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Rocky Horror Picture Show

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Last week we watched the episode of Glee which featured the cast performing songs from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It made me want to watch the film again, which we did last night. I have mentioned in the past that I'm not a fan of musicals but the Rocky Horror Picture Show is one exception. The less said about the sequel, Shock Treatment,the better.

I got our old VHS video recorder set up so we could watch the old tape of Shock Treatment, just to remind myself how bad it is compared to RHPS. The songs are very lacklustre (apart from Bitchin' in the Kitchen), and the story (mainly a parody on TV taking over society) isn't as interesting. The film is trying too hard to be quirky and could really do with a strong character such as Frank-N-Furter.

My 'first impression' of the film was that it felt like someone trying to make a bad musical but that might be a little harsh. The film completely lacks the 'fun' element which made Rocky Horror great.

Some Recent Films

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We received a Showcase Cinema gift card for Christmas which means we've been going to the cinema quite a lot recently. Some films we have seen include:

  • The Black Swan - A strange film which tries to confuse the viewer by blurring the line between reality and delusion. It might benefit from a second viewing to help clear things up but while the film was ok, I don't feel any great desire to watch it again. There was rather too much wobbly camerawork for my liking, not as much as Cloverfield but it still made my eyes tired watching it.

  • The Kings Speech - I thought I was going to like this film a bit but it was much better than I was expecting. The acting, writing and camerawork were all first class. I also didn't realise we had an Archbishop of Canterbury called Cosmo.

  • Tron: Legacy - We saw the mostly-3D version of this film. I liked the original and the new film is an adequate sequel. I did like the 80's style synth-pop soundtrack which fitted the film very well.

  • The Way Back - This was a highly fictionalised account of prisoners escaping from a Siberian prison camp and making their way mountains and desert to freedom in India. Despite the film being very slow in parts it managed maintain interest by building up a good atmosphere.

  • Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader - I was disappointed by the Prince Caspian film, which dispensed with most of the story and concentrated on a Lord of the Rings style battle sequence. Dawn Treader is a much better film and is a more faithful version of the book.

  • Next 3 Days - This was a special preview showing we went to in Nuneaton. The film was quite good, mainly dealing with planning a jailbreak and subsequent escape.

Avatar: A 2.5 hour long Roger Dean album cover

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Yesterday we rented a few DVDs, including Avatar. I am currently in the middle of watching the film but here are a thoughts so far.

  • Visually impressive but a lot of it looks like an animated Roger Dean album cover. There are strange shaped rock formations including floating rocks, and flying creatures with marbled multicoloured skin. Some of the designs are almost carbon copies of album art from the 70s.
  • Stunningly unoriginal and highly predictable storyline.
  • Amazingly one-dimensional clichéd characters, including the moron military types who only exist to boss scientists around, and the corporate suit who was lifted straight out of Aliens.

So far then, I'm not impressed. The 'white people bad, blue people good' theme is a bit heavy-handed and gets a bit tiresome at times. I hope the film gets better.

Two hours into the film and I wish they'd hurry things up a bit. The music is getting a bit annoying with its all-too-obvious attempt to manipulate the audience.

I'm glad I didn't pay a fortune to see it in the cinema. We managed to rent 4 DVDs for the cost of 2 of us watching one film at the cinema.

And oh my god, those flying lizard things really have been ripped off Roger Dean artwork. I can't see them without thinking that now. They look much too similar to just be coincidence.

I think the film must nearly be over now. Big battle, lots of explosions, evil white people shooting at those poor blue people who are only trying to defend their way of life... etc... etc...

Final chiché: decisive fight at the end... no surprise who wins.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

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Just a quick post - I didn't realise that it had been 10 days since I last posted anything.

We went to see the latest Harry Potter film tonight. The films are definitely getting better further into the series. This is probably because the later books became darker and less childish and the films are reflecting this. I liked the film - it's been ages since I read the book so although I could remember the basic plot-line I couldn't remember all the individual scenes, so I can't comment on whether anything was changed or left out.

Return of the Jedi

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It may come as a bit of a surprise but I'd never seen this film before. We taped it when it was on TV a few weeks ago and finally got around to watching it today. I tried to watch it once before, many years ago. I rented it from a video library and started watching it. I found the opening few minutes to be excruciatingly boring and decided that I would rather be outside on such a sunny day instead. The video went back to the shop unwatched.

Since today was cold and wintry, I had no such distractions. I still found the start to be very slow and boring. The rest of the film was more like a second rate kids fantasy film, rather than a sequel to the first two films. The alien costumes looked more like something from a low budget TV series. The acting was very poor as were most of the special effects. One the whole I found the film to be very disappointing.

Crappy Films

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Watching crappy films on TV is something of a Christmas tradition. Yesterday we watched the last of the Friends box set, so we're reduced to watching whatever films are on.

Right now, High School Musical is on TV. It's surprisingly bad, worse than I was expecting. I was expecting some level of naff cheesiness but I wasn't prepared for the painfully whiny singing voices and the really bad lip-syncing.

Other film's we've watched include:

  • Elf. This was the first Christmas film we saw this year. It had some good moments but on the whole it wasn't as funny as it thought it was.
  • Oliver Twist. There has to be at least one version of a Dickens story at Christmas. This was the 2005 film version.
  • Alien Autopsy. The Ant and Dec film based on the hoax alien autopsy footage. It would have benefited from more Harry Dean Stanton and less Ant and Dec.

Recently watched films

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We've seen a few films recently which were highly regarded by either critics or the Oscars:

There Will be Blood
No Country for Old Men
Brokeback Mountain.

They all fell into the 'well photographed but rather slow' category.

There Will be Blood started off rather strangely. No dialogue for the first part of the film, with eerie music which reminded me of the 'moon monolith' sequence of 2001. The oil rig fire sequence was visually spectacular. The ending was a bit odd.

No Country for Old Men looked like it would be a more straightforward film, with a more of an actual story. It was well acted, with Tommy Lee Jones settling into a similar role to the one he played in "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada". The ending was somewhat unexpected.

Brokeback Mountain wasn't an easy film to watch. Not really because of the homosexuality, but due to the amount of mumbling which made it difficult to hear what people were saying.

Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street

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I'm not a big fan of musicals, but we went to watch this anyway. It hasn't changed my views on musicals.

I didn't find the songs very memorable. Johnny Depp's singing sometimes sounded a bit like David Bowie. The actual story was ok - I think I'd have preferred it as a 'normal' film.

When I got home, I decided to check the Movies application on Facebook to see if any friends had reviewed it. I mis-spelt the name, missing out the final 'e'. The list of 'near matches' for the titles was bizarre to say the least.

Facebook Movies application fails to find a match for a mis-spelt sweeney todd

All Night Film Show

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There was an all-night film show at Warwick University last night/this morning. There were 6 films being shown, but we only stayed for 5 of them. We'd been awake 24 hours and were starting to get a bit tired. The final film was Jaws, which we'd seen before so we weren't missing anything important. It's a good film but I was probably to tired to properly appreciate it.

  • First film was 'I am Legend' - based on the same book as 'The Omega Man'. Quite a good film, better than most moronic blockbuster type films. Interesting twist to the ending, which I wasn't expecting.
  • Next was 'Shoot Em Up. I hadn't heard of this film. It turned out to be a violent comedy, kind of spoofing the gunfight/action genre films. It was an unexpected treat.
  • The third film was 'Ratatouille'. We'd seen this before - it was still funny second time around.
  • The AllNighter film shows always have a mystery film, the identity is kept secret until the showing. This time it was 'Ghostbusters'. A fairly 'safe' choice, but I suppose it makes sense to choose something most people will like. I've seen it lots of times before so it doesn't really matter that I missed half by drifting in and out of sleep.
  • The last film we watched was 'Superbad'. I didn't know what to expect with this one. It has an awful title, which would normally make me want to avoid such a film, but it's had some good reviews. The first half of the film was mostly terrible, mainly down to the characters being so annoying. The script was very wordy, and every other word seemed to be f**k. The film got better about half way through and there were some really funny moments.

It was starting to get light when we left.

A Convenient Coincidence

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We were watching An Inconvenient Truth on DVD. Today's Dilbert cartoon seemed remarkable appropriate:

Dilbert Cartoon

Simpsons: The Movie

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I want to eat at the Zesty Fork restaurant. I've seen the advert for it a dozen or more times. It's there every time a newspaper or magazine reviews or discusses the film.

The sign is only on screen for a fraction of a second - one of many "blink and you'll miss it" jokes in the film.

The writers probably worked hard coming up with some scenes or clever in-jokes. Unfortunately for them, the bit most people will remember is Homer holding the pig up to the ceiling, singing Spider-pig Spider-pig, does whatever a Spider-pig does....
The Zesty Fork Restaurant, near Springfield

Shrek the 3rd

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We were surprised at the length of the queue when we got to the cinema. I expect a lot of people were taking advantage of the Orange Wednesday offer where you get 2 tickets for the price of 1 using an Orange mobile phone, but the queue was still ridiculous. It was certainly the longest I've ever seen at the Skydome, curving and snaking around the foyer until it was almost in the car park. It took us about 40 minutes to get to the front and buy our tickets.

It wasn't too busy in the film itself - I don't know what films everyone else was watching but thankfully they weren't all in with us.

The film itself has had some fairly indifferent reviews but I don't think it really deserved them. The humour might not be so original any more but the film was still funny. It took a while to really get started though but it got quite funny towards the end, and if a film ends well then you tend to think of it as a better film. I think that's what earned Casablanca its classic status anyway. The 3rd Shrek film certainly isn't a classic but it's funny and worth watching.

Pirates of the Caribbean 3

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I don't really have time for a full review but it was a good film despite its 3 hour running time. I had to nip out at the start because we forgot to validate our parking on the way in and we didn't know if there would be anyone at the desk on our way out.

The film was a good balance of comedy, surreal and serious (well as serious as a supernatural pirate caper can be). The visual style was more impressive than the previous ones with some impressively shot sequences, such as when the Black Pearl was in the middle of the salt flats. The sequence which followed was like a bizarre version of Fitzcarraldo.

I don't usually review trailers but the film was preceded by the trailer for the Transformers film. It was like a psychotic version of the Citroen advert where the car turns into an ice skater. I know the advert borrowed from the original Transformers idea but seeing a sequence from the film where a car/robot skates along, it was just too similar to the advert. We were also treated to the proud boast that it was a Michael Bay film. That's not a phrase to make me rush eagerly to the cinema.

Hot Fuzz

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This was an unusual film to open on Valentines Day, but I suppose it offered a bit more choice for people who didn't want to sit through some dreary rom-com. Simon Pegg is joined by his usual lardy side-kick Nick Frost, and a who's who of British acting (including Timothy Dalton, Bill Nighy, Steve Coogan, Bill Bailey, Jim Broadbent, Edward Woodward, Anne Reid, Billie Whitelaw).

At two hours, it was longer than the average comedy but managed to keep going without running out of steam. Very funny pretty much from start to finish. I lost count of the number of film references and spoof sequences, but a lot of them were quite subtle and were worked into the film quite well.

The Day after Tomorrow

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It might have been a mistake to watch this film in our cold non-centrally heated house, especially the 2nd half where the entire northern hemisphere is frozen over.

We had to bring our small fan heater downstairs so we got a gentle waft of warm air blowing over us during the film. Warmth shouldn't be a luxury in modern england but that's how it feels in our current house.

Back to the film - it's quite surprising that it actually got made when you realise that Fox was one of the production companies behind it. Global warming denier Dubya friendly Fox (although he's now changed his tune slightly since).

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