rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

20-1-2007 (archived)

I watch quite a bit more rubbish when school's out, and since I'm not paying for it, enjoying it remains possible. In that spirit, then, “It's a boy girl thing” was not nearly as bad as I expected, mostly due to the unknowns in the lead (particularly Samaire Armstrong) having a fair amount of charm. Complete nonsense, sure, and vastly inferior to other body-swap movies, but I've certainly passed worse afternoons.

Employee of the Month” does have some established stars, namely Jessica Simpson's tits. She actually isn't terrible in this, and both Cook and Shepard are reasonable comics; in fact, while this is stupid and lazy, it is actually fairly funny. It's even sort of cute in places. Obviously, if I'd spent six quid or whatever getting in I would have felt robbed, but there's no doubt it's better than pretty much all of the telly.

22-1-2007 (archived)

Miss Potter” is conspicuously lovely and beautifully crafted except for the staggering miscasting of Renee Zellweger, who apparently is now the first choice of non-English English accent. In fairness, she can do the accent; in fact, that's almost her sole skill other than being prepared to abandon her dignity, as she did fairly effectively in Bridget Jones. She is basically inept as an actress, her emotional range being expressed through the medium of screwing up her face like an elf eating a salad of lemons and nettles, and she (to quote Lidbert) has a face like a cabbage. I have no idea why she is employed, let alone in a film like this.

The rest of the movie is rather splendid, and she didn't quite ruin it completely.

26-1-2007 (archived)

I may have recently made my views on this clear, but since it rolls on in the media I'm afraid it's going to roll on here too. As you doubtless heard, the adoption agency wing of the Catholic church have threatened that if they don't get to blacklist gays, they're going to pack up their toys and go home. Which, of course, they're perfectly entitled to do. But actually, naturally, what they're really saying is that the law should not apply to them. Which is a bit like saying that racial discrimination laws should not apply to people who are members of a racist organisation.

It seems perfectly clear to me, people. It is NOT OK to do awful shit even if you believe it's right. That's not how it works, whether or not you think your invisible friend agrees with you. Now fuck off.

Yes, I am annoyed.

27-1-2007 (archived)

Mel Gibson has turned into a rather surprising director, and “Apocalypto” - like his last two movies, The Passion of the Christ and Braveheart - is brutal, masochistic and suffering-obsessed, starring an underdog who is crushed by a powerful and uncaring society. He has a theme, then. This is astonishingly beautifully shot, carefully plotted, and thought through all the way to the understated (if historically inaccurate) ending, and that it is his second consecutive film in dead languages makes it unusual but no less effective.

Like his last film, it is clear that he is making powerful and deeply felt art, but not clear at least to me that it is good art. I just don't know. What is certain is that these films are completely unlike anything that anyone else would even consider making, and for that alone they should be supported. He may be mad - indeed, it seems rather likely - but at least he's interesting.

29-1-2007 (archived)

I'm not sure what one can productively say about a film like “Night at the Museum”. It's a kids' movie by the numbers, but a well-executed, excellently special-effected and entertaining one, without anything really irritating about it. Fun, but pointless. And you knew that already.

31-1-2007 (archived)

Well, if you will gamble huge sums on casinos, you must expect to lose. No matter how many fat men you give hats to.

3-2-2007 (archived)

The Last King of Scotland” has many things going for it; an essentially true story, fluent direction, comedy, an almost unrecognisable turn by Gillian Anderson, and a bravery that allows the central character than could so easily have been an everyman with whom we wanted to identify to be, much more interestingly, a bastard.

McAvoy is excellent here, and probably deserves a “best supporting” nomination, using every bit of his considerable charm to make us care about his young doctor, but he is almost unnoticable next to Whitaker's staggering performance as Amin. He goes from captivating, likeable, theatrical politician to cold, mad maniac as quickly and thoroughly and reversibly as the real Amin must have, and those who remember his days well tell me that Whitaker has captured him so well that it is almost worrying. It is a huge, mesmerising, and frightening performance, and must surely be a lock for the best actor awards this year. The rest of the film is very good, but Forest Whitaker is truly great.

7-2-2007 (archived)

Rocky Balboa” is, well, it's a Rocky movie. It does all the things you'd expect, and does them reasonably well. Sure, it's hokey, predictable, badly-acted and almost unbearably stupid, but it's saved by the fact that Stallone loves being this character. And when that theme starts, and he starts one of those classic training sequences, rational thought ceases. You know exactly what you're getting here, and if you want it, it delivers.

10-2-2007 (archived)

Today I was sharing the bus with, among other people, a very small Chinese child in a buggy, who was eating Quavers - possibly selected due to the fact that no teeth are required in their consumption. Each curl of potato-derived snack was inserted carefully from the bag it clutched, and allowed to dissolve into slush in the mouth over a minute or two. This would have been little more than cute (and cute it was) had it not been for the fact that, perhaps in response to the rush of cheesiness, as each fresh piece was inserted both feet took to convulsively kicking.

Incidentally, while the product page for Quavers says that they are Walkers' best-selling snack, an unlikely-sounding claim repeated in that Wikipedia article, the FAQ makes it clear that they are in fact number three - still surprisingly high.

Sadly, I forgot to buy any for myself on the journey home.

24-2-2007 (archived)

Two weeks since the last post, and I have no excuses other than a very bad attack of laziness which made it impossible to do anything other than train and go to work. In fact this week I didn't even go to work.

The Pursuit of Happyness” (and yes, the misspelling is both deliberate and justified by the content) is moving without being obviously and cynically exploitative, and sweet without quite being saccharine. The core of the movie is the relationship between Will Smith (back on serious-actor form for the first time in a while, and damned good if not really a serious Oscar candidate in the year of Whitaker and O'Toole) and his real-life son, who thoroughly justifies his casting and lends a real naturalness to the scenes of the two together. Yes, it's a Horatio-Alger-like capitalist parable of hard work and indefatigability breeding great success and family love, but none the less enjoyable for that. The fact that it's also largely true doesn't hurt too much, either.