rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

11-4-2006 (archived)

My expectations on seeing “Hostel” were not high, partly from word of mouth and partly because any film which feels the needs to promote itself with lies is probably struggling. In this case, the sin is pushing the involvement of Quentin Tarantino, who as an executive producer has probably seen the movie, but not a lot else.

It's not that bad, I suppose. It has gore, it has nudity, it has comedy (particularly through Eythor Gudjonsson). What it doesn't have, apart from the aforementioned and non-central Icelander, is any character we like at all. Indeed, our central heroes are a pair of whiny American brats so ill-mannered and self-centered that I was positively eager for them to be dissected in various cruel and unusual ways. Hey ho. Not a bad goreflick, but if I'd paid actual money for it I wouldn't have felt well served.

14-4-2006 (archived)

It's not all that often that a film sets out to serve two purposes; “Alien Autopsy” sets out both to make us laugh and to serve as Santilli's own admission that the other Alien Autopsy was, well, faked. As if we didn't know. In a prime cake-eating moment, though, he's also trying to persuade us that he really did have actual autopsy footage too. Hey ho.

None of this would matter if the film were any good, but in fact it's no more than adequate. “TV's Ant and Dec”, as I shall call them, are not actors, not capable of decent comic acting, and not particularly funny anyway, and the genuinely funny people in the film (notably Omid Djalili) are badly underused. There was potential here, and it was mostly missed.

There will be a brief interruption of service for Easter; do not pine, back some time next week.

24-4-2006 (archived)

Refreshed by a few days off from working and writing, and a surprisingly easy 120kg bench, we now return you to the usual diet of intemperate political whinging and slapdash film reviews. We apologise for the periodic server downtime, which is neither our fault nor that of our host, but rather is entirely due to the well-known fact that BT are a bunch of startlingly inept bastards.

Speaking of which, “Ice Age 2: The Meltdown” is another pretty good cartoon, like so many recent efforts thrilled by the contemporary ability to render fur convincingly, and like many the good bits are not the bulk of the film - indeed, in both respects, it is much like a better Madagascar. Here the role of the monkeys is, effectively, taken by Scrat the sabre-toothed squirrel, and while his role is far bigger than it was in the first film, it's still not nearly big enough. Still, he's spread out in little scene-connecting vignettes between the rest of the movie proper, and makes up for the fact that much of that movie is rather flat and saccharine. Worth seeing, but the next film should just be half an hour about the squirrel.

27-4-2006 (archived)

Yesterday on the Today Programme I heard a trail for an item on this research, which said the researcher had claimed a link between speeding and accident risk. Now, maybe he cleared it up in the actual item - I didn't hear it, and I can't find anything on their site - and the page linked doesn't claim it - but it's pretty obvious to anyone paying attention that they've shown nothing of the sort.

What they have shown is a strong correlation between being caught by speed cameras and having an accident. Nobody, least of all me, doubts that driving too fast will increase accident risk - indeed, that's almost what “too fast” means - and I've always said that anyone paying insufficient attention to notice a speed camera, given how conspicuous they are, certainly is driving too fast for the conditions and their condition. It doesn't follow that breaking the speed limit is intrinsically dangerous. Hey ho.

29-4-2006 (archived)

I have a long-standing and continuing fascination with the Antarctic, intensified recently by reading Sara Wheeler's two outstanding books and Cherry's own classic, as well as Kim Stanley Robinson's superb fiction. This, then, is horrifying.

1-5-2006 (archived)

Apparently “American Dreamz” has offended many Americans, though its satire seems frankly tame to any other audience; that the president is an idiot run by his staff is a fish in a barrel for the rest of the world. Add to that the fact that I do not watch and have never watched Pop Idol or its derivatives, and satire is not going to sell me this picture. Fortunately, it's very funny.

There's a certain amount of effective physical comedy going on here, but the core of the movie is another extraordinary performance from Hugh Grant, who has completely mastered the art of playing hugely likeable English bastards and being tremendously funny in the process. The single biggest belly-laugh in the whole film is produced by Grant, moving only his eyes. Genius.

This is not a movie for the ages, but it is, as the lidbert so accurately had it, piss funny.

4-5-2006 (archived)

16 Blocks” is another film carried by extremely effective performances, charismatically (this word not in the dictionary, but do I care? I do not) from Willis, who seems to be getting old with extraordinary grace, and gratingly from Def, with a high-pitched lisp that had me wishing somebody would shoot him. There's a good deal of tension, and a sin-and-redemption theme carried on the back of very few words from Willis (and a torrent from Def). It's all a long way from the motormouthed David Addison.

6-5-2006 (archived)

A friend of mine has been admiring one of my ties, so I decided, despite the pain I'm in from lifting a little too enthusiastically yesterday, to make a trip and get him one. Of course they've not got them any more.

Personal bests good. Tweaked back muscles, less good. And so it goes. Time for a rest week, I think.

8-5-2006 (archived)

Slither” is a silly B-horror, and does well enough at its chosen task; it has Nathan Fillion being funny and star-like (though not quite as much of either as he can when Whedon's feeding him lines), a good, funny, gross-out monster, some decent jokes, some pretty girls, and the occasional nipple. As self-mocking post-double-feature B-movies go, it's a pretty good one, but it isn't, y'know, Tremors.

11-5-2006 (archived)

Mission: Impossible 3” does pretty much exactly what you'd expect. Cruise gives the usual effective performance, and many things go boom in fun-filled ways. Michelle Monaghan is lovely, and Simon Pegg provides an unexpected and very, very funny scene-stealing bonus. Shit, of course, undoubtably, but shiny shit.