Further film reviews

The Keeper.

An Iranian boy living in the States learns something of the life of Omar Khayyam from his brother who lies dying in hospital. The brother dies before he can finish the story and the boy goes on a trek across the world to learn the rest of the story. The contemporary sequences are intercut with the story of Omar Khayyam himself.

The latter, I thought, were rather stagey, the performances being somewhat wooden. The guy playing Omar Khayyam could’ve been as easily replaced by that Japanese robot in the previous entry for all the range he displayed. Same, too, for the actor who played Omar’s best friend.


Extras.

I bought this in Hong Kong because although it may turn up here on the Mainland, there’s no guarantee that it ever will. I hadn’t seen the final two episodes of the first series which include the one with Patrick Stewart who sends himself up without mercy with his screenplay in which he has powers which cause women’s clothes to fall off.

I had a squint at the second DVD which has all the extra stuff including some outtakes, most of which seem to be Ricky Gervais cracking up with that squeaky, screechy laugh of his.


My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

A daft, lame-brained caper in which boy meets girl. Girl turns out to be a bit of a head case. Boy dumps girl. Bad move, dude! She has super powers. Fortunately other boy likes girl. Everything ends happily.

Can I use the ¥6 excuse? Yeah, I guess. Actually, I’d never heard of it, so it must’ve sunk like a lead balloon full of mercury. I think I’ll plead ignorance.


Keeping Mum.

A Britcom which I’d never heard of although I’d seen the DVD several times. Rowan Atkinson is the vicar whose family is out of control until the new nanny arrives and “takes care” of things.

Not exactly an Ealing Comedy, but it ticks along quite nicely as Maggie Smith irons out some wrinkles (and wrinklies). I’m not sure I quite liked the end, not because, as some people have complained, of what happens to the men who are there to drain the pond, but because of the assumption so the mother, therefore the daughter.


The Lake House.

This is another film I’d never heard of. Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves have a relationship via a post box. The catch is that he’s in 2004. but she’s in 2006. From what I’ve seen, it wasn’t well received critically. but I thought the storyline was well enough crafted. It’s certainly worth a second viewing because you’ll then understand the plot better.

I thought the big hole (excluding, of course, the warping of space-time) was that Bullock and Reeves met several times, but never joined the dots. Each time it was as if they’d never met before. The pair of them also got to act their age, which seemed a little more realistic to me than, say, Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment.

This won’t go down as a classic film, but it’s a long, long way from a steaming pile of poo…


The Break-up.

…which is more than can be said for this. Within thirty seconds I knew that I probably wasn’t going to last the course with this one, and about ten minutes later I called time. I must have a strong pain threshold.

Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston? Yeah, right. That whole thing they’re supposed to have had sounds like some sort of attempt to stir some interest in a film where the extermination of the cast and production crew would win universal plaudits. (Of course, I can’t speak for Kim Jong Il who probably thought it was the best thing he’s seen in years. But then again, he’s two feet short of a midget.)

¥6 badly spent.


Foxfire.

An outing for Angelina Jolie from 1996. She plays a homeless girl who helps four friends through a difficult patch. For no particular reason, she turns up at their school one day and starts helping them fight against their oppressors (parents; teachers; the football team).

In spite of her homelessness, la Jolie obviously has a great skin and hair care regimen. A curiosity buy.


Superman Returns.

Indeed he does, but without the depth. Brandon Routh looks the part, but lacks the presence. Kate Bosworth, who played Lois Lane, seemed way to young to be some ace reporter. If she’d been playing the school alpha bitch, then I might’ve believed it.

It’s a pity that Kevin Spacey, who played Lex Luthor, didn’t get more time on screen, although he would easily have stolen the whole show from Routh and the film would have to have been Lex Luthor Returns.

Another Superman film. What’s on ITV?


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I bought this partly out of curiosity and partly because I might be able to show it to my [gritted teeth]lovely little darlings[/gritted teeth] some time. The latter is unlikely to happen any time soon.

It follows the basics of the original story with five obnoxious children and Charlie winning the opportunity to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory where each of them meets with a richly deserved fate. In the book, Charlie also slips by ignoring Willy Wonka’s injunctions, but redeems himself by showing his loyalty. In the film, Charlie gets through without falling victim to temptation, but refuses to leave his family to live with a man who’s somewhat older than he is. (You can see where this train of thought it leading.)

As a result, Willy Wonka learns the value of families.

I saw the original film many years ago, but I have a feeling that the style of the two is rather similar and that like the first version, this is rapidly going to look dated. I’m not sure that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would really work as anything but a cartoon. The interior of the factory always ends up looking like an acid trip, or the future as conceived in the 1960s or 1970s, or a page from Dr Seuss. Willy Wonka remains a smug, annoying bastard, and although the rich kids are vile and obnoxious, I wouldn’t have minded if he’d been given a taste of his own medicine as well.

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