Bride Wars

When I first heard the title Bride Wars, my mind brought forth images of meringue-encased women fighting in steel cages over who got the first choice between taupe, eggshell, offwhite, or beige for the wedding invites.  Sadly, this was not the case.  It was instead a fairly standard romantic comedy, or so I thought.

While on the surface, it’s a standard love story plot with a minor twist, it is, in fact, an educational video showcasing the perils of wedding planning, and as such, is a must watch for any guy who has any inclination of getting married and settling down at some point in his life.

The instructional nature of the movie takes men through all the stages that a bride experiences during the planning stages of a wedding, from the initial, slightly touched phase, where everything is rainbows and puppies and white doves, all the way through to batshit insane, when the best thing you can do is agree.  Unless of course you are supposed to have an opinion about something which is a polite way of them finding out which of the two options being presented should be thrown out.

Now, what I found most interesting about this edutainment, was not the content itself, but rather the response of the average guy when watching.  This all depends on where they are.  The ones who are dating or single think it is a most amusing over-exaggerated piece of mockery about the excesses of the wedding industry and the fears they play upon.  Those who have found themselves with fiancée, spend the first half of the movie going “done that, been there, hmmm.” And the second half thinking “shiii-iiit, what the hell have I gotten myself into.”  Those who survived the pre-wedding madness look at it and go “they almost got it right, but perhaps they had to tone down the crazy a little bit to make it more believable to the non-wedded.”

The film is entertaining, and with Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson as the leads, at least there is eye-candy, especially during the bachelorette party, and if you’re going to have to sit through this to earn brownie points it is nice to know there will be some reward.

As this is a chick flick and not a dodgy movie, there isn’t a dodgy rating.  Instead, what we have is a brownie point system – as in, how many brownie points watching this with your significant other will earn you.  For Bride Wars, this is a little tricky to score.  If, when the inevitable “I wasn’t like that, was I?” question is asked, you are able to remove any trace of sarcasm from your answer, this one probably rates equivalent to flowers.  If you can’t, you may as well follow your answer up with “and when I said those pants didn’t make you look fat, I lied.”  After all, if you’re going to be sleeping in your car, at least make it for something worthwhile.

Bride Wars is, fortunately, relatively rewatchable, scoring a 3 mutant smileys out of five.  I say fortunately, as it’s worth watching a number of times to remind yourself why you’re going to make sure not to screw up because you’re never voluntarily putting yourself through that madness ever again.

This educational product should be mandatory viewing with every engagement ring sold.  And Honey, if you’re reading this, you were nothing like the brides in Bride Wars.  I enjoyed every minute of wedding planning and I’d happily go through it again with you. (I’m so glad tone of voice isn’t conveyed by text).

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

When watching a movie there are two questions you should ask yourself at the end.  This first and least important is “How dodgy was that movie?”  In this case, the answer was supremely.  The second, and really the only question that matters “Did I enjoy that?”  For Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the answer was a resounding No.
Normally, a collaboration between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp has my dodgy sense tingling, and when I first saw this film advertising it rang like a fire bell. The opening sequence had me a little concerned, but it is Tim Burton and I was kind of expecting what was delivered. Then the singing started, which, I was also expecting. What I wasn’t expecting was how repetitive it would be. Needless to say, this was more than a little offputting.

Now, I was vaguely familiar with the source material and the storyline, so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot.  After all, it’s about a barber who kills his clients, and then disposes of the bodies by turning them into meat pies through Mrs Lovett’s Meat Pie Emporium.  I was expecting a fairly dark musical with some humor, instead of a dark repetitive tune with different words.

In case you haven’t noticed, the music was repetitive and annoying (kind of like my lack of vocabularly for describing it).

This was supremely dodgy and would have gotten a high rating just based on the Burton/Depp collaboration.  Throw in the throat slashing barber and you have a 5 on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scale.  It’s kind of hard to single out the dodgiest moment with the whole film attaining a pretty constant level, but the opening sequence showing the bloody path through the mincing machinery sets the stage and makes you wonder just what you’ve got yourself in for.

While rating very high on the dodgy stakes, I found myself wondering on more than one occasion why I was continuing to subject myself to this.  The answer, I did it, so you won’t have to.  This one ranks right up there with Aeon Flux and Catwoman as far as whether or not you should watch it.  Don’t!

It was a musical, so not much dialogue.  Even the lyrics weren’t all that memorable.  Or they may have been and I’ve just tried to block them all out in an effort to forget I ever watched this.

When not even Alan Rickman can save a movie, you know it shouldn’t have been made.  Don’t waste valuable hours of your time watching this one.

Avatar

I finally managed to get my grubby paws on a copy of Avatar.  I wanted to see what all the hype was about.  Why this was “The Film of the year” and more importantly why so many people were surprised that it didn’t win the Oscar (although, that says a whole lot more about the people who thought this was a great movie than it does about the quality of the movie itself)

As you can tell from the ratings, I didn’t think all that much of Avatar.  It was enjoyable, but I have a large number of, well, let’s say comments, because I’m in a good mood and don’t want to scare you all off just yet.

Let’s start with the length of the film.  It did not need to be what felt like 6 hours.  At least half the film was taken up with pointless scenery and “look what we can do with computers”  If they had’ve cut even half the pointless scenes out of the film they could have saved an hour and 100 million dollars, and no-one would have cared.

Normally, I like simple to follow plots, which Avatar has.  But the hype around how great the film was centered on the storyline as well as the visual effects.  So, let’s look at that.  The damaged hero get’s a new lease on life and learns how to live again has been done so many times that it doesn’t even count as a plot anymore.  Clicheperhaps might be a better.

But these are minor gripes.  What kind of a God complex must humans have for us to force all intelligent life in the universe to conform to a bipedal humanoid shape.  Surely it’s possible on a planet that doesn’t seem to have any apelike creatures and that most of the lifeforms encountered have 6 limbs, that the dominant lifeform would not be human shaped.  (only having four fingers does not count as a significant enough difference).

Perhaps, the reason is more mundane.  Maybe, the audience is unable to identify with anything that isn’t a recognisable human derivative.  This really doesn’t bode well for when we finally make contact with the intelligent unicellular blobs from Alpha Centauri.

My final comment on Avatar.  Why were they on Pandora.  To obtain a mineral.  The name of the mineral, Unobtanium.  Fuck.  At least use a name with 37 syllables, not something taken directly from “The Core”.

Perhaps I should have seen Avatar at the cinema in 3D, but I feel that 3D is merely a gimmick designed to distract the audience from a dull uninspired movie, and given my reaction to the television version, I’m unlikely to change this opinion any time in the near future.

If you’ve got nothing better to do, go watch Avatar.  But you’d be better off watching a real alien movie like “Alien” or Evolution.

Planet 51

It’s not often that you watch a cartoon that is just so cool that you don’t care about the sickly sweet kiddie friendly plot, or the message that the producers tried to shoehorn into it about how we’re all the same underneath the different colour skin and how we can all live together in peace and love and rainbows and puppies and all that other crap.  (There are “puppies” in this film, but they’re cool and we’ll get to them later)  Planet 51 manages all this, and it’s just great.

The film revolves around some kind of plot in which the human astronaut lands and becomes the alien.  Something that was done before in Monsters Inc.  But that’s all besides the point.  The point of Planet 51 is to be a complete mockery of “the Ameican Way of Life” in the fifties, and, all the cool big budget horror/sci-fi films that have happened since then.

There’s even a scene in which the citizen’s patrol are being instructed on how to deal with the Alien invasion through a series of instruction manuals, two of which were attacked by sea monsters and attack by a 50 foot woman.  Planet 51 is even better than Monsters Vs. Aliens. (and i loved that film more than I should probably ever admit).

Cartoons really have to overachieve to reach 5 on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scale, and while Planet 51 often had me going all Keanu Reeve’s “whoa, that was cool!”  it never had me going “wow, that was fucking dodgy”.  There isn’t really a dodgiest moment, but rather dodgiest characters, and the award is shared.  Both characters are “puppies”.  There’s the alien dog from whichever alien movie had a dog infested with an alien (I think it was Alien 3 but feel free to correct me in the comments), complete with acidic urine and a tongue that was basically a face hugger.  The second dodgiest character was Rover, an unmanned probe that had the personality of a dog.  It was basically Wall-E, but with more personality.  The meeting of the two of them, complete with butt-sniffing had me falling off my chair.

Planet 51 got a gigantic 5 alien smileys.  It rocked.  I just wish I had’ve found it sooner so I would have more time to appreciate it.  As it is, I suspect that each time you watch it there are going to be additional alien movie cliches that you pick up.

The film’s script is alright.  In general, it’s not fantastic and is suitable for kiddies.  however, it does contain some real gems.  “Your daily dose of Chuck” is one of them, but the real winner in the most memorable quote is “The whole planet is full of alien life and you send back pictures of rocks.”  I’m sure this is what happened with the Mars Rover.  The sent the thing there to get interesting pictures of the rocks, so that’s what it sent back.

Normally, this is where I have final comments.  But there is something that needs to be added.  Planet 41 has the best use of “The Macarena” I’ve ever scene.  It starts playing when the aliens drop Chuck’s ipod and all of them fall to the ground holding their ears in agony (think Mars Attacks style, without the exploding heads) until someone shoots the device.   It’s even referred to as a “Heinous weapon” and if that wasn’t sufficient as a cruel sadistic device.  Stop the Madness indeed.

Planet 51 didn’t get nearly as much hype as it deserved, but fortunately, I managed to watch it before it descended into obscurity.  You should too.

Catwoman

Catwoman starring Halle Berry held a lot of promise. Halle Berry, in tight leather outfits wielding a whip. That was an image that should have been able to carry the movie by itself. Unfortunately, it didn’t. It’s kind of hard to decidde why the movie was so bad. The terrible dialogue, stiff acting or abysmal cinematography may all have contributed to the feeling of despair I had while watching this film. I think the only thing that managed to keep my interest was waiting for the ad breaks, after all, there might be a new advert or at least an old advert that I enjoyed.

Any superhero movie that takes 40 minutes before the superhero even starts to get her powers is off to a bad start. I should have stopped watching then, but morbid curiosity got the better of me. The only redeeming feature in the film was Patience’s, (Catwoman’s alter ego’s), boss as he was the actor who played the Merovingian in the Matrix series, which allowed me to think of the Matrix and the happier times that that memory brought me. Unfortunately that didn’t last for long as I was brought back to the horror of the scenes on the television. Time to wrap this review up before I run out of polite adjectives and have to resort to swearing.

There are many dodgy moments in the film. At 24 frames a second for 6240 seconds that makes 149760 dodgy moments, and there wasn’t a single one I would call my favourite. Actually, I lie. The end credits had a certain something. Mainly because they signify that the carnage was over and I could now get down to the serious business of forgetting that I ever saw the film. I found it hard to assign a dodginess rating to this film, mainly because I see dodgy as a good thing, which this film was not. In the end, it scored 2 on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scale, After all quantity is not always a good thing.

If a 1 on the scale is reserved for movies that I would only watch once, this one scores a 0, otherwise known as the antinike, just don’t do it. Yes, don’t even watch it to see if it really is as bad as I say. That is the trap I fell for.

Again, a tough choice, mainly to find a quote that was remotely memorable. In the end I had to go with one with which I could identify. “Would you go out on a ledge to save a strange cat?” “Only if the cat was carrying pizza.”

I think I finally understand the true meaning of the phrase curiosity killed the cat. Don’t watch this film, ever.





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