Gist: A group of people are watching a film where there’s a serial killer on the loose, and it’s this crazy girl with a machete who’s covered in blood and just kills everything. So you think she’d be easy to spot right? Wrong. This film is apparently Reservoir Dogs 2, but then it’s not anymore cause it’s real and she actually is going around killing everyone, including two kids like in When A Stranger Calls.

And then what happens?: I wake up on a sofa that’s been left on the side of a busy road, like the one I pass on my way to the library. The sofa is right in front of a giant graffiti-ed billboard for Watchmen which is part of a huge movement to graffiti every billboard in the world. I feel compelled to photograph it and show people. Then I remember the crazy machete woman, which is a total drag cause I found the billboard storyline more interesting. I go back in time somehow and the children are saved. Then the machete woman isn’t a woman anymore but a man with emo hair. Disappointing conclusion I think, even for a dream.

See it for: This is what happens when you can’t sleep for a few hours, spend the time sitting awake wondering the best route out of your house in the case of fire/machete-wielding intruders and then fall asleep.

Level of Crazy: 8. I’ve had better.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Your face, or mine?

Fast Food Fast Women (2000)

Starring: Anna Thomson, Jamie Harris, Louise Lasser, Robert Modica

The Gist: Bella is an eccentric woman staring down the barrel of her 35th birthday. She works as a waitress where she’s nice to everyone, including the stuttering Polish prostitute who works the street outside the diner. She’s having sex with this disgusting guy who I remember from somewhere. Some crotchety old men eat at the diner and complain about life. With sexy results.

And then what happens?: The thirty-something people date eachother but screw it all up somehow and end up sleeping with the sixty-something people. The sixty-something people also date and manage to screw things up then wind up in bed with the thirty-somethings. It’s not so much about the characters learning life lessons but the film itself saying in a non-cutesy, non-irritating, non-Something’s Gotta Give kind of way that people will always have sex and be confused about what it all means, no matter what age they are. And it doesn’t shy away from showing the older couples making out, which earns it major points.

See it for: Anna Thomson’s face. It confused me at the beginning of the film but now I’m totally fascinated by it. She’s also the woman I described as being like Angelina Jolie’s drag queen grandma in Water Drops On Burning Rocks. Surgery or just cartoon-ish features? Either way it’s my new favourite face and she’s got a great “meh” quality here that’s very endearing.

Level of Crazy: 7. If you only see one slightly odd inter-generational comedy this year, make it this.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

You was the bomb in 'Munich'

Love The Beast/Eric Bana Q+A (2009)

Starring: Eric Bana, Jeremy Clarkson, Jay Leno, Dr. Phil, Some Car

The Gist: So Eric Bana just made a documentary all about himself. He says it’s about his car and friends and love for his family and bla-bla-bla but it’s The Eric Show. Which is surprisingly not bad. It’s cheesy and self-indulgent and the narration in the first five minutes will make you pine for Morgan Freeman making up stuff about penguins even though they’re cute enough already dammit, but he’s not the worst person to be around. He also seems to understand that some people might not find cars all that interesting so around the 45 minute mark, just as I reached motor sport threshold and my mind started to wander, he goes BAM and puts in a montage of car crashes. The only thing missing was wacky sound effects. Unfortunately he didn’t call ahead and tell the guy sitting next to me to have a wash cause he smelled like sweaty faeces but then nobody's perfect.

And then what happens?: He decides to do a crossover of The Eric Show with The Dr Phil Show for some reason. Those parts go something like this:

Dr Phil: If Eric Bana loves a car, and you take that car from him and hide it away under a blanket, what do you get? That’s right, a delicious turkey dinner. I’m not trying to scare you but picture for a minute an airplane turned upside-down, hurtling towards the earth. Now imagine Eric Bana’s car was the pilot but didn’t make it to work on time that day cause it was parked in a garage somewhere. What would happen? That’s right, Queen Latifah would have French toast for breakfast. Do you understand?

Eric Bana: I see.

See it for: No idea. I only went because Eric Bana was actually going to be there. Besides that I really don’t see why anyone would care.

Fine then, what was Eric Bana like in person?: Very pleasant. There was a Q+A thing where people in the crowd asked him questions each of which was a thinly-veiled version of “Hi Eric, loved the film, can I see your penis?”. I considered asking him what the hell Dr Phil was doing there but got distracted by his jawline. Also the smelly guy left just before the Q+A section, and the tickets were relatively expensive. You intrigue me, smelly man.

Level of Crazy: Maybe 5. But it’s ludicrous that this film exists at all.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A normal bloke who likes a bit of torture

No proper review today, going to the fancy Nova cinema across the road to hear Eric Bana explain why he made a documentary about some car. That's right, Chopper himself. Well, not the actual Mark 'Chopper' Read, he's in Tasmania somewhere writing children's books. One of them is called Hooky the Cripple: The Grim Tale of a Hunchback Who Triumphs (you can buy that here, my birthday's next month). Full report on the whole business tomorrow. Probably.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ten things I learned from effed up movies this month. Special Guests: Lily Allen & HIV

It was Winslet’s turn. Well played, Gervais.

2. ‘Fingerf*cked by the Prime Minister’ is not the new Lily Allen song, but it probably should be.

Now that Milk won some stuff Gus Van Sant can get back to bringing the melancholy crazy with Abercrombie models right? That never gets old. And neither do the models.

I preferred when people being set on fire in Danny Boyle films was fun, like in 28 Days Later.

It doesn’t matter how annoying and penis-having your love interest is in a Japanese zombie rock ‘n’ roll horror classic, you just have to suck it up and fall for them.

If you talk about AIDs in a Canadian high school, you will most likely get HIV.

Bitchy old men in cravats don’t care how nice your lederhosen are if you haven’t scrubbed the floors properly.

Slumdog Millionaire is the leading cause of lengthy arguments here at The Hair Institute. I look forward to it going away now thank you.

Max the Sexual Mule is my new favourite movie animal.

There’s no problem so big that it can’t be solved with a good pick-axe to the face.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

They’re probably knee-deep in whores by now

Bachelor Party (1984)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Max the Mule, Tawny Kitaen, Adrian Zmed

The Gist: Goofy Tom Hanks from the 1980s is getting married to Some Girl with huge hair. She and her hair command that there not be any hookers at his bachelor party. His friends and their hair disagree and, whoops, invite nothing but hookers to the party. I just checked the film on IMDB - yes, sometimes I do research - and the most recent news story was about how the actress (Tawny Kitaen) who plays Some Girl in this film is still good friends with the husband she once beat up with a stiletto. Gotta love that.

And then what happens?: Lots and lots of really non-boring things. This film might be insanely misogynist but it is laugh-out-loud funny and here’s a run-down of my favourite parts: the Some Girl’s mother getting her hand glued to a Chippendale’s penis at the bachelorette party, Hanks and his posse tying his naked crazy nemesis up in bedsheets and dangling him off the side of his father’s hotel, Max the Sexual Mule doing lines of coke at the bachelor party then keeling over dead, the girls at the bachelorette party (including the mother) posing as hookers to sneak into the bachelor party and getting locked inside another room with a group of horny Japanese businessmen in their underpants… and so on.

See it for: They put the dead mule in an elevator and each time the doors open to reveal his poor legs in the air is hilarious.

Level of Crazy: 8. Quick, get the hookers in a circle!

That Winslet, she was always a meshuga.

Maus Vol. 1 (1986)

Featuring: Mice as Jews, Cats as Nazis, Pigs as Poles, Flamingos as drag queens (not really)

The Gist: Art Spiegelman works out his issues with Vladek, his aging father by asking him to recount his experiences of Poland at the beginning of World War II. He then illustrates it all in a way that makes the events simultaneously easier to digest than if he’d drawn human characters but also more disturbing because your imagination will occasionally bring you to the actual scenes being described and soft-balled in your direction.

And then what happens?: If you’ve read anything like Craig Thompson’s Blankets or Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis books, or even seen Waltz With Bashir, then you’ll be familiar with this kind of storytelling. There’ll be raving quotes on the side talking about how revolutionary it is and blah blah dee blah but at the root of all of those stories, and this one, is someone exorcising some very dark personal experiences as honestly as they possibly can. So skip the tastefully-nude-Kate-Winslet in The Reader, or the thousand other Nazi snorefests released this year, and read this instead.

Read it for: I really can’t get enough of how Vladek constructs his sentences. My fault it isn’t, I blame only Dr. Zoidberg.

Level of Crazy: 10. You want I should kick you?