Saturday, January 31, 2009
The Three Kings/Les Rois Mages (2001)
Starring: Didier Bourdon, Bernard Campan, Pascal Légitimus (good name), Virginie de Clausade, Christophe Hémon
The Gist: The three kings, Balthazar, Melchior and Gaspard, fall through a wormhole on their way to deliver the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the recently-born Jesus Christ. They all end up in present day Paris and have to come up with the money to fly to Israel. And back in time presumably. I’ve been to Israel, I think EL AL could work it out.
And then what happens?: They hook up with the moody, incredibly French Macha (de Clausade) and her no-good drug dealer boyfriend Guillaume (that should be warning enough to her, in films like this Guillaumes’ are almost always bad news). They save her life when she overdoses while Guillaume flees the scene (see?). The kings then start to dress like pimps and become famous. I left the room as they were making an appearance on a TV talk show.
See it for: The level of product placement for McDonald’s. The kings visit it several times and measure all their accumulated wealth in terms of the number of burgers they can buy. Now I’m wondering if they ever made it back to Jesus. If they did they probably threw the myrrh away and brought him something from the Eurosaver menu.
Level of Crazy: 4. Generic Euro-quirk. P.S. GO EAT A BIG MAC.
The Green Butchers (2003)
Starring: Mads Mikkelson, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Nikolaj Lie Kaas again, Line Kruse, Nicolas Bro
The Gist: Mads Mikkelson (the villain from Casino Royale) is Svend, a sad and creepy trainee butcher obsessed with making the perfect marinade. He’s got an unfortunate hairline and his head is constantly drenched in sweat. This causes everyone to call him Sweaty Svend. His wife leaves him just as he opens a new butcher shop with his only friend Bjarne. Then, wouldn’t ya know, things turn a bit Sweeney Todd.
And then what happens?: The guy who also plays Bjarne turns up as his brain-damaged younger brother who, according to the potentially unreliable subtitles, was given too much control by their parents and basically thinks he owns the place. He hands people little animal figurines at certain points and screams things like “I am the winner, you do as I say!”. He’s also a vegetarian. And his brother is a butcher. Lots of shouting.
See it for: The scene where the local priest, who we’re told survived a horrible plane crash by eating his dead wife, declares to the rival butcher that Svend and Bjarne’s meat “tastes like Gert”.
Level of Crazy: 6. I think. With films like this I can never be sure if it’s actually as weird as it seems or if it’s just an effect of the translation. My Danish is not so good.
Sick Girl (2006)
Starring: Angela Bettis, Misty Mundae, Jesse Hlubik, Marcia Bennett
The Gist: Bettis is an odd little scientist obsessed with big creepy insects. She’s nice to everyone, including her mean old neighbour, and does what they say until that one scary bug she has (you know, the one with the potential to infect everyone?) escapes and can’t be found. Just as she should be worrying about this development she meets a nice girl (Mundae) who TURNS HER LESBIAN. Ain’t it always the way?
And then what happens?: Cause this is the kind of film where we the audience know more than the characters on-screen, for no other reason than they appear to be very stupid (scientist or no scientist), we're aware that the gross bug is hiding out in her apartment somewhere. It’s usually in her bed. So one night when that nice LESBIAN is staying over, the bug extends one of its antennae into her ear and starts to control her. The ear starts to look extremely pus-filled and infected but Bettis never notices. Probably cause she’s a LESBIAN now, science-ing and having a brain goes out the window. This is what the film is telling me.
See it for: The girlfriend is left alone in the apartment one night and the bug comes out of the pillow. She allows it to “do things” to her. Down there. Those darn lesbians, what will they do next?
Level of Crazy: 9. Ewww.
Dot the I (2003)
Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Natalia Verbeke, Tom Hardy, James D’Arcy, Charlie Cox
The Gist: Bear with me, I saw this a while ago and I may have fallen asleep. Gael Garcia Bernal is hired by some guy to seduce this girl (Verbeke) for undisclosed reasons. He doesn’t understand why. She doesn’t understand why. They fall in love “for real”, possibly. There are cameras following them everywhere. This becomes important towards the end, but still makes no sense.
And then what happens?: This is one of those twisty-turny “aren’t we all very clever” films that has just enough European-ness going for it that you let it away with being mostly nonsense. At some point James D’Arcy, who I recognise from something or other, is revealed to be the girl’s fiancé. He’s the Exposition Fairy who tries to explain everything. Good luck. He’s also the one who hired Gael Garcia Bernal and filmed it all for this documentary he’s making. Gael and the girl are chased with guns then later gate-crash the film festival D’Arcy takes the fake movie to. People alternately get shot and look confused. I don’t know either.
See it for: Garcia Bernal perfecting his cute and baffled WTF face that he used to much better effect a few years later in The Science of Sleep. You get the impression here that he’s genuinely confused about what’s happening in this film that he’s signed up for.
Level of Crazy: 2. It’s only lightweight crazy and doesn’t understand why. Then people get shot and look confused.
Mr Freedom (1969)
Starring: John Abbey, Don Pleasance, Delphine Seyrig, Serge Gainsbourg, Inflatable Things
The Gist: Mr Freedom (Abbey) is an “America, F*ck Yeah!” superhero who gets sent to France by his boss, Dr Freedom (Pleasance), after the death of his friend Captain Formidable. There he must free the French people from the grip of “Red Chinaman” and promote the message of democracy to their weak “froggy” minds.
And then what happens?: So from the way they pronounce the phrase “Red Chinaman” I assumed this was a catch-all term for hordes of Communist Chinese people infiltrating France. About an hour in I realised that no, “Red Chinaman” is a character, in this case represented by a giant inflatable dragon with flood lights for eyes who takes up an entire station of the Metro in Paris. The Trocadero to be precise. The only way I can explain remembering that is because Mr Freedom was baited to go there by a huge radio in his suitcase. I’m also drunk.
See it for: God, the whole thing. Almost every moment is gold. For example - Mr Freedom is sent to talk to some guy at the US Embassy. It’s decorated like a big bugged-out supermarket and staffed by a group of bouncing blonde cheerleaders who dance and hop in semi-synchronisation as they follow Mr Freedom and The Guy around. They pass displays of mostly Omo, Coral and Ariel detergent set up like massive distracting pop art exhibitions. This is an exchange between Mr Freedom and The Guy:
The Guy: Ah Mr Freedom, good to see you. And Batman and John Wayne, are they well?
Mr Freedom: Yes, they’re just fine.
Stuff this summary didn't even have time for: Super Frenchman (also inflatable); a half-naked Serge Gainsbourg beating up a warehouse full of similarly naked people; Mr Freedom throwing a tiny window cleaner off the balcony; the Freedom Theme Song.
Level of Crazy: 10. This Ess is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-ESS.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Tilda Swinton, Tilda Swinton, Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Davies, (and there might be another Tilda Swinton)
The Gist: Tilda Swinton, in big googly glasses and a bad wig, is a kooky scientist. Tilda Swintons in various other bad wigs are the clones of the original Tilda Swinton. The Tilda clones live in a sealed off color-themed research area in Original Tilda’s basement. The Vampy Tilda clone has to leave the compound every few days to collect semen. This can only be done using her mouth. She then takes the specimen back to the other clones as they need it to survive. Confusion ensues. For all concerned.
And then what happens?: I’m trying to remember what involvement, if any, the Tildas had with Jeremy Davies. He may have been edited in from a different film where he’s this sad guy who works in a copy shop and he can’t even get that right. I’m glad they added it to this bizarre cocktail cause by itself that would have been really dull. I also should add that Teknolust sounds like much more fun than it really is.
See it for: The Tilda clones want to impress their “mother”, Original Tilda, with this song-and-dance routine they’ve come up with. Then for a few minutes the film becomes a music video of Tilda Swintons badly green-screened side-by-side dancing randomly. They finish and Original Tilda smiles and says “that’s nice” or something. Then the film continues on its merry way. Quite.
Level of Crazy: 8. It’s wackadoodle but loses points for the footage from that aborted Jeremy Davies pilot.
Superman III (1983)
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Robert Vaughn, Margot Kidder (though I don’t remember seeing her), Annette O’Toole
The Gist: Honestly, I have no idea. You could put this down to the fact that I watched it whilst doing lots of other things but I blame it all on the crazy. From what I picked up, Richard Pryor is retarded or something and Robert Vaughn uses him to be mean to Superman. For some reason. So Pryor gives him fake kryptonite which makes Superman evil for a little while, but not that long. And the real extent of his evil seems to be that he doesn’t shave. Then there’s something about a big computer in the Grand Canyon. Lana Lane and her kid are in there somewhere too.
And then what happens?: Did you see that up there? That was the synopsis, so you can only imagine what I’ve left out. Richard Pryor with skis, draped in a pink blanket. Richard Pryor with a donkey in the Grand Canyon. Richard Pryor delivering nonsense to a large audience dressed as a general, then presenting Superman with the fake kryptonite, which he accepts gladly. Stubbly Superman ravishing a helium-voiced slutty blonde on top of a building. Stubbly Superman fighting Clean Shaven Clark Kent for what seemed like half an hour at that car impound lot. I could go on.
See it for: The part when the big computer in the Grand Canyon turns against everyone. One of the lady-villains gets caught in the wires and is transformed into a robot. You just know Google are working on that one.
Level of Crazy: 10. Pathological.
This blog will endeavour to list and rate movies based entirely on their level of derangement and commitment to not be boring. To this end every effort will be made to not take into account such factors as good taste, personal sensitivity and political correctness. If the movie is well-intentioned but boring, the rating will be low; if it's morally toxic but also distractingly insane, the rating will be high.