Posts Tagged ‘Avoid at all costs’

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.

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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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.

Elektra

How difficult is it to make a superhero movie with a female superhero as the lead. Based on the results of such epic failures as Catwoman, Aeon Flux and now Elektra, I would have to infer that it’s more complicated than it seems.

You have all the elements for a great film. Simple plot, check, hot female lead, check, excuse to make hot female lead parade around in revealing skintight outfits, check (you really have to give it to the comic book writers, they knew their target audience), hot female lead in kickass fight scenes and winning, check, character development, check. Oops, hang on a second, that seems to be the common problem. Character development has no place in a superhero film. If we wanted character development we’d watch Definitely, Maybe or Meet Joe Black or some other equally disastrous excuse for a film.

I think I may have figured it out. The movie executives take the original script home to peruse, and it’s awesome, fight scenes, explosions, skin tight leather. Then their wives get hold of it and start going on about how it’s exploitation and sexist and the only way for the executives to hit the nag-mute button is to agree to put in character development, instead of saying “We’ll make this script and I can use all the money we get from it to pay for your next round of cosmetic surgery and buy that house on the ski slopes!”

What little I remember of this film does not bear examining in great detail, mainly because it sucked so much. I feel it would be an insult to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to actually rate Elektra, so it gets the AntiNike. As far as the dodgiest moment in the film, it would have to be the promise of the opening sequence. This scene showed Elektra in the skintight outfit killing people for money. This got us all excited. From there we got into plot and character development which can be summarised as follows. Character development = Jennifer Garner crying. Plot = Reasons for Jennifer Garner to start crying.

Instead of a comment on the rewatchability, I thought I’d include a visual warning.

The only memorable thing about Elektra is Jennifer Garner crying.   Maybe the reason for this is that the brain is forced to shut down out of self defence and forget everything about the movie, except for Jennifer Garner crying, which you remember only because you get exposed to it so often. Hopefully you remember that so that you can avoid films with her in them because you know they’ll only end in tears, generally hers, but occasionally yours.

One of these days, I’ll learn that it is not possible to make a good superhero film with a female lead. Until then, however, I will maintain an air of optimism and watch more in the hope that someday someone realises just how to do it. And when that day comes, I’ll be ready, and you’ll all find out about it quickly enough.

Ooh Shiny
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