23 February-1 March 2009

March 21 2009 at 9:36 am (The list)

prod_v8The Producers (1968)

Struggling stage show producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) resorts to swindling old ladies out of money to put on plays. When jittery accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) knocks on his door to do his books, he realises that a flop could be more financially successful than a hit. Together they plan to put on the worst show ever seen hoping for it to last just one night, but the show they find, ‘Springtime for Hitler’, turns out to be unexpectedly hilarious. At once ironically taboo (as only a Nazi-glorifying musical can be) and warmly innocent, Mel Brooks’ debut is a comedy masterclass. Full of dazzling wordplay and chaotic characters, it’s refreshing to watch especially since what passes for brilliant comedy today is lazy plotting and an over reliance on bodily fluids.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Shame list total: 1,221

 

the-host-poster1The Host (2006)

When teenage Hyun-seo (Ah-sung Ko) is taken to the lair of a human-eating beast’s lair in the sewer beneath Seoul’s Han River, her family go on a quest to rescue her. By using Spielberg’s take on The War of the Worlds as a template by focusing on a single family’s point of view, co-writer/director Joon-ho Bong creates an emotional yet fast-paced atmosphere. An opening scene in which a morgue employee disposes of hundreds of bottles of formaldehyde by simply tipping them down the sink thereby creating the mutated behemoth, was based on a real event. However, Bong wisely doesn’t ram the environmental message home too heavily. Instead, he gives us an ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek caper, although it doesn’t quite scale the dizzy heights of, say, Tremors. Still, apart from the smooth direction and energetic performances, particularly from Kang-ho Song as Ah-sung Ko’s father, it’s worth watching for the quite remarkable creature, created with such loving detail that Bong apparently treated it like another actor and modelled its movements on those of a human. If only Hollywood treated its CG creations with as much care and attention.

 

Rating: 4/5

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