Archive for the ‘5 Stay Puft Marshmallow Men’ Category

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.

The Matrix



The Wachowski Brothers were geniuses.  Not only did they manage to make floor length black trenchcoats cool again, but 10 years after the original release, The Matrix is still mindblowingly awesome.  In fact, The Matrix is so cool that even if they devoted the rest of their live to making movies like Aeon Flux, Catwoman and Elektra, their awesomeness would still rank well in positive numbers.
I’m not going to bother going into the plot here because if you’re reading this after seeing The Matrix I needn’t bother, and if you’ve got this far without seeing it, you need to go directly to your favourite dvd retailer, buy it, and come back after watching it.  You may find you need to watch it a couple of times before you can drag yourself away from it though.
While some of the acting is pretty good, (not Keanu Reeves’ performance, but he just had to look pretty), it’s not the acting that makes the movie, it’s the special effects.  The invention of “Bullet Time”, without which Max Payne would have just been another completely ordinary FPS, was a stroke of true genius, and allowed them to create gunfights that gave John Woo wet dreams.

The Matrix is one of those movies which causes me to feel great sadness that the dodginess and rewatchability scales only go up to 5.  It just jumps from scenes that make you go “Wow” to ones that cause you to exclaim “Oh My God, that was sooooooo awesome!!1!1!!1!oneone”  In case you hadn’t figured it out already, The Matrix scores a 5 on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man index.  Choosing the dodgiest moment in this movie feels like having to choose between puppies in a pet store.  They’re all so good it doesn’t matter which one you choose you’ll still feel bad that you had to leave some behind.  In the end, I had to look for the least dodgy moment, which is Mr Anderson getting into trouble for being late to work again.  At this stage, you could still almost believe that this was going to be just another office-drone-cuts-loose movie.

The Matrix scores a 5 on the rewatchability rating, but really deserves more, pesky limited rating system.  Normally, movies like this have a couple of scenes that make you want to rewatch the movie.  The Matrix is not like this.  The whole film makes you want to rewatch the movie.  Even the scenes that progress the story rather than devolve into action orgasms are necessary as they allow you a chance to recover before another wave of toe-curling cinematography explodes on the screen in front of you.

You’re always tempted to go with the more common main stream quotations like “There is no spoon,” or “Why didn’t I take the blue pill?” when looking to quote a movie like the matrix. However, this would cause you to miss what is undoubtedly the best line in the film, “Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.

Just remember, you can’t watch The Matrix, you have to experience it.





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Shoot ‘Em Up


In what was clearly a revenge attack for calling Boondock Saints Gun Porn, @networkaegis a.k.a. that bastard, decided to inflict Shoot ‘Em Up on me. Fortunately, this means you will read the review and he will be unable to inflict it on anyone else.

Shoot ‘Em Up is Gun Porn. Well, strictly speaking, that’s not entirely true.  Shoot ‘Em Up is Carrot Porn with some gun fights thrown in to try and make the Death-by-carrot scenes less ridiculous.  I fail to understand why writer/directors come up with a couple of cool ideas, in this case, Death-by-carrot, and then write a whole movie centered around it, complete with bad Bugs Bunny references.   It didn’t work for Wanted, and it sure as hell didn’t work for Shoot ‘Em Up.

Now, I kind of went off about the lack of plot in Boondock Saints.  Perhaps I was too hasty.  Shoot ‘Em Up makes Boondock Saints look positively Shakespearean in it’s scope.  This plot could be done in a tweet and there would still be room for pi.  Man rescues baby, shit happens, he kills everyone, with a carrot. (75 characters) Not only is there room for pi, it’s not even the rounded off short version you learnt at school (3.1416)  No, we’re talking full on memory testing pi.

Shoot ‘Em Up managed to get 5 Stay Puft Marshmallow Men, for 3 reasons, the skydiving gunfight, something I have not seen before, and it really should have been made longer, but by that stage I just wanted the pain to stop, so the brevity was appreciated,  and Death-by-carrot, twice.  Although, Death-by-carrot really should not have happened in the first scene.  I was kind of hoping after that that a whole array of vegetables would be used, perhaps death-by-potato or death-by-aubergine, but no, we got stuck with carrot.  And the eye stabbing death should have come before the skull piercing one, but that could just be my preference for dodginess in a movie increasing as the film rolls.  (In case you didn’t guess, Death-by-carrot got the dodgiest moment award)

It also managed a rare and dubious honour of getting 1 Mutant Smiley for rewatchability.  This film really is the proof that despite what many people think, there is a substantial difference between good dodgy and bad dodgy. It’s like the difference between a scooter and a Ducatti.  They both are technically motorbikes, but you wouldn’t be caught dead on a scooter.

One liners abound in Shoot ‘Em Up, and I have a theory about this.  I think the writer/director had a bet going with some drinking buddies to see who could get the most lines with sexual overtones into a script.  I really hope I don’t ever find the movies his drinking buddies wrote.  Still the best line in the movie does not have any innuendo in it, sexual or otherwise, but it won’t make the NRA happy either.  yes, I’m referring to “Guns don’t kill people! But they sure help.”

Shoot ‘Em Up was not a good film.  It was not an interesting 80 minute diversion.  It may have made for an interesting 5 minute diversion had I been aware enough to fastforward through everything except the Death-by-carrot scenes, but how would I be able to post any sort of waring if I did that.  Avoid this movie.  Don’t even consider watching it to find out what bad dodgy is.  In fact, the only reason I can think of to watch Shoot ‘Em Up is as part of a film class on learning how not to write an action film.  You hav been warned.

Boondock Saints



The Boondock Saints is pure unadulterated Gun Porn.  It has minimal plot, marginal character development, but lots and lots of guns, most of the time in slow motion. As gun porn, you would expect a number of things, bodies flopping around like breasts on Baywatch, spent cartridges ejaculating everywhere and The Money Shot.  In Boondock Saints this is fairly easy to spot.  Il Duce, sporting enough guns to supply the cast of the Matrix, up against the McManus twins and Rocco.  Chaos, gunfire and the removal of appendages follows in some glorious tribute to western faceoffs.

While plot is normally a hinderance in a dodgy movie, some plot is required.  There seems to be plot at the beginning, then a large stretch of plotless wasteland while they get the gunfights out the way, and then some plot at the end to try and fool you into thinking it was there all along.  This is successful the first time you watch, but the second time, you start asking questions.  How did they know the Russian Mobsters would be in the hotel room?  How did Il Duce find them? And why were there not more gunfights?

Based on the sheer volume of gunfire, Boondock Saints would qualify for 3 Stay Puft Marshmallow Men.  Add in Willem Dafoe as a gay-hating homosexual detective, and you bump it up to five.  Convince Willem Dafoe to dress in drag and it gets full marks, 5 Stay Puft Marshmallow Men of dodginess.  Of course, just because they managed to convince Dafoe to dress in drag doesn’t mean he should.  I suspect the wardrobe brief was to make sure he was the ugliest transvestite in cinema history, and they succeeded admirably.

My big criticism of this film is the slow motion.  I don’t think I always had a problem with it, but since 300 my tolerance for the use of slow motion has declined dramatically.  In fact, I didn’t realise just how much my tolerance had declined. Fortunately the use of slow motion was minimal when compared to the atrocities inflicted on film by Zack Snyder and so, I can give Boondock Saints a respectable 4 mutant smileys out of 5.

While I suspect that the Willem Dafoe line, “Television. Television is the explanation for this – you see this in bad television. Little assault guys creeping through the vents, coming in through the ceiling – that James Bond shit never happens in real life! Professionals don’t do that!” is probably my favourite in the movie, it isn’t really snappy enough to warrant the most memorable quotation award.  The snappy line “We could kill Everyone” is the one that surfaces when I think back to the film.  Not only is it short and sweet, but it’s an accurate summary of the plot.

Fortunately, gun porn is something you can admit to liking in public and the worst you’ll get is people rolling their eyes at you.  And occasionally, you can find someone with which to discuss which is the best gun porn, The Matrix, Equilibrium or Boondock Saints.  Of course, if you’re reading this, you already have an opinion and you;ve found a safe place to air it, so let us know in the comments.

Hoodwinked

Hoodwinked is a musical, film-noiresque detective story version of Little Red Riding Hood.  If that doesn’t immediately make you run out and buy it, and it should, you may be on the wrong site.  But, if you need more convincing, read on.

Hoodwinked starts off by showing the end of the story, which turns out to be the middle of the story, but you only find that out later. The main players in this musical drama, Red, Granny, The Wolf and Kirk all get detained by Flippers, the police investigator,  and each is interviewed. During this process, you can piece the entire story together if you pay attention, but to get all the subtleties you will need to watch it more than once.

The interviews start, and you’re still convinced that this is a Disney cartoon made by a small budget studio. Then the singing starts. The first song is a crayon version of Julie Andrews in sound of music.  You’re still fairly sure what you’ve gotten yourself into, and that’ll be the last time you question whether this movie is dodgy.  After this, the musical numbers include a yodelling goat, a singing bunny and The “Schnitzel on a Stick Song” You have to see, well, hear  them to truly appreciate the full extent of the dodginess.

Vignettes abound, including homages to the great dodgy movies XXX and The Matrix.  There is also a group of singing porcupines dressed as The Village People, which is really just icing on top of the goodies. Ultimately, the mystery is resolved and the story ends happily for everyone that you care about, despite the fact that Kirk ends up in “Der Happy Yodelers”, but it makes him happy, even though yodelling has been outlawed by the Geneva Convention as a cruel and unusual punishment.

Cartoons don’t normally qualify for more than a 4 on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scale as a certain level of dodginess is expected. Hoodwinked, however, manages a well deserved 5. It’s hard to pinpoint the moment that pushes this movie up to the maximum rating. The schnitzel song and yodelling goat, the “battle of the iron cage gladiators” champion granny as well as the squirrel after being fed caffeine could compete for that privilege. However, the Broadway-esque musical number in which the Bunny’s plan is revealed, complete with choreography by the evil henchman, including Jazz Hands, pushes it over the edge.

I bought this one having only watched the trailer, and my faith was well rewarded. Every time I watch it I find something to appreciate, and it isn’t always something new. Even the musical numbers grow on you after a while, and for that, this one gets a 5 Mutant Smileys for rewatchability.

The most memorable quote was almost a tough choice, with gems like “Oh good, More singing” and “Use the hood Red, Use the hood.” But it wasn’t even close once the bunny started dishing out commands. “Keith, darnit change your name.. Please.. That’s not scary and I’m embarrassed to say it. Boris, try that. Keith, you know, oh watch out for Keith.” We all know the importance of scary henchman names, and this spells it out in flashing neon letters.

You won’t get the  slick, polished visual smorgasboard that you experience in the newer Pixar films, given that Hoodwinked had a far smaller budget. However, the script carries this one, and the animation is more than watchable, making this one a must buy for everyone.

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