Archive for the ‘Kind of Old’ Category

Jul
24

The Queen’s Corgi

Posted by Abbie on July 24, 2019 under Kind of Old

Three words: dark af

 

And I thought that during the first attempted murder. That was way before the blatant classism, domestic violence, and the second attempted murder in the form of arson. Seriously.

The Queen’s Corgi follows Rex, Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite dog, on a misadventure through the streets of London and eventually to a rehoming facility where he meets all sorts of characters who inevitably have not enjoyed the privilege Rex has known all his life. Sounds like an adorable family movie with plenty of ‘teachable moments’, right? Nope. What appears to be a cute little story about royal doggos is actually really messed up. Jack Whitehall’s voice doesn’t save it, the ruthless mocking of Donald Trump doesn’t save it, and gratuitous animated puppy fluffiness doesn’t save it.

This movie aspires to walk the tightrope perfected by Pixar and Dreamworks of being appropriate for children while also including the odd innuendo and adult joke in order to make it not too mind numbing for parents. Sadly, it does not succeed. The plot points designed to engage young kids are scarier than necessary, and the in-jokes for older kids and parents are not light and playful; they’re heavy handed and uncomfortable. An excellent example is Prince Philip. As comic relief, he doesn’t much care for the Queen’s beloved dogs. However, he doesn’t just dislike them – he actually physically kicks them and his bedtime reading material is literally ‘How to Kill My Dog’. High five, nWave pictures, you took it too far!

The best I can say for this movie is that maybe it will inspire kids to ask questions about why bullies hit their girlfriends, why all the baddies had certain accents, or what to do when friends try to drown you or burn you alive…

 

 

May
30

Aladdin

Posted by Abbie on May 30, 2019 under Kind of Old

Ah, the much anticipated live action Aladdin reboot. The story is familiar, so I won’t bore you with an unnecessary synopsis and instead just cut right to it.

I was pleasantly surprised by Will Smith, who paid homage to Robin Williams’ iconic genie character, but who also took the role and made it his own. I was less impressed with Jafar who, unlike the iconic cartoon baddie, had no real presence or feeling of true evil. He was just a power hungry courtier with no sinister depth.

Likewise, Aladdin himself was a little blah.

The real joy was Jasmine. The impotent, token effort at autonomy the animated Jasmine had in the 90’s has been brought into the present, with all of its alarming backsliding into the veritable dark ages of women’s rights. She has what I’ve come to call a ‘Let It Go moment’; a new song all to herself in which she basically informs the world that she is done being told what to do. I’m glad Disney has stepped up their female character game but, at the same time, the audience is left wondering what purpose Aladdin really serves. His only role in the whole movie is to be Jasmine’s love interest which I would be fine with, except the movie is called ‘Aladdin’! Jasmine completely steals the show and makes him a footnote in his own story.

Actually, the more I think about that the happier I am about it.

 

Jan
03

Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz – a Pegg and Frost Double Bill

Posted by Abbie on January 3, 2008 under Kind of Old

There are not enough positive adjectives for me to give Shaun of the Dead adequate praise. For lovers of horror, comedy, and romantic comedy alike this film delivers. The script and characters are all brilliantly and cleverly written. The lead character Shaun (Simon Pegg) goes from predictable underachiever to hero by trying to save his friends and mother (and some other people he doesn’t really like) when most of Britain is inexplicably turned to zombies. And oh, the references. Not only are there fantastic musical references, (and a wonderful scene including choreographed moves that can’t quite be called dancing, and Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen) but Shaun of the Dead also includes subtle jokes pertaining to other great zombie flicks, namely the recent 28 Days Later.

Hot Fuzz, however, is kind of a let down. Especially after being dazzled by the genius of Shaun of the Dead, which had the same writers, director, and lead cast members. That’s not to say it’s not funny; like its superior big brother, Hot Fuzz does have its moments of gratuitous gore and great film references (mostly to other cop buddy movies and to Shaun of the Dead) but the mystery in the plot just doesn’t work. Nick Angel (Pegg) is a no-nonsense London cop who gets transferred to a small village in the middle of nowhere. Before long Angel suspects an obvious culprit of being behind a string of mysterious deaths the townspeople are all too willing to write off as accidents. Without giving away the ending, as I said, the culprit and the ending are both fairly obvious. There’s just not a lot of fun in watching a film with no conflict. Also, Nick Frost’s character of Angel’s overzealous sidekick just isn’t believable after the spot-on acting he did as Ed in Shaun of the Dead. In its defence, though, it does offer some lighthearted yet good satire of rural towns and of English life in general. If you’re just going to watch one, make it Shaun of the Dead. But if, like me, you’re sad and like to do themed movie nights, take Hot Fuzz in stride as the one that’s not as great, but still deserves recognition and needs to be shown.

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Dec
28

The Da Vinci Code

Posted by Abbie on December 28, 2007 under Kind of Old

Once this film is taken out of the cloud of mystery, debate and criticism that it was born into as an anticipated cinematic version of a very popular, yet very stigmatised, book, it’s not too bad. I must admit that despite the ethics involved in reviewing films for a public forum, I had my doubts. But as far as dramatic thrillers go, The Da Vinci Code works. Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou get caught up in the secrets of the Catholic church, which leads them on a wild goose chase around Europe trying to avoid the detection of authorities, an evil plotting monk, and the infamous ‘Teacher;’ the leader of a secret society dedicated to protecting the identity of Christ’s living relatives. The film is fast paced, and requires a strong willful suspension of disbelief (‘Wait a minute, how does that bishop’s mobile phone work on an airplane? And how did that guy get to point B-wasn’t he just at point A? Do professional academics really have the money to be flying around Europe at a moment’s notice?’ Best not to ask questions – just watch the movie). But ignoring such technical details is necessary for any film within this genre. The Da Vinci Code is no more or less believable than any thriller, but I would venture to say that it is more creative and generally entertaining than others. There is no dragging lull in the middle of the story, no annoyingly repetitive problems the characters have to face, and no point at which you just want the one guy to go do the thing so the movie can finally be over. That of course means there is no good time to go use the toilet or get more popcorn, but honestly, you may not even notice that you need to go or that you’re still hungry; it holds your attention that well. Direction by Ron Howard is of course fantastic, and the casting isn’t bad either. Audrey Tautou is just so cute I want to smack her a little bit, but she’s not the typical ineffectual female lead. Tom Hanks’ character may know all the background information, but Tautou’s character’s no idiot. And even though it’s a little hard to picture a monk driving a shiny car and using a mobile phone, Paul Bettany as the creepy monk is perfect. All in all, even though thrillers are not really my thing, I’d say The Da Vinci Code is pretty good. Definitely worth seeing at least once.

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