Berberian Sound Studio Tonia Sotiropoulou, Toby Jones, Susanna Cappellaro, Cosimo Fusco, Suzy Kendall,Berberian Sound Studio: A mild-mannered sound designer / foley artist is hired to work on an Italian Giallo (B-move slasher) film – and goes a bit mad in the process. The director is clearly fixated on the mechanics of period cinema: there’s a lot of shots of spinning reels, needles, gauges, readings, dials, etc. This is interesting for about 2 minutes. Then there’s the foley work where you see how everyday objects make unlikely sounds. This is interesting for about 10 minutes (tops!). If only the director had been so fascinated by things like plot, dialogue, editing, and entertainment – all of which are categorically absent from this. It feels like a 10 minute short stuffed to breaking point with so much pointless filler. It keeps cutting to a ‘Silence!’ sign – for no reason. There are lingering close ups of rotten vegetables – for no reason. There’s a tantalisingly sexy Italian receptionist – for no reason. Finally, for a movie about movie sound, the sound mix is laughable – quiet LOUD quiet LOUD and some generically eerie scratching / screetching for dramatic effect. This 100% feels more like an art/pet project than a legitimate movie. Schmerschmerian Schmoud Schmudio. Bleurgh.

Score: 1/10

BASEketball Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Dian Bachar, Yasmine Bleeth, Jenny McCarthy, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Vaughn, Trevor Einhorn, Reggie Jackson, Robert Stack,

BASEketball: Two childhood friends create a new sport called BASEketball, but have to ensure that corporate sponsors don’t ruin the league. This film is as funny as they come – everything from college humour, gross-outs, slapstick, sports and normal gags; every scene is crammed with throwaway jokes, both in the script and in the background – it’s truly a gag-a-minute. From the director of Airplane!, The Naked Gun, and writer of Kentucky Fried Movie – you would expect no less. It’s got a surprisingly high budget too; no expenses spared with sets, extras, and an impressive comedy cast. There are a couple of small issues – notably that it’s very American, with lots of US-based gags, stars and parodies that don’t export well. it’s also quite clean and timid, given that it stars the creators of South Park and several playboy playmates – you feel that someone was deliberately keeping this reasonably clean. Having watched this over 20 times as a kid, it’s still as enjoyable as an adult. BASEketball is one of my comedy benchmarks, with more laughs and gags per scene than any modern comedy could even dream about.

Score: 9/10

BASEketball League Teams
Milwaukee Beers
Dallas Felons
Miami Dealers
New Jersey Informants
San Francisco Ferries
Roswell Aliens
L.A. Riots
San Antonio Defenders
Detroit Lemons

JAPANORAMA - Seven Monkey BANNER JAPAN-O-RAMA.jpgR100 Review Movie Film Nao Ōmori, Shinobu Terajima, Hitoshi Matsumoto, Ai Tominaga, Eriko Sato, Naomi Watanabe, You, Suzuki Matsuo, Atsuro Watabe, Gin Maeda R100: A quiet salaryman in Japan signs up for a year-long mysterious bondage contract with only one rule – you cannot cancel it. First thing you’ll notice is that this looks weird; the colours aren’t far off black and white and there’s a full-on noir aesthetic (clothes, props, etc). The next strange aspect is the editing: for no reason whatsoever the film keeps ‘stopping’ and cutting to some test viewers trying to figure bits out; and for no reason it dips in to ‘interview’ / ‘documentary’ formats – both tactics demolish the flow of the story. For a whacky, kinky S&M / Bondage comedy… there’s simply not enough laughs, one or two at most, which is unforgivable as a story like this has so, so, so much potential. Overall, R100 is far, FAR too eclectic and random for its own good; but instead of being cult, it’s TRYING to be cult, and falls short, landing up as more ‘rubbish’ than weird, even by Japanese standards.

Score: 2.5/10

Sabotage Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams, Mireille Enos, Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway, Harold Perrineau, Martin Donovan

Sabotage: a D.E.A. legend and his off-the-rails team of undercover NARCs are being hunted down by a cartel for skimming off $10M of the gang’s money in a recent raid. I know, I know, this one’s never going to win any awards – but in a world where studios are pussying out of 18-rated movies right, left, and center this is like a breath of fresh (or rotten) air. A dark, violent, dingy film that harks back to the 70s-90s cop films that had plenty of grit and edge. From the writer of Training Day, Street Kings and End of Watch you know you’re in good hands here. Machismo’d to the rafters, there’s a whole lot of big-dick swinging, heavy swearing, ‘cop banter’ – and the women in here are strippers, ‘sluts’ or a general nuisances to the lads. The story’s not as black-and-white as it first seems, and neither are the characters – as the film balances both intense action scenes with a well-crafted thriller storyline. You either love these sort of films, or you hate ‘em; and for me, Sabotage is a decent, violent cop film with a rock-solid ensemble cast and an interesting enough story to keep you tuned in.

Score: 7/10

Irreversible Tunnel Rape Scene Monica BelluciThink of the most powerful movie scenes you can remember? The scenes that shocked and grabbed you. The moments that punched you in the gut. The takes that made you fall in love with Cinema. My guess is that they’re not from a kids film?!?!? For me, there’s something more raw, powerful and hard-hitting about the scenes and themes in 18-rated film that lesser certificates fail to match. Despite this, it feels like there are almost no 18-rated movies being released in the UK any more.

In Britain we have the following certificates for cinema-screened movies, issued by the BBFC (British Board Film Classification)

U: Universal – everyone can watch
PG: Parental Guidance
12A: Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult
15: Fifteen years and older
18: Eighteen years and older

The Exorcist Regan Head TurnBetween 2003 and 2013 the number of films released in UK cinemas jumped from 587 to 994; a raise of 59%. U-rated films went from 60 (10% of all films) to 127 (13%), 12A went from 153 (26%) to 321 (33%) yet the number of 18-rated films has gone from 56 (9.5%) to 68 (6.8%). Of the 28 UK box office number 1 movies this year so far, only one – The Wolf of Wall Street – was an 18; and the last 18 before then was Dredd back in September 2012.

Fargo WoodchipperIn reality, most of what comes out would be broadly categorized as either kids/family films (PG/U), teen/comedy films (12A), and thriller/horror films (15-18). Despite this, distributors seem hell-bent on cutting 18s down to 15s, 15s down to 12As, and 12As down to PG. It’s frustrating because you pay good money to see a film that’s been censored by the distributors to maximize the bums on seats – but the studios release the DVD as the higher certificate anyway.

Battle Royale Suicide Pact Poison FoodMost notoriously, The Hunger Games dropped 7 seconds of ‘gore’ to limbo under the 12A bar. Doesn’t sound bad? Think how much more powerful it would have been with a little bit of blood or some realistic swearing in there! I zoned out of the ‘fighting’, as you saw someone hack into an opponent, and raise their weapon which was clean and shiny. Rubbish! Sure, it didn’t have to be another full-blown Battle Royale, but don’t sanitise it this much – at the end of the day, it’s kids killing kids!

Die hard Dead Henchman ho ho ho now I have a machine gunA Good Day to Die Hard was another movie that was intentionally cut from a 15 to a 12A – by removing some violence and swearing. This is a franchise that started life as a genre-topping hard-18 action thriller, which has been diluted down to a family-friendly romp. You know what I say to that? “if you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem. Quit being a part of the fucking problem!!”

These films aren’t alone – Jack Reacher lost some violence to drop from a 15 to a 12A. Woman in Black was a 15 that got trimmed down to a 12. Robocop & Total Recall, both originally ultra-gory 18s were re-made as 12As. Machete was an 18, Machete Kills – 15… I’m sure you get my drift

Dawn of the Dead iconic zombieBut it’s not all bad news. Nebraska last year should have been a 12A, but for the term C*cksucker being deliberately left in by the director – Alexander Payne, step up and receive your bravery medal. And then there’s Airplane! A film that has been a PG for over 20 years, but was recently has been uppded to a 12A for the sexual references – I guess I picked the wrong day to look up film certificates.

Where did all the brash, bold, action-packed, risqué, sexy, and ballsy film-making go? And why the fudge are the Jackass Movies all rated 18?!?!?!?!

Advice to aspiring (movie) bloggers.

For any readers thinking ‘this site is rubbish‘, ‘this guy knows nothing’, or ‘I’ve got loads of time to burn’, you may want to consider starting your own blog. The bottom line is that on WordPress it takes about 2 minutes, and it’s a brilliant way of making yourself feel important – “Yah, I run a Film Review website in my spare time, yah”. But before you dive at the deep end in – STOP! Think about the following…

TIme Lola Rennt Run LolaDo you have enough spare time? Writing, re-writing, editing, pictures, and posting takes longer than you’d think, but that’s only the first part. You should also be reading, linking, and commenting on similar sites. Movie bloggers should join the LAMB, participate in Blogathons, and after a while start your own blogathons… If you’re wanting a decent level of traffic and interaction, you have to invest a lot of time.

So you’ve convinced yourself you want to be a blogger? Before you register, the next two things will be the biggest factors in your blog’s future; so don’t rush them.

Heisenberg Say my name

It’s all in the name: ideally you want a unique and self-explanatory website title, with a matching URL. It also has to be memorable enough that fleeting visitors will be able to recall it and search for your site again. For me having “Film Reviews” in the title and URL works because it’s on several places in every page, which makes for some good SEO.

What’s your niche? Short articles? Long essays? Detailed analysis? Humour? Technical? Industry insider? Genre specific? Debate? A single country’s or region’s cinema? Pick a pigeonhole and stick to it. In my opinion, there are too many broad film review sites, all busting out generally similar reviews of the same films at the same time – the “one stop shop” market is packed. Pick a niche and fill the vacuum.

Once you’ve registered, here’s some more general advice gleaned from years with my nose stuck in the WP dashboard.

You’ve heard the hyperbolic cliché a bajillion times before; but content really is king. It’s your site: should be your content. There’s no point in regurgitating or aggregating stories & content from established movie news sites like IMDB / empire / SlashFilm… who themselves are constantly scanning studio, production and industry sites. Original articles, ideas, features, opinions and reviews will be why people tune in again and again.

Patience Baseball Great Escape

Be patient. Don’t worry about your first few months; unless you can log some serious hours it will take a while to find your stride, hone your own style and work out how to best layout your website, widgets and articles themselves. It can take years for your stats to truly snowball, and for your site to build up a loyal readership & subscribers.

Be critical, keep reading/re-reading your articles – looking for mistakes, and areas of improvement. Comb through your stats and find out what’s driving people to your site, and what else is keeping them there. It could be a particular franchise, actor, or catchphrase – once you know, write more about it.

Be honest; a lot of movie reviewers seem to ‘go with the flow’ and mark a film depending on how it’s generally received. Don’t worry about being the stick in the mud, tell it like you see it and readers will genuinely respect you more, comment more, read more…

Cinema Paradiso - Watch

Watch a film just before you review it: remember how awesome you thought a film was when you were ten years old, drunk or stoned? (You’re a legend if it’s all three) Watch it again to make sure it’s still good and funny!

Review the movie, don’t re-tell the entire plot. This is easily the biggest and most infuriating mistake of many ‘review’ sites – a sentence or two should cover the plot, any more and you’re probably in spoiler territory. If you write a couple of paragraphs about the story, you’re being a dick.

Use the wider WordPress community. As mentioned above, join an index site like the LAMB and participate in as much as you can. Seek out similar, but larger and more successful sites and leave meaningful comments & links there – don’t spam the same comment on every article about a particular topic.

Posting semi-regularly; is far better than bunching reviews together. Start aiming for 2-3 posts a week to keep people interested and coming back to your site. The ‘schedule’ feature in WP is great, use and abuse it!

Pictures - Bean Whistlers Mother

Pictures help: I went several years with no pictures, thinking short reviews were snappy enough. Now the site looks a lot slicker, and hits from image-specific search engines make up around 30% of all incoming traffic. Some pictures have more hits than the actual review of that movie.

Finally, some advice from one of Britain’s top film critics. The spectacularly quiffed Mark Kermode – as pointed out in his book The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex – lists five essential components to proper for any movie criticism (which applies to all writing)

  1. Opinion
  2. Description
  3. Contextualisation
  4. Analysis
  5. Entertainment.

Kermode The Good The Bad The Multiplex

keep-calm-and-get-to-the-choppa-49Most importantly, ENJOY BLOGGING This should be a fun hobby, not a chore. If you ever feel like you’re beginning to loathe writing, GET TO ZE CHOPPA and escape before it’s too late! It’s worth taking some time off to clear your head and put some good content together if you hit the wall.

If you’ve been mulling it over for a long time, the best advice I can give you is to start as soon as you can; you’ll wish you’d done it years ago.

Archer is one of those great shows where the more you watch, and re-watch it, the more you appreciate and pick up on the obscure and flat moments that you didn’t ‘get’ first time round. Here’s another list of even more recurring jokes that you’ll find in TVs greatest adult cartoon.

Kenny Loggins Archer KLOG Danger ZoneKenny Loggins / Danger Zone – this fan favourite appears time and time again; mostly when a perilous mission is being described, or Lana’s feelings for Archer surface. Going beyond bad (and country) renditions of the 80s pop classic, it comes to a head in an episode where ‘K-LOG’ is the central storyline, but it all becomes a bit self-indulgent. Personal favourite. “I will hire Kenny Loggins to come here and play an acoustic set, while I slap some sense in to you”.

Archer Phrasing BoomBoom… Phrasing – essentially the “that’s what she said”, of the show. Every time someone says anything that has even a fraction of innuendo (pretty much every second line) someone will inevitably shout phrasing – BOOM! Dropped in Season Five, as it was getting a bit too obvious when they were appearing. Favourite: Other Barry calling Phrasing on Barry “So tell Archer I’m coming for him, phrasing, boom, and both Barrys out! “

Archer Smut re-heat a chilliSmut – it’s far raunchier than most cartoons, and the cast doesn’t hold back with the x-rated running gags. There’s everything from inappropriate boners (favourite: “I love that I have an erection, that didn’t involve homeless people” – Kreiger), to arousal descriptions (favourite: “I swear to god you could drown a toddler in my panties right now” – Pam) and even the blackest of taboo, as Archer gets a stiffy at the thought of his dead mother – it’s wrong on soooooo many levels. Cheryl/Carol is also a one woman choke-fetish gag factory.

Archer Tinitus MAP MOP mahp finger ear rip rileyTinnitus – every time there’s an explosion, or a grenade / gun goes off next to someone’s ear the aftermath is undoubtedly peppered with the affected character poking their ear(s) and shouting “Maaahhh” “Mahp”. Favourite: when Archer tries to bazooka the ISIS Armory Requisitions officer Rodney – it doesn’t end well.

Archer Woodhouse Ants Itchy Heroin Addict Spiders Webs Sandpaper Boil an egg cold turkeyWoodhouse – Archer’s long-suffering live-in man-servant is a great minor-character. For no reason whatsoever he is a heroin addict, WWII hero (arguably the original rampager) that collected Nazi scalps – he is also absolutely bursting with gay innuendo and British stereotypes. This is best displayed in the Tontine episode (“The Double Deuce”). Favourite, when Woodhouse learns what his fellow soldier naming his aeroplane “Choke and Stroke” really meant.

Archer Brett Buckley Bunsen Bloodmobil Ricochet Magic Bullet Blood Friendly FireBret Bunsen/Buckley – being a spy agency, every so often a gun will go off in the ISIS offices, and unfortunately mild-mannered clerk Brett usually ends up with a slug in him. Last count I did was six times – although I’m sure it’s probably higher. Season Five opens with Bret’s funeral – “he died doing what he loved – getting shot”. He also got the nickname “Mr Bloodmobile” because he lost so much blood, without ever bleeding out.

Archer Lana Kane Sterling Animal Farm Novella Allegorical BookGrammar Nazi / Literary References ­– for a racy, adult style comedy one of the best, and most subtle, recurring jokes is that Archer is a complete book-and-grammar pedant;
– to whom,
– can’t or won’t
– literally and figuratively
– Irony lessons

Favourite: on being told that Animal Farm is a book “No, it’s not Lana. It’s an allegorical novella about Stalinism by George Orwell, and spoiler alert, it sucks”

Archer I can't hear you giant throbbing erection awesomeness me punching you in the faceCouldn’t hear you – even when you can clearly hear someone, it’s not uncommon for agents to bait each other by saying I Couldn’t hear you over the sound of… “… my giant throbbing erection”, “… me breaking your nose”, “… how awesome I am”, Favourite, the one time someone says “I can’t hear you over the sound of.. I genuinely couldn’t hear you” was so unexpected that I snorted.

Archer_WooWoooooooh! – any time Archer partakes in some high-adrenaline activity (or enters the Danger Zone) he will end up running into enemy fire laughing or shouting Wooooh.. Favourite: “he broke both of Wu’s arms; while shouting Wooo!”

LINK TO THE FIRST NINE BRILLIANT RUNNING JOKES!

And for anyone that doesn’t like Archer…. THIS

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