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Sunday, 16 September 2012

Saturday night (and Sunday morning) at the movies.

Well as per usual when my finances dictate that I can't indulge in my love for live music I retreat to the cheaper option of watching movies at home.
So here's the it's a XXXX things weekend movie update.

First out of the gate was 'Safe'.
It's one of those 'it does what is says on the tin' films.
Heavily influenced by the Japanese and Korean stylized angle on the revenge/action genre it manages to take that oeuvre soaked in ultra-violence and balletic fight scenes and give it a Hollywood make over with a great deal of panache.
Of course it's over the top in a similar way that 'The Raid' was, but no matter how ridiculous it got, and regardless of how much time was expended on breaking bones and shooting people, I had a blast watching it.
Russian mafia, check. Japanese gangsters, check. Corrupt police, check. Ex back ops anti hero, damn right, Innocent victim who offers redemption to said ex black ops anti hero. Yep.
All present and correct.
What more could you ask for?
It's all been done before, but just set that to the back of your mind and go with the flow and enjoy.
The star of the film, Jason Statham, could be described as one of my guilty pleasures.
Well he could if I had any, but I don't.
Instead I've always been happy to share my lack of good taste with others.
So it doesn't pain me in the least to say that in all honesty I actually like a good chunk of his films.
I've said it.
He's an action hero I can get on board with as he does display some brain along with the brawn.
Instead of being virtually all rippling muscle with the ability to remember a few lines he can actually act.
There's some charisma there, and he can carry a wordy scene when required, and that puts him miles ahead of his peers.
Now don't get me wrong.
I'm not saying he's Lawrence Olivier, and along with anyone with half a brain, and a modicum of taste, I'd firmly consign films like Transporter and Crank to the nearest bargain bin if given half a chance.
There's no doubt about that, and while I'm at it let's be brutally honest here and admit that while they were crap movies the sequels deserve to be wrapped in a biohazard banner and sunk in the Mariana Trench.
Yet for every waste of celluloid he's done there's more that I have thoroughly enjoyed to balance it all out, and Safe is one of them.
If I was to write one line for a national it would be 'high octane actions films don't get much better', and I'd write that with nary a hint of embarrassment.
This is the sort of movie that Saturdays nights are made for.

Next was Ridley Scott's Robin Hood. A film that was critically panned when it came out, and it would be fair to say that audiences stayed away in droves allowing it to sink without a lifeline being thrown in its direction, but once again I'll march out of step with the majority as I found it very entertaining.
Most of the criticism isn't just sour grapes though, and there is a point to much of what has been said.
For instance the accents are all over the place, and of course it's historically inaccurate, but while I can accept that this annoyed some I do find myself asking why it was considered enough to slate it beyond an inch of its life.
After all no one seemed to care when Costner did it.
So why the issue with this Russell Crowe take on the legend?
Why is Costner's film considered a classic of its era and this one a turkey?
I don't really get it. But hey, go figure.
Anyway this time it's the origins of the iconic character being played with.
Guy comes back from the Crusades and steps into the boots of a dead knight and rises to prominence while promoting a socialist agenda to the masses.
In all honesty I have no idea at all why this film is loathed by so many.
When I think about the alternatives that terrestrial television are offering on a Saturday evening then it just seems like a no brainer to grab this instead.

Sticking with Russell Crow I moved onto the adaptation of the BBC series State of Play next.
It's been kicking about for months after I picked it up for a couple of quid in a supermarket and I'm beating myself up over not biting the shrink wrap off it right away.
As ensemble pieces go this is as good as it gets with absolutely no weak links in the cast.
Even when they throw Jason Bateman at us in a supporting role it just oozes class.
This is our generations 'All the presidents men'.
The political intrigue just keeps building and building until the tension looks like it could max out, but at that point they cast a curve ball finish in.
When people say they don't make movies like they used to you should sit them down in front of this.
I never seen the original BBC series so I have no comparison point that could serve to shadow my opinion on it.
So it's definitely highly recommended from me.
Stunningly good.

Finally it was the turn of Chatroom.
Four teenagers in an online chatroom reveal their personalities and issues with their lives, while the fifth, whose room it is, manipulates them all.
The idea of representing the chat room as a real place with the characters interacting face to face is interesting to a point, but ultimately the leap from taking an idea from paper onto the screen doesn't work.
Basically it's a great premise, but a shit execution of it.
It all screams of being very clever.
Far too clever for its own good.
Each of the characters is rather two dimensional and fell far short of being truly representative of a teenager with problems.
Instead it all seemed like a representation of teenage mental health issues as perceived by people whose only experience of them is from reading an article in a Big Issue over a latte in an up market coffee house.
While a film, any film, is one step removed from reality this is one step removed again, maybe even two.
If I was to write a script about a a child growing up in an Indian slum based on a second hand, but allegedly true story from a magazine, and then it was rewritten by a woman who worked for Vogue, then I suspect that by the time it reached the screen it would have little bearing on the life that the child had.
In the same way this film is as far removed from the reality of teenagers as that would be.
The message that no one is who they appear to be online and that there are predators out there looking to manipulate others to meet their own needs is as a sound one.
It's just that this film fails to nail it spectacularly.
The last section tries admirably to pull it all together, but unfortunately too much of my time had been invested in hanging in through the crap for it to matter.
Piss poor really.


  1. I was sent here yesterday from a friend to check out the MC5 interview. Very good it is to.
    Then I spent hours reading your blog. I was totally suckered in. Its like no other blog I have read.
    It's more like a music magazine that has no boundaries.
    You really don't give a shit and do what you want with it.
    Loving it. Even when I don't agree with some posts.
    Keep on keeping on.

  2. Thank you very much ZantostheGreat.
    It's comments like yours that make my day.
    The blog really is just an extension of what I've been up to, and what I think about certain things, and I genuinely do appreciate that you, and others, get that.