26 May-1 June 2008

June 3 2008 at 10:19 pm (The list)

Only one film ticked off the shame list last week, partly due to my addiction to Britain’s Got Talent and partly due to the good weather which means I spent a lot of my weekend at the beach. Anyway, ticked off the list last week:

It Happened One Night (1934)
The first winner of the ‘big five’ at the Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay) and it’s easy to see why. This timeless comedy perfectly pitches Clark Gable’s slick know-it-all reporter against Claudette Colbert’s spoiled daddy’s girl as they meet and travel to New York together. It’s a great road movie with some charming comic set pieces. The two leads sparkle and their relationship is wonderfully developed with some good laughs on the way, especially from Gable.

Rating: 5/5

Total must sees seen: 222

Shame list total: 779

Also watched last week:

Eagle vs. Shark (2007)
I enjoy independent films but I find sometimes they can be a bit too ‘kooky’ for their own good. This New Zealand comedy is reminiscent of Napoleon Dynamite which I wasn’t too impressed with. Loren Horsley plays Lily, a shy girl who gets fired from her job at fast food emporium Meaty Boy burgers. She’s in love with Jarrod, and after gatecrashing his party they start a relationship. Together they travel to Jarrod’s hometown so he can settle a score with his school bully.

There are some laughs but it’s all very subtle and everyone mumbles. The other trouble is that, like Napoleon Dynamite, Jarrod is a loser who thinks he’s a winner which makes him difficult to root for. In the end, it’s a rather sweet romantic comedy but it’s a bit haphazard.

Rating 3/5

What Happens In Vegas (2008)
It’s easy to be dubious of a film whose title alone inspires a bad review. Everyone who has seen this film chants the obvious mantra of ‘should have stayed in Vegas’. Sadly, that’s a pretty accurate summing up of this dreary walk through of every rom-com cliché you’ve ever seen. Ashton Kutcher gets fired and heads to Vegas to drown his sorrows. Cameron Diaz gets dumped and heads the same way to let her hair down. The two meet, get hammered, get married, get rich and try to get annulled. In a kerrayzee (and nonsensical plot twist) the judge will only let them keep the money if they attempt to ride out their marriage for six months. And ride it out they do, just like the audience does. It’s entirely predictable and thinks it’s much funnier than it is. Ashton’s constant shouting will make you feel woozier than watching Cloverfield with a hangover and Cameron’s reptilian smile threatens to engulf the entire film.

Rating: 2/5

Across The Universe (2007)
How can a musical that uses nothing but Beatles songs have slipped under the radar? It doesn’t make any sense. Anyway, set in the 1960s, Across the Universe follows Liverpudlian dock worker Jude to America to meet his father. While in the States, he befriends college student Max and falls in love with his sister Lucy. Cue lots of singing, dancing, drugs, psychadelia and Vietnam montages.

The main problem with this film is that the music is so familiar that you end up not caring about the story and waiting to hear the songs. After all, we all know which way the story is headed – the film might as well be called The Sixties: The Musical. Most of the characters are named after those in the Fab Four’s songs so you just know it’s a matter of time before someone starts singing ‘Dear Prudence’ and ‘Hey Jude’. Having said that, the performances are good and the songs are generally used well with some great directing – check out the brilliant ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ army recruitment scene.

As attempts to find a narrative through the Beatles’ music go, it’s well done but feels too long since we’ve been here before.

Rating: 3/5


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