rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

14-5-2006 (archived)

Dear Orange,

You're starting to piss me off now.

There was a time when, had I been going to change telephone provider, I would have gone with you on principle. You're supporting cinema in Britain (and you do your promotion on a night I rarely go), and your adverts served a dual purpose by reminding us to turn off our 'phones just before the film started and being really funny.

Now, on very-much-related principle, I would go anywhere else.

I remember when they first appeared, these Orange Film Funding shorts. They were all funny the first time around. Over their two month life-cycle, they became a lot less funny (only the mobile meeting ad, “Hurt me, Gunter! Make me bleed!” stayed fresh). Now that you've repeated first the Swayze and now the Astin ads for all this extra time, they're not just tediously unfunny; they're actively infuriating. Make a new ad. Even if it's not very good.

You can really tell that Saturday night is amateur night. The Astin ad still got a laugh.

Also, and this is neither your fault nor a particularly original observation: why the shivering fuck are people blasting us with cinema adverts urging us to reject piracy and go to the cinema? We are the ones who are ALREADY THERE. Brainless shitweasels.

Thank you for your kind attention in this matter.

15-5-2006 (archived)

Last night the Lidbert took me to see Dylan Moran at the rather splendid Lowry. Unlike the design of that website, he was brilliant. I'm amazed at how scruffy people are at the theatre (this was true of the ballet we saw there, too). He really was good, though.

If this all seems a little vague, it's because I remember very little of what he actually said. Possibly because I greyed out laughing in the first half.

Best birthday present ever :).

18-5-2006 (archived)

Prime” is laugh-out-loud funny, fairly touching, and beautifully acted by all - Thurman is surprisingly good, and Streep unsurprisingly brilliant. The older woman romance is, of course, not quite so challenging when said woman looks as good as Thurman. There is a single tear, from Streep, that is as perfect and understated a piece of film acting as I can remember (and congratulations to the director for letting it be understated). And there is a line, from Thurman, about knitting hats, that I will carry with me and giggle over for some time.

It also illustrates reviewers perfectly. Roger Ebert, who likes movies, and is prepared to take a lightweight romantic comedy seriously, gives it three out of four. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian, who has no patience with anything lightweight and as far as I can tell doesn't actually like movies, gives it one out of five. Only one of these critics is of any use whatsoever to a punter looking to pick a movie. (I, of course, don't read reviews until after I've seen the film, but then I don't pay for my movies.)

21-5-2006 (archived)

I am not sure whether or not I wish I hadn't seen “Confetti” knowing, as surely we all know, that it was essentially improvised by its cast of British comedy cream; sometimes it was distracting, and there is often a tendency to think how good it was considering it was improvised. This is not a film that needs such an excuse.

The focus here has to be on Freeman and Stevenson, who have probably the most non-slapstick laughs as well as almost the whole emotional weight of the film, and both of whom are clearly capable of carrying a quiet comedy movie. Rather surprisingly, parts of the climax are genuinely moving, and it remains very funny indeed in places. Interesting, but also good.

22-5-2006 (archived)

It rather seems to me that, if we're to have a democracy, it just doesn't work to let one group of elected people refuse to countenance another group of elected people. It's not like we're talking about parties coercing voters into choosing them; if the public picked 'em, you've got 'em, and that's all there is to it. If you don't like it, tough.

This applies to Northern Ireland, Palestine, and everywhere even vaguely socialist in South America. Thank you for your kind attention.

25-5-2006 (archived)

Those reviewers, and there have been some, who've complained of “Brick” that we do not care about the characters because we do not believe them have misunderstood noir, in which it is essential to have characters in whom we do not believe. All we should ask from noir is style, wit, violence and plot, and this has all of those in plenty. Gordon-Levitt plays the 'tec role with complete understanding, bringing exactly the right mixture of cynicism, brutality and charisma, and while he is the stand-out of the cast, they all do pretty well. Of course this sort of never-real retro Hammett dialogue is impossible to imagine coming naturally to high schoolers, but we do not have to imagine it: Rian Johnson has done it for us, deservedly winning at Sundance for originality of vision. You have not seen anything like this before, nor will you again. That would not be enough were it not great; it is.

26-5-2006 (archived)

Waiting...” reminded me of what seems to be its major inspiration, Kitchen Confidential, though only as the heavy loser in the comparison; this has none of Bourdain's heady combination of machismo and thoughtful, honest vulnerability. Each part is the expression of a type; you have the experienced, fast-talking waiter, the depraved chefs, the bright kid self-disgusted by his slacking, and a few even-less-well-realised women. This is a bad film, badly directed and worse-edited in places, with no coherent script, plot, or story arc, just as the trailer would lead you to expect. On the other hand, there is a genuinely shocking denunciation of Ryan Reynolds's character by Anna Faris that drew applause from some women in the theatre, and a magnificently unhinged performance from Alanna Ulbach as a woman who hates her life and everything in it. It is shit. But, in its gross-out way, it's still pretty funny.

30-5-2006 (archived)

There has been much discussion recently, prompted originally in my case by something I heard on the radio, about the possible explosive possibilities of soft mints and soft drinks in appropriate combination. I have not yet got around to experimenting, but that's ok; somebody else has done it for me.

Be careful what you eat.

1-6-2006 (archived)

X-Men: The Last Stand” is a perfectly good action blockbuster, though admittedly probably not as good as the previous two installments. Its strongest point, apart from the charisma of virtually every actor on the project (most especially, of course, McKellen and Steward), is that it is not afraid to do very surprising things; it is easy to believe that this will be the last X-Men collective movie, though also possible to believe that it won't. The effects are superb, the plot is pretty decent, and there are some very good lines. Not a great film, but certainly a movie worth seeing.

I generally don't talk much about lifting here, but I can't resist mentioning a little milestone: last night, my powerlifting total hit 1001lbs. It's a beginning.

2-6-2006 (archived)

The Wild” is, by Disney standards, a terrible disappointment. The most obvious problem is the Madagascar comparison. The IMDB boards are full of people asserting that, actually, Madagascar ripped off The Wild, but, y'know, it doesn't look that way; Madagascar was being trailed two full years ago, it was out a year ago, and it was a movie starring a lion and a giraffe, featuring an escape from the New York Zoo to “nature”, a choreographed tribe of animals at the natural setting, and... well, enough. If Madagascar did manage to sneak out and copy the Disney movie, why is it that nobody mentioned it at the time? Hey ho, maybe it's all coincidence.

Anyway, I don't care who copied whom; originality is less important than quality, so is this any good? Well, it has very, very good animation, possibly the best computer animation yet; it has William Shatner and Kiefer Sutherland both doing fairly well; and crucially it has Eddie Izzard. The problem is that, apart from Izzard, there's really nothing worth seeing here; the plot is not only familiar but a touch limp, and nothing really funny happens. OK for kids, I suppose, but still, poor.

Also: interspecies sexual attraction in a family movie? Now, that could have been interesting if they'd run with it.