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As absolutely nobody suggested a better title than "Cineblahblah" for this column, and the fact that I decided this entry would contain TV aswell as film, rendering the cinema element inaccurate, I've decided to give it the even worse "Projectionz". The "Z" at the end is hilariously ironic. Suggestions for new titles remain welcome.

Tickling my criticial frenulum this entry are Eddie Izzards new American vehicle The Riches, the accidentally rented crapfest Dreamland, and Sienna Miller in "1960's film" Factory Girl.

The Riches

I realise a lot of people have a problem with Eddie Izzard as a serious actor, and I think I know why I don't - it is, really, quite simple. The first thing I saw him in was a BBC Four filming of the play "A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg" starring him and Victoria Hamilton. It's a 60's black comedy about a couple with a disabled child - I just looked on the BBC website to find out the name for whatever disability it is and it says "mute mongoloid". Are we still allowed to say mongoloid? Alright, they've got a mongoloid. It doesn't sound like something I'm allowed to say, actually. I wish I knew more about disableds.

Incidentally, I heard a story about a "mongoloid" singing "Country Roads (Take Me Home)" on a kareoke somewhere that made me laugh so much I actually vomited allover my bed. Although, er, that's really got nothing at all to do with what I'm reviewing, so I'll press on.

Anyway, Izzard gave a wonderful performance, affecting and honest, as a man desperately struggling with his situation and trying to maintain an air of respectability. It's a nuanced, convincing, very natural and blacky humorous performance but one that you can only really appreciate if you're completely willing to accept that he just talks like a bit of a twat. I mean, everyone always slates his American accents for being a bit twatty, but they're no more inherently twatty than his ordinary speaking voice, which sounds like a completely made up accent. Perhaps it's because I split my time between Liverpool and Glasgow and have some Hong Kong/Irish relatives that I'm less irked by people with really weird accents, or something. It's even easier to forgive his wandering vowels in The Riches, the latest attempt to sell him as a "proper actor!", a new US TV series, because he plays a gypsy, and they all sound fucking weird.

The thrust of the drama is their escape from the travelling colony with a safe-full of money when the patriachs dickhead son takes charge of the clan and starts throwing himself about. In the pursuit, a car is driven off the road, killing it's very rich, childless occupants, who were on their way to a new house in a new neighbourhood. Sniffing an opportunity to steal the American dream, Izzard and his Missus (a druggy, volatile Minnie Driver, fresh out of prison. Remember that sitcom Minnie Driver did with George Cole? It was a valuable insight into how slightly senile, bored people behave all day called "Autumn Years" or something, which I suppose basically means "Dying Soon". I've got a great film idea starring George Cole and Griff Rhys Jones as an English crime-fighting Father-Son duo, but they're both a bit too old now) and their kids decide to move in and meet the diet pill-addled, gun-toting, golf-obsessed neighbours. It's basically The Beverly Hillbillies, but the Desperate Housewives bitchy-suburbia plots are accompanied by plenty of Six Feet Underesque people-are-weird-and-unhappy plots. Izzard holds things together with a highly charismatic central performance as a much more mature character than he's previously played, albeit still with a slightly twatty accent. His charm lends itself well to playing a convincing conman, and middle age has given him added gravitas.

It's only two episodes in so far, but it's one worth sticking with, I think. Incidentally, until Cappsys US TV column returns with a special "season-finale" edition in the Summer, can I stress that anyone who has not yet "got into" Heroes (airing in the UK on sci-fi but hush, whisper it, sometimes people view these things online) is missing out in a spectacular way. They're currently taking a break from airing new episodes until the final run begins in late-April but the last few have been literally jaw-dropping. 3.5/5


I've found it! Call off the search parties! "DREAMLAND" is literally... wait for it... THE WORST FILM OF *ALL* TIME! I realise that all art is subjective and one mans white elephant is another mans brass band or something along those lines, but I really feel confident stating as a fact that there has not been a more unequivocally poor film made either before or since "Dreamland". Have that!

Yes, it's true! This sci-fi/horror abortion of a film from just this year, which I for some reason that I can't now remember thought starred Kelli Garner (who appears in my dreams, and must be in some other film called Dreamsomething - check her out in "Thumbsucker", particularly if you miss having wet dreams), is so so so incoherently, wantonly dreadful in every way you can imagine that it will make your mind boggle and your eyes go inside out and your lungs collapse. The script, acting, direction, music, cast, camerawork, special effects, title sequences and plot reek of being the product of idiotic, furiously untalented people - if I worked for a studio and had to choose between a pitch by these fucking morons, or a red squirrel with five minutes to live, I would invest money in the red squirrel, and I would probably be right to do so. Because I'd lose my money, but I wouldn't be associated with something so bad that if someone stopped talking to me because of the association, I'd kind of get where they were coming from. If people decided to execute me for investing in this film, I wouldn't fight them.

The plot, if it's fair to refer to a shambling series of "events" that make no sense whatsoever as a coherent plot or even on their own terms, sounds like the kind of once-in-a-lifetime idea thought up by a film-studies graduate from community college between dole cheques who sits on the toilet combing the pus out of his downy goatee, eating pizza dough-balls, playing castle wolfenstein with his feet and mumbling film pitches into his Dad's dictaphone all day and night until he comes up with the one, in a moment of near divine lack-of-inspiration, that he will bankrupt all his relatives into financing.

It starts out amiably enough after a prologue where someone drops a snowglobe (BEEN TO FILM SCHOOL, HAVE WE? SEEN CITIZEN KANE, HAVE WE? EAT WOTSITS IN THE BATH, DO WE?), as a badly scripted back and forth between the chubby, Tesco-value Tobey Maguire and the ginger, spazzy Lidl's own Chloe Sevigny, stopping off at a small diner in the Nevada desert to be regaled by a boss-eyed dimwit about crashed alien spacecraft and, hush now, time travel experiments deep in the desert. Having no preconceptions about the film, and so far assuming it to be a quirky youthful comedy drama, I was pretty unprepared for what happened next - their car being stolen by a GLOWING ZOMBIE HITLER who is SHOUTING THEIR NAMES. Things go from crap to bonkers quite rapidly, as Chloe Sevignys super-intense "I've seen Blair Witch! You just say oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god and fall over a lot, do you?" acting begins to grate and she even DEVELOPS A TWITCH about halfway through. By gum, that's acting for you! THAT'S ACTING FOR YOU!

The main problem with the film is it's split personality - it tries to play intense, realistic, psychological horror with a plot that involves ghost hitlers, ghost soldiers, massive lilac cg lasers firing out of the sky and vaporising people, scary little girls in white dresses whispering things in exorcist-style voices (they may aswell be holding up signs saying "BOO!") and every other cliche so cliche'd that the Chuckle Brothers have probably discarded it for being a bit too much of a cliche to be taken seriously even by their viewers. So every time it cranks the ridiculous plot forward a notch, the whole thing starts to feel more and more and more laughable. At one point, a phone with NO RECEPTION recieves a MYSTERIOUS PHONE-CALL which says "HE'S BEHIND YOU!". It's like a pantomime for retarded goths. Let's see, what other ridiculous depths are plumbed... Oh yes, someone asks a portentous question like "what the fucks going to happen next in this absolute shitforest of a film?" and then ALL THE LIGHTS GO OUT at ONCE!

The film's so desperate to retain it's air of arthouse sincerity, or short on script, that there's quite long of periods literally of protracted silence in which jump-cut close-ups encourage us to focus on the REALLY SERIOUS ACTING at play, which consists of Chloe Sevigny but-a-spaz doing her twitchy, darty-eyes thing and the weird hick just staring into space and spitting inbetween other peoples lines. Because it's a REALLY SERIOUS pile of steaming, malodorous flamingo shit, nobody is allowed to say "time travel" or "ghost" or anything, they have to just go "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD" and fall over. The hamfisted scripting attempts to convey the general time-travel aspect to the film is consistently amusing...

"what? the radio said elvis was joining the army - but isn't he dead?"

"gee, my backward and ugly wife, i dunno. who the fucks elvis? i'm so young and carefree. why are you such a bastard WHORE? i hope we don't get kidnapped by GHOST HITLERS"

"did you hear that? oh my god, this is a radio show from 1957... it can't be 1957! is it 1957? what's going on? oh my god! oh my god! oh my god! oh my god! oh god, i've fallen over this bin, here. it's all, oh, i've hurt my leg."

The script, if you could call it such a thing is a load of momentous sounding bilgewater like this:

"But I'm scared [quite reasonably, because you've just shown me towards a spaceship in the middle of nowhere and gestured towards it as if it provides some kind of explanation for my boyfriends posession by a malevolent lilac special effect and ghost hitlers chasing me around the desert for longer than was really entertaining]!"

"You'll.... be Okay. It'll be.... Okay now" (accompanied by a slow turn away, waving over the shoulder..)

but linked by ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL to make them make some sense, apart from, as I say, ghost hitlers appearing in the desert and SHOUTING PEOPLES NAMES. That's the bulk of the second act of this "film".

And to make things worse, they try to wrap things up with an "IT'S ALL CONNECTED REALLY DO YOU SEE" revelatory montage, which shows us that the stupid girl was haunting HERSELF because her SECRET REAL FATHER was doing 'experiments' with 'time' that had 'gone all messed' and there had been 'unusual effects' (this is literally as much detail as is gone into to explain all the SHOUTING GHOST HITLERS running around, or why a massive purple laser fires out of the sky into people and makes them evil) and then it all gets a bit out of hand, and her boyfriend becomes a maternity nurse, or something. It's clearly an attempt to pull a David Lynch twist out of the bag, or less ambitiously a Donnie Darko-esque "you have to have decide what the ending means FOR YOURSELF" thing but it's as if whoever wrote this crap simply thought that refusing to make any sense at all was an acceptable corner-cut. I would have been less surprised if I had pressed play on the DVD player and a man had climbed out of it and suffocated me with his fat bum than I am surprised now that a film of such monumental shite can even exist. -1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 / 5

Factory Girl

This is a biopic of Edie Sedgewick, the prototype it girl, style icon, drug addict and general cautionary tale who was a fixture at Andy Warhols "Factory" space in the early 60's - a constant drug-fuelled arty party in the hippest part of New York. The film aims to shed light on her troubled upbringing, and how her trusting nature led to her much discussed downfall, and Sienna Miller gives a surprisingly versatile and assured performance. We certainly buy into her as an incredibly charismatic presence, but the film tends to paint her as a saint and pretty much every character as a total dickhead, which coupled with the obligatory 60's-film grainy, spinning-around-in-a-park montages to hippy music mire it in the conventions of a fairly obvious, unbalanced biopic. However, much fun is to be had with Guy Pearce's eerie performance as Andy Warhol, perfectly capturing his capricious, unfeeling tendencies, his insecurities, his inimitable social style and his near-genius. On the other hand, Anakin Skywalker from the Star Wars Prequel Yawnology turns up as the most ridiculously twatty and awful Bob Dylan (who, for legal reasons, is not referred to as Bob Dylan at any point - presumably Dylan saw the film) you can imagine, spouting cliche's about "the man" allover the place and coming across like a thick nobhead with no hidden depths whatsoever. As far as recent "biopics" go, this is better than Ray (trying to shit a fig tree is better than Ray) and Walk The Line but not as good as Capote. So, er, 3/5!

About this entry


As absolutely nobody suggested a better title than "Cineblahblah" for this column, and the fact that I decided this entry would contain TV aswell as film, rendering the cinema element inaccurate, I've decided to give it the even worse "Projectionz". The "Z" at the end is hilariously ironic. Suggestions for new titles remain welcome.

If you wanted to give it an air of foreign mistique, you could call it "Projectiona". Which would also be some kind of ironic statement about how A and Z are at the opposite ends of the alphabet.

By Jeffrey Lee
March 22, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

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>However, much fun is to be had with Guy Pearce's eerie performance as Andy Warhol, perfectly capturing his capricious, unfeeling tendencies, his insecurities, his inimitable social style and his near-genius.

Agree one thousand percent. It was by FAR the best thing about the film. In fact, if they had cut out everything other than Pearce and extended the scenes of Sienna Miller getting humped, I'd be crying out for a sequel.

I honestly couldn't believe how lousy a portrayal of Dylan that was though. I mean, that's stuff Saturday Night Live would have deemed unacceptable. "Look, I'm Dylan because I stress words by speaking through my nose."

Come on. The guy doesn't actually talk like that unless he's dicking around with reporters, and it's hard to believe forty-odd years later people don't realize that.

By Philip J Reed, VSc
March 22, 2007 @ 9:28 pm

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Yes, and the fact that his songs sometimes had a conversational tone doesn't mean he has to TALK IN LYRICS. I don't know how much to blame on the script and how much to blame on Christensen. Maybe he's a great actor - he certainly makes a very,. very convincing twat.

By Michael Lacey
March 22, 2007 @ 9:35 pm

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I held off on reading that review because I knew it was going to be a laugh riot.


By Philip J Reed, VSc
March 24, 2007 @ 3:33 am

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Is the Hitler appearance a reference to (extra marks I think for not using 'reference' as a verb) 'Contact', where the Berlin Olympics is broadcast back to earth?

Otherwise I thought it all most amusing, especially the night scenes of the girlfriend made her look like the girl witch from 'The Ring'.

At least the boys all wore sexy make up and tights for the time bending in 'Rocky Horror'.


By Jeremy Smith
April 08, 2007 @ 10:13 pm

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I think "GLOWING ZOMBIE HITLER" should be the new name for this column.

By Zagrebo
April 10, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

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