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Film Roundup 4

Tenacious D, the School For Scoundrels remake, Van Wilder 2, A Scanner Darkly, Idiocracy and United 93 enter my critical passageway.

Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny

I might write an article about the "stoner comedy" sub-genre, because it's fucking brilliant. Cheech and Chong, Harold & Kumar, that one with Thomas Hayden Church in, and some other ones I can't really think of at the moment. This buddy movie slots easily into that category, in addition to being the story of the "greatest rock band ever", or whatever, because they get stoned in it and loads of ridiculous things happen. Since championing this film, I've run into a lot of anti Tenacious D feeling. Obviously, if you're not into Tenacious D, don't find Jack Blacks posturing amusing or their music funny, you're not going to enjoy this film at all. But if you do, you'll have a blast with it. It's almost Carl Reiner-esque in its willingness to go for both the smallest (if you've seen it, the drawing of the plans had me pissing my shoes) and the most extravagantly ridiculous jokes, like John C Reillys cameo as a flying Sasquatch in a magical wonderland with a fucking strawberry river. The songs are, as usual, a hoot too. 4/5. Fucking hell, I'm being generous with these reviews.

School For Scoundrels

Todd Phillips, director of various high-grossing "frat pack" comedies of recent years (Starsky & Huch, Old School, Road Trip) remakes an Ealing Classic with Billy Bob Thornton and Napoleon Dynamite. Heresy? I'm not really arsed, I like Phillips and would have liked to see a funny, new film based on the concept, much as it's unlikely to rival the original. Sadly it's a fairly limp, half-arsed effort, with a few laughs but no depth, no particularly likeable characters and the least convincing or interesting screen romance ever. 2/5.

Van Wilder 2: The Rise Of Taj

In this film, you get to see PC Roz Clarke who used to be in The Bill's tits. 5/5.

A Scanner Darkly

Well, this review isn't going to make me any friends amongst Phillip K Dick fans. It's the most faithful screen adaptation of his work yet, and it's a load of ponderous piss-boring drivel. That's probably because it's directed by Richard Linklater, all of whose films can be found in the "ponderous piss-boring drivel" section of HMV, except School Of Rock, which is in the "Automatically good because it's got Jack Black in it" section. At least when they ruin the films of Dick's books (haha dicks), you still get Ben Affleck legging it away from stuff that's exploding, BIG stuff, and on a better day you might get Minority Report. The rotoscoping effect (animation traced over properly filmed scenes) is great, and this would certainly make an effective "product demo" for it, if the actors could stop mugging and gurning to make sure their performance shows through the pixels.

It's very good at conveying a sense of druggy paranoia, of a world that's somehow imperceptibly but massive fucked. It's just dead boring aswell. If you want to see a film that really takes you inside the mind of Phillip K Dick, see this. OR, see Blade Runner, because it's actually a good film, and then just read a Phillip K Dick book. I'd reccomend "Valis". 2.5/5.


Am I excited about a Mike Judge film? I don't know. Is he funny? Office Space was OK, but King Of The Hill now it's in its billionth series or whatever is like having teeth pulled. Is Beavis and Butthead his most famous thing? Is that funny? Why is Mike Judge famous? Is he funny? I don't know. Who are Mike Judge fans? Am I thinking of the right Mike Judge? This film doesn't nothing to clear up the confusion surrounding Mike Judge, being extremely patchy and bearing the clumsy, smudged fingerprints of studio intereference. The film itself isn't particularly good, but you can tell that it really wants to be. Sort of like Luke Wilson (work with Wes Anderson notwithstanding) in general, who also happens to star here as a soldier that gets cryogenically frozen and wakes up 500-odd years into the future in a dystopia typified by the utter stupidity inherent at every level of society, the House of Representatives (now the House of Reprezentin' or something) reduced to a WWF-style display of macho posturing and crops failing as they're sprayed with futuristic Lucozade instead of water.

The futuristic world throws up some laughs, but the film always feels like it's holding something back, and what could have been a scathing satire is reduced to an amusing gimmick in a fairly predictable and bland comedy. 2/5.

United 93

Fun fact: My cousin sings on the soundtrack to World Trade Centre. That film's a bag of shit, but the other 9-11 film, this one, isn't. It's sort of beautiful, which is a weird thing to say about a film where a plane full of people (who I'd heard were a "cast of unknowns" but fuck me if Henry Van Statten off Doctor Who isn't in it) plummet to their doom. It's played documentary straight, and the ground-level reality of 9-11 and how completely headfucking it must have been, is the primary concern of the film which makes very few moral judgements, despite having an odd lack of *any* likeable characters. Which I suppose is what planes are usually like anyway. Powerful, thought-provoking and tense. 5/5.

About this entry


In this film, you get to see PC Roz Clarke who used to be in The Bill's tits.

Ah, thanks for confirming that one.

By Seb
February 18, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

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No question about the overacting - but I dunno, I really quite enjoyed A Scanner Darkly. But then, I'm the sort of guy to prefer piss-boring drivel to Ben Affleck running away from giant explosions. Come to think of it, I'd prefer most anything to Ben Affleck running away from giant explosions. Now, if somebody made a movie of Ben Affleck running into a giant explosion - well, then I'd watch that. Just to see him disintegrate.

Just don't make me choose between Ben Affleck running away from giant explosions or Minority Report. Because if you did I would claw my fucking eyes out.

By Austin Ross
February 18, 2007 @ 10:29 pm

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A Scanner Darkly was brilliant. Come on, you didn't like the scene where they're working out how many gears the bike has?

By Nick R
February 19, 2007 @ 11:13 am

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Minority Report was good!

By aedmark
February 20, 2007 @ 3:18 am

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>now the House of Reprezentin' or something


By Tanya Jones
February 20, 2007 @ 11:55 am

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I thought United 93 was fantastic, even though I still believe it's all fiction, not truth. Not that the truth will ever be known.

By performingmonkey
February 20, 2007 @ 10:45 pm

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