Sincerest apologies for the lack of a revue review this previous week, your humble authour came down with a rather unfortunate case of dropsy-pox. Having recovered a bit and regained a hearty appetite, I am now ready to fulfil my duties in reviewing. In all likelihood, there weren't any quality films last week's-end anyway.
This week's picture, called "Extract", concerns an industrialist fellow named Joel (as play'd by Mr. Jason Bate-Man) who owns a whiz-bang foodstuffs-essence extractor machine plant. Rather than entering it in the world's faire, he fancies selling off his wondrous' facilities to John D. Rockefeller and achieving status as a true robber-baron. However, being a hum'rous picture, situations thusly go awry; Joel's spouse (Kristen Wiig) neglects to sate his marital needs, a mysterious young crumpet (Mila Kunis) weaves her mischief at the plant, and lastly, a lamentable happenstance causes a laborer to lose a certain pair of consequential anotomical organs. The bindles to his stick, as it were.
With so many disastrous events befalling him, our hero turns to a local bar-tender who happens to be his trusted friend and confidant (Benjamin Affleck) for assistance. Mr. Affleck in his ragged appearance and utter lack of grooming seems to be a shiftless hobo, but no mention is ever made of his position as such. Mayhaps the director chose to portrey him with an honorable position peddling booze to show that penniless winos can be reformed, but in my humble opinion, they cannot.
Follies ensue, naturally, and in the end Joel finally learns the true meaning of wooden nickels and exploiting endenture servantude. Or something along those lines.
A problem with this picture is that with the exception of Joel, none of the other players were very agreeable to my admittedly sensitive palate. We are sup'posed to enjoy the antics of a shiftless tramp, a eunuch slubberdoffer and a swindling trollop? I submit that we do not. What happened to simpler pictures concerning stand-up gentlemen and great train robbers? When the Lumiere brothers made a similar picture concerning a machine-plant (Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory), it wasn't boggled down with plots about bollocks-disasters.
If anything, I left this picture with a worse imbalance of the humours than when I entered it. If there were more characters on screen like Joel, I might have even been persuaded to stay for the end.
2 of 5 Top Hats
Once every blue-moon, a figure will enter upon the public consciousness and leave an indelible mark. If being from humble origins, said gentleman can then capture interest by embodying a prev'lent dream of success and elevation, shared by all white, land-owning Christian men.
The moving-picture business embodies such a philosophy in this day and age, and in-doubtably will live on markedly into the future along with such ageless inno-vations such as the Model T Ford, the steam engine, and Radio programmes. The gentleman director of the picture "Inglourious Basterds" represents a fellow which embodies such a dream.
From common beginnings as a foto-graf shoppe attendant, Quentin Tarantino made his mark with "Gutter Hounds", concerning a madcap troupe of flim-flammers and a caper gone sadly awry. Since then he has produced several pictures all to the acclaim of esteemed gentlemen of the noblest profession, your humble picture reviewer. With this "Inglourious Basterds" he has succeeded in the difficult challenge of both keenly impressing myself and deeply offending Misters Mirriam and Webster.
This is a war picture, attempting to recount several stories which run along side each oth'r and meet up in the end. The firstly tale to which we are introduced concerns a Jewess called "Shosanna". As a young lass she manages to evade an ambush on her French farm cottage by a hair's breadth. Fronted by German military officers of the second reich, they operated under the guide of the frighteningly fiendish, yet considerably charismatic Colonel Hans Landa. Being that her family is dispatched by the Germans, she escapes to Paris where she matures and comes to own a picture theatre due to the remarkable fact that women are allowed to own land in France.
Alternately, a second story unfolds concurrently. The picture's title being as it were, suggests the exploits of a group of American bred Hebrew gentlemen under the nome-de-plum of the 'Basterds'. Led by Bradley Von Pitt playing as "Aldo the Apache", these chaps mercilessly hunt, kill and scalp German military troupes in the manner of a barbaric injun, as his guise implies. The dyad tales weave together at such a point in which we learn that thru fortune and circumstance, both the Shosanna and Basterd parties gain the opportunity to bring about the demise of the unfortunately mustachio'd German military leader, the fictional "Adolf Hitler".
The pictures cuts betwixt the stories at varying paces, however from the very first scene to the explos've crescendo, Tarantino masterfully builds the tension. I can not recall having such a fit of anxiety since "Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat ".
The director is as well known for his signature dialogue and representations of bloodshed and brawling in picture shows, and this does not disappoint. Many players deliver performances of note, most commendably the German Christoph Waltz as Col. Landa. I submit that were there some sort of fancy accolade or recognition for acting ability in pictures, Herr Waltz would be in strict contention.
From its portrayal of a "what might be" scenario to its power-full fits of humour and horror, this picture gives to us an experience that is likely to haunt you well beyond it's viewing. Certainly a tad sluggish at times and incendiary at others, 'Basterds' fosters a world that feels intrinsic and fully formed, and yet executes clever breaks in form with stray flashes and indiscriminate narration. Men scheme and women con; Basterds butcher and Bear-Jews bludgeon; Victims die and kill and Murderers kill and die and in the end we all marvel at a master and his craft. Or, I imagine I would have if it's length had not run into my supper-time.
5 of 5 Top Hats
Being a respected man of letters, I am oft afforded the opportun'ty to partake in special picture-show galas before yourself, the common reader. This very evening I was invited to attend the premeire of a much heralded picture called "Avatar" by James Cameron. It was promised to me to prompt jaw slacking in the "Three Dimensional Eye-Maximum" theatre; being called so, I learn'd, because it projects picture shows in three dimensions: up, down and side-ways.
It was quite refreshing to see a picture in length no longer than two shows at the local nickelodeon. As frequent readers might be aware, it is quite taxing for me to sit thru several hours at the theatre and I often find myself distracted by other pursuits. I can quite astutely proclaim that Avatar is an ideal length for the gentleman on the go.
Being so short, the picture's director has quite a difficult job fitting in a satisfying story. It concerns Mister Jacob Sully, a chap sadly stricken with polio, who must travel on a space-aero-plane to the moon and make friends with the moon-men and moon-creatures that live there. Being that Mister Sully can not walk, he uses a marionette of a blue moon-man (or Ava-tar) to interact and make nice with the many moon-floozies.
Due to the costumes and other effeckts in this picture, it was amongst the most expensive ever produced, at nearly four-hundred and fifty American dollars. Being as it is so short, that seems to me as a waste. All of the newfangled gizmos and do-hickies on display were mildly impressive, but in an age that has given us Mr. Hoover's electric vacuum sucking machine, Dr. Scholl's foot products, the Victrola phonograph, and the paper-clip, I find that the truth is oft stranger and more stimulating than fiction.
Like any young lad, in my misspent youth I oft dabbled in the odd plaything while neglecting my studies. I have fond memories of my school-marm spying a Lincoln Log in my lap, which would lead to a good lashing or the embarr’sments of a dunce cap atop my head. Of course, I have since smartened up and appreciate the value of studying Dick and Jane. Still, when a dear colleague telegraphed saying there would be a “...picture concerning belov’d playthings from my youth STOP”, I was all a-titter with excitement. A bit worried, perhaps, as to how they would knit the backstory together of both a hoop and a stick into a dramatic picture. Was I ever sorely misled. The picture G.I. Joseph, concerning naught but military gentlemen and cloaked killers from the Orient, contained no sign of rocking horses or spinning wooden tops.
Firstly, the picture was extremely hard to follow. It would shift betwixt scenes in such a quick manner that I had no time to readjust my monocle. Far too many characters were present, and I found it rather difficult to tell between who was whom. From what I could gather, it concerned the adventures of a Duke who stumbled willy-nilly across two warring nations and for some reason gives up his royal title to join the American ranks under the leadership of an old codger called Colonel Hawke. If this was attempting to satire our belov’d Roosevelt and his Rough-Riders, then frankly, it was horsefeathers.
Training for the Duke violated customary habits, even for a cavalry unit. They worked on newfangled military drills, protocol, and habits involving conduct, obedience and etiquette. The Duke and his color’d companion Ripp'd-Cord proved to be eager to learn what was necessary. It was decided that the men would not be trained to use the saber as other cavalries often used, because they had zero prior experience with that combat skill. Instead, they were versed in the use of strange iron uniforms that granted them mystical powers.
In their war together, the Duke and his regiment faced off against the mysterious Eastern forces of Cobra, a faction led by the iron-masked Destro, who plotted to destroy much of the known world. Venturing to exotic locations such as the far and middle Easts, the Fighting Joes acted cowardly and failed to observe the gentlemanly rules of battlefield conduct.
The crew on this picture seemed a strange mix, with a spendthrift director who seemed absent from the picture-making process to an editor who was either rheumy or spifficated, judging by the amount of cuts in the film-stock that were made.
The picture was ruined for me by the editing fellow as the constant flickering of cuts to and fro brought about in me a dire case of sea-sickness. I had to exit during one of the many battle sequences to calm my stomach. I then tried to demand my penny back from the theatre huckster, but was denied. Feeling quite hogswaggled, I returned home and dug out my old hoop and stick from the barn and proceeded to have a grand time. I highly recommend it.
From the start I must admit that I am approaching "District 9" at a disadvantage, being that I have not yet seen the first pictures in the "District" series. However, it stands up quite well when viewed by its-self, and no one should let that stop them from viewing this swell accomplishment.
In my modest opinion, this picture excels on many levels, and succeeds in entertaining and thrilling the audience. As an intro-duction, we firstly meet the very likable chap with a humdinger of a name, Wikus Van De Merwe. He immediately stands out as a level fellow, which is rather important as we must person'ly identify with him to appreciate the show on any real level.
We learn, in a style like that of a docu-picture, that scads of moon-men had landed on Earth above South Afrika almost two score prior to the present. They were received trepedatiously, and set up in a make-shift bum's alley put aside for the entire species. It seemed to me to be an obvious meta-phore for the plight of the Irish.
Mr. Van De Marwe is charged with giving the creatures the bum's rush, as it were, and relocating the moon-men else-where. When accidentaly exposed to an eerie doodad, he starts to change and must go on the lam among the space persons while evading a damndable organization of humans.
I fell for this humdinger for several reasons, not the least of which being the look of the moon-men. This had the most realistic costuming of any picture I've seen since George Melies' "A Trip To The Moon ". If not for a quick glimpse of an odd zipper or buckle, I would almost believe they were real!
It was also quite commendable for attempting to do something new with a genre and succeeding well. The story was constructed in a way to make you feel compassion for the poor creatures, and to question what the humans were doing. A young moon-lad was prominently featured and thru his relationship with his father, Mr. Van De Merwe, and other humans, we saw the evils of our own ways reflected and learn'd that there are common fears, hopes and desires in us all; space creatures, men, women, and Irish alike.
I am hardly one for mush, but certain elements of the story pulled on my heart-strings. I found it quite hard not to care about what would happen to many of the main characters, a sure sign of a quality show. It was rather tense, and rife with exciting doo-hickies and genuine jolly-good frights.
From my own experience I would advise against bringing your wives or children, however. Mrs. Von Copperpot elicited squeaks of fear thru-out and at one riveting point was so frightened she lept into the air, causing quite a ruckus among our fellow picture-goers. One particularly large galoot 'suggested' that we scram as to not interrupt any further. I was forced to escort Mrs. Von Copperpot from the theatre to calm her nerves with a brandy. Unfortunately, I did not return in time to catch the end, but I can only assume that the moon-men were done in by Earth's native bacteria, against which they were not immune.
5 of 5 Top Hats
The Time Traveler's Trollop: A Review for a Picture I Have Not Seen.
As it happens, I am oft confronted with a dilemma when two pictures are releas'd on the same week-end. Which to see? On this occasion I took it upon myself to see the picture concerning space men. (Review forthcoming, fair reader)
To which you might proclaim, "Surely Corny, you can not review a picture you did not witness first hand!"
Poppycock. (And that is Mr. Von Copperpot to you).
Being a learned man of letters, I am perfectly capable of telling you my thoughts on this picture, much more so than yourself.
You see, this picture is based on a novel, which I have come across in my studies.
Now to my review:
The Time Traveler's Wife, based on the novel "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells.
The Time Machine is about a dapper young fly-boy who, with the use of a newfangled contraption, travels far into our future and encounters what has become of humanity.
With this picture, the director of course took several liberties. The most obvious being that it is centered on the man's wife, who is afforded the opportunity to look after the home while her husband is away.
During the picture, her husband leaves her, full with child, and whirls away into the future. In this version of the story, however, he can return to the present time and does so with relish, recounting to her all the wondrous things to behold such as horseless carriages, helpful tin-men, and automatic gramophones no larger than a bindle-stick.
She is woebegone on all occasions that he departs, and prepares a feast for his rare returns.
A clever metaphor is used in that an important lesson is learn'd by the wife. Being that betwixt adventures, gentlemen need a warm home to return to and a hot meal to eat. This is the greatest gift of all.
I recommend highly that all young women of standing see this picture, as it is very educational.
I shall explain thusly; I arrived at my local towne theatre only to find, after the news reel, that they mucked up the show and screened me two thoroughly separate pictures, betwixt one-anoth'r. The booth boy must have been spifficated; I must remember to give him a good lashing on my return (both with tongue and belt).
Being the consummate journlist and idea-man that I am, however, I shall still give them both writings-on.
The first picture concerned a young trollop called Julie, who is ungrateful for the ample opportunities afforded her by high society. She takes it upon her-self to write of her whirligig adventures in foods preparation. As much as I was initially disinclined to hold her in my favor, afore long she realized her place was in the kitchen-room, and thus I was compelled to forgive her.
Although a curious thing was that as the world is at it is now, the picture-director chose to omit depictions of Julie waiting a half-day on the bread line.
I s'pose the inspiration came for her from a pamphlet on food preparation from a woman called Julia, whom coincidentally enough, the second picture was concerning.
The character Julia was play'd by Meryll Van Streep (of the Boston Van Streeps, no doubt). She had apparently published writings on the proper preparation of succotash and hams and the like. She oft met with two other loose women to gossip and waste perfectly good hooch and pot pie.
To tell the truth, the pictures of Julia attending French cooking school brought about in me such a bout of indigestion that I was forced to enter the lobby and purchase fizzy tonic and chestnuts. Needless to say, I forgot to return for the ending and left early to enjoy a ham prepared by Mrs. Von Copperpot.
2 OF 5 TOP HATS
As far as I can tell, the material is taken from much more famous Vaudeville routines, and if Mr. Simmons isn't based entirely on comedian Mr. Charles Grapewin, I'll eat my hat. The "comedy" presented here is entirely too crass for polite society, and how! Many jokes concern genitals and fornication, and they even had the gall to include a woman onstage once or twice.
A focus for much of the show was on the friendship betwixt Misters Simmons and Wright. The former being a well established standing-up Vaudevillian and the latter being a lazy lollygagger who lives with two lads, a fat fellow and some sort of effeminate young three-letter man who play-acts at being a school teacher. Mister Wright is jealous of the talents and good fortune of his friend until he meets Mister Simmons and becomes his ward.
Somewhat into the picture, Mister Simmons learns the unfortunate news that he is afflicted with a rare pox and begins using experimental tonics from a snake-oil salesman. He goes a tad off his nuts, and varies betwixt treating Mister Wright with aplomb and applesauce. Much dramas come from his ill health and he learns quickly that he needs to live life on the ritz.
Many writings I'm afraid went over my head, as I haven't the foggiest what a My Space is or why characters spoke so often into a portable transistor radio not hooked up to anything.
Another piece of hooey in this picture comes from the hot toddie Miss Laura, being the vamp that Mister Simmons has affections for. I'm sure that she is there to teach him something-or-other, but as far as I'm concerned she wouldn't say boo to a goose.
As for how the picture ended, I'm afraid I can't be bothered to tell you as I exited the matinee at half-past four for my evening brandy.
4 of 5 Top Hats