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January 11, 2005

I Heart Huckabees

Went to see this film today at the Warwick Arts Centre. I got in for free on the RaW gravy train.

It's written and directed by David O. Russell, the man behind Three Kings, that one about Gulf War I. This also has that man with the one facial expression, 'Marky' Mark Wahlberg, in. And Jude Law, Dustin Hoffman and Naomi Watts.

It's a comedy based around an environmental activist called Albert (Jason Schwartzman) who has a existential crisis so goes to an existential detective agency, run by Hoffman and his wife. It all gets a bit silly and Albert meets Marky, a fireman – sorry, firefighter – who is in a similar predicament and who rants about petroleum at every given opportunity.

You've also got Brad (Law) – who's a executive with Huckabees, a chain of supermarchés, and is also getting involved with Albert's environmental campaign. He takes over leadership of Albert's project so there's a big rivalry thing going on. Then there's his bird (Watts), who's a model with Huckabees. Very soon they all start questioning reality.

It's funny, in a quirky way. If you liked The Royal Tenenbaums, you'll like this. Probably more laugh-out-loud moments, actually.

As for the philosophical content, I was kinda let down. As a self-respecting intellectual, I'm fairly into my existentialism – have been since before The Matrix, have been since before I even knew what existentialism was. But this didn't really say much to make me think. You had rival existential detectives – Hoffman and his wife vs. this French bird. One reckoned that everything in the universe is connected; the other thought that nothing was. And that's about it. Didn't really like the special effects which came with the philosophising either.

So, on the whole: 7/10

November 06, 2004

Who are the Warriors?

It's funny you should ask, cos I was watching said fillum this afternoon. My brother Jake has been pestering me for the best part of a year to see it so I went and did. And it rocks.

The Warriors was made in 1979 and is set in New York, and follows a street gang called the Warriors, who have crazy hair and wear brown leather waistcoats. They get framed for the murder of a gang leader and find themselves wanted by all the other gangs in New York – or maybe just Brooklyn. Anyway, they ride the subway a lot to evade a random assortment of gangs: the rozzers, blacks, Latinos, orphans and face-painted baseball players. The evasion doesn't last too long and inevitably they get into massive brawls. Which are by turns surreal, amusing, lame and cool.

The film's pretty good – some cool lines and that (fucking hell, I'm not terribly articulate today, am I?). It's a bit futuristic and surreal, helped by the ace synthy-rocky score. It has no one you've ever heard of in, but there're guys who look like Sean Penn and Dennis Hopper.

Check it out: free to rent from the SRC - possibly the best thing about videos from there is that you get to see adverts from Way Back When (my, they were shit in 1995). And it'll be available to rent from 11am Monday.

October 16, 2004

Layer Cake

Follow-up to A Bad Day from Esprit de l'escalier

My housemates managed to convince me to make the journey to Birmingham so we went, and turned my bad day into an alright evening. I bought some clothes, we ate in McDonalds (sorry), and we went to see Layer Cake (or should that be L4y3r C4k3? Or something?). I'd heard mixed reviews of it and wasn't too eager to see it, but 'twas the only thing on, so why not.

Before I launch into my review, I'll sum up what the film's about, for those of you not in the know: it's a Brit Gangster flick. Nuff said, really. It's a bit knob, on the whole – though not as knob as Croupier, of which it reminded me a lot. It had the same trying-to-be-gritty intentions, pulled the same 'stylish' camera effects out of the film industry's box of cliches, and had similar lead characters: the rugged, posh, cool-when-he's-not-talking, wooden-when-he-is hard man. The plot may appear quite complicated but when you realise it is essentially a combination of the plots of Lock, Stock…, Snatch and the Long Good Friday, but with drugs taking the place of guns/boxing/micks, it makes perfect sense. It's not as funny as Lock, Stock… (I'm not sure how funny it was wanting to be) and has only a handful of genuinely cool lines/events. I wouldn't recommend this – the only reason to see it I can give is if you want to see an uncanny young Willem Defoe lookalike with a Cockney accent. There are few well-known actors in it: only Dexter Fletcher (he of Lock, Stock… and Press Gang (remember that, kids?!) fame) and Michael Gambon, sporting a rather unsettling David Dickinson-style tan.

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