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Tag Archives: Moustaches

Argo: one of the CIA’s clandestine experts creates a ‘real’ fake movie as the perfect cover-up to bring home 6 diplomats stuck behind enemy lines. The most obvious thing about Argo is the phenomenally chosen cast, particularly from the TV sphere; people representing Braking Bad, 24, The Good Wife, etc – everyone is on great form, doing their parts for the movie. Arkin and Goodman in particular get many great lines, which helps maintain the delicate balance between the drama & peril, and a tongue-in-cheek – almost knockabout – look at Hollywood in the early 80s (with a loving streak of appreciation for Sci-Fi B-movies). On that note, the immaculate, uncompromising, period detail adds an unusually thick layer of authenticity to the story. The film’s book-ended by some ridiculously tense, well-directed, moments of a siege and the final throes of an escape. There are a few minor issues; it feels a little longer than it needed to be, some of the drama comes from contrived methods (like the old “run that through the system again” trick); also, although it’s not a ‘political’ film per se – but it reeks of AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!! Bottom line, Argo is a solid, balanced (if somewhat over-dramatised), political/historical thriller, held together by a superb cast. It also looks like Ben Affleck is fast becoming one of the best Actor’s Directors around.

Score: 7/10

Yamada – Way of the Samurai: (AKA The Samurai of Ayothaya): A betrayed Japanese samurai is nursed back to health by Thai villagers, and by fusing the national fighting techniques, becomes a great warrior. This has the hallmarks of a co-production between the two countries; great because it brings together the best / most famous aspects of both cultures, but feels a little back-patting at times. It features some brutal Muay Thai boxing… very realistic, impressive and visceral: they’re real champion Thai boxers. The bigger action set pieces are well-edited, but the CGI swords, blood, and other effects look cheap. In typical Thai style there’s a ‘musical’ feel to the soundtrack and national style of acting – young girl and underplayed love interest are most guilty of hamming it up. Being based on a historical figure, the story’s a little clunky, but the locations, sets and costumes all look great, and are captured well by the director. Yamada may not have the most gripping/original story, or best/most famous cast in the world, but there’s more than enough gorgeous Scenery and brutal Thai fighting skill for the film to fall back on and keep you watching for the duration.

Score: 5/10

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec: Based on the Jacques Tardi comic books, this follows a female adventurer in 1911 Paris who is traveling the world to find a cure for her comatose’d sister. With pterodactyls, mummies, bandits, hunters and a ton of other stuff, it’s all a bit crazy – landing as a PG adventure not a million miles from Indiana Jones / Jumanji / The Mummy etc… Louise Bourgoin is a great match for the quirky, strong, sexy, determined, action heroine, and to top it all of, out of nowhere… BOOM… nude bath scene (in a kids film!?!?). With Luc Besson behind the camera the film’s in good hands, it’s executed interestingly, but even he couldn’t put all of the randomness together seamlessly. It’s French, it’s crazy, and it’s quite an enjoyable adventure romp despite the absurdity.

Score: 6/10


The Lincoln Lawyer: follows a defense attorney that will represent any scumbag if the money’s right, but his latest case isn’t all it seems. First off, this is way, way better than the trailer makes the film look. Being based on a successful novel, the story’s rock solid, and stands up to the best court-based dramas out there at the moment (i.e. The Good Wife). There’s plenty interesting developments as the story moves forward. It’s also quite slick and really well made; the standout shot being the long revolving one in the courthouse. From out of nowhere McConaughey’s is excellent as a streetwise southern lawyer and Phillippe rises to the challenge with an equally believable performance. It’s a little slow in the 3rd quarter, and could have probably done without the last 15 minutes (everything after the major verdict) but hey ho, it still works well. Sack the casting director too; putting in two of the three most obvious latino typecasts working today. I was pleasantly surprised walking out of the cinema after this, well worth your time if you like your legal-flicks, topped off with a superb bluesy/R&B soundtrack.

Score: 7/10

Animal Kingdom: Mid-budget Australian crime film focuses on one family and their ongoing struggle against the Melbourne police department. Probably more at home on TV than the big screen, there’s a few misfires that lead this high-potential film astray. The single biggest mistake was that it could have been an epic story, but the director forces it down the arthouse route, and it just didn’t work for me. Other faux pas’ were that it focuses on the wrong characters, honing in on the most silent and blank-faced kid; the music was so distracting – terrible psychological synths turned up to 11 that ironically drown out any ambience; moreover, it’s to bleak, grim and nihilistic – making it a difficult story to watch. What saved this from obscurity was the fantastic cast, some of whom you completely invest in: the mother and eldest son are two of the most heinous characters you’ll see this year and you even end up rooting for the wayward brothers; although he’s good, the main actor is one of the weakest in the film. Fiercely over-hyped, and at almost two hours, Animal Kingdom is dragged out at a pace that cripples the movie and really fails to engage. While it’s not in the same league as Romper Stomper and Chopper it will have the same effect in bumping much of the little known actors up to a bigger stage.

Score: 3/10

Octopussy: When agent 009 gets killed holding a fake Faberge egg MI6 put their best spy on the case, which leads Bond to a plot involving an Indian Prince, crazy Russian general, some chick with eight vaginas, a circus, a nuclear bomb and prospect of WWIII (again).

Pleasuring Octopussy - You're doing it wrong!

It’s somewhat sad that the most memorable aspect of this film is it’s terrible stereotype – India is summarised by elephants, tigers, coal walkers, beardy wise men, snake charmers, motorised rickshaws, belly dancers, bed o’ nails men, and the one thing everyone must do when in India – a Tarzan swing complemented with the Oo-aa-oo-aa-ooo!!!! Not contempt with offending one nation we see a lovely German couple offer Bond some beer and wurst…

Turbon, Check. Beard, Check. Indian Musket... Check.

On the up-side, this film ties two of the staple evil schemes into one film: one is the tried and tested Cold War / WWIII / nuclear threat complete with the ticking time-bomb scenario; the other is an underground smuggling operation that Bond must smash to pieces.

Tick tock... looks strangely familiar

Women play in interesting role in Octopussy: Bond is bailed out by a female agent in the opening mini-mission, helped tremendously by Octopussy who’s quite the strong character (although wooed by James – obviously), there’s a whole island of empowered red-jumpsuited women (some also wooed by James – obviously). Things are finally looking up for the ladies!! Oh… wait…

Cutting edge technology means only one thing: cutting edge perversions.

… the unbelievable rapid camera zoom in and out of a lady’s cleavage!!! Seriously!? I wonder if women even have the right to vote yet in Bond’s parallel universe!?!

What's that rule about strangers and cars again... ?

Other footnotes are Bond’s suspiciously well-fitted waistcoat (stolen from a guy 1/2 his size), the crocodile stealth boat, awesome car on the train tracks scene, ridiculous British hot-air balloon, Bond straddling and sliding down a staircase towards a nut-buster, and yet another groan of the immortal “Ohhhh Jaaammeeesss”

Cheer up Roger, only one more film to go!

By this time, Moore had explicitly wanted to leave the role, and it’s safe to say that he’d done his time, however with Never Say Never Again (unofficial Thunderball remake starring Sean Connery) being released the same year – EON believed that an established Bond like Moore would be required to draw in as large a crowd as possible. Maud Adams also returns as another Bond Girl. No complaints from this guy though.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee - can't remember who's who

All-in, Octopussy’s probably one of the most lackluster films of the 22. Some aspects like the stereotyping, you want to forget straight away, other aspects like the Villains, Henchmen and action are so generic that they’re hard to remember.

Score: 3/10

Penelope Smallbone (left) was due to be Monneypenny's replacement... turns out the public preferred GILFs. Unfortunate.

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Kamal Khan & Soviet Madman – respectfully smart and mad but totally forgettable. 4
Henchmen: Beardy mental turbon Gobinda – Possibly posessed. Knife throwing brothers. Super metal yo-yo man. 4
Bond Girl: Anorexic chick with stupidly long hair / Octopussy with her 8 vaginas / Bianca at start! 7
Action: Mini-jet, spalstick moped chase, jungle hunt, bomb, car chase, airplane. 5

India's Yo-Yo champ!

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Machete: A betrayed Federale butchers his way through a corrupt syndicate to avenge the death of his wife and child. The full 105 minutes of Machete are just absolutely absurd, from the first fully naked chick pulling out her mobile to intestine misuse and seeing Seagal attempt a latino accent… The grindhouse / shock element is pretty cranked to parody / laughable; although the film relies more on CGI than the inventiveness and real gore that genuine b-movies usually would. In saying that, the action is sweet, bloody and OTT fun – although the editing makes it all seem a bit haphazard. A lot of the story rooted in both sides of a real immigration issue – albeit exaggerated. Action hall-of-famer Danny Trejo finally gets his shot at playing a lead, although the Machete character could be any of his memorable previous roles. Everyone else is effective but pretty forgettable, except for De Niro, whose career just seems to be irretrievable. For the gents in the cast the film’s about 10-20 years too late – there’s nothing really exciting about seeing a fat Seagal and out-of-shape Trejo trying to duel. The deliberately old and retro look and feel to the film works quite well, and Rodriguez is clearly a B-movie/exploitation fan, but with all the CGI – and big names – it does lose the certain appeal of real B-movies. For what it is, and what it’s supposed to be, Machete totally hits the mark. Tongue-in-cheek Mexploitation. Fun, entertaining, over-the-top schlock.

Score: 6.5/10