More DVD hell (mostly)

2:37

This is an Australian film about a bunch of school kids who are suffering from various major crises. The big question is which one killed herself. (Oops! What a giveaway.) The big answer is the one who had the fewest problems apart from being a little invisible. It’s not a bad film, but it’s a bit like a soap opera in which life is one long crisis that never destroys anyone, although it ought to if life was really like that.


Attack of the Gryphon.

Low budget fantasy flick about a sorcerer who conjures up a gryphon to defend the nation, and then decides to rule the world. Only Amber Benson and her boyfriend can stop him by using a horny unicorn. Or something like that. Benson shows that given the right script, she can act as badly as the next B-movie luvvie. The sorcerer’s sidekicks looked like (and probably were) fugitives from the world of softcore porn films. Slutty Witch #2 really needed to be told that implants that big look grotesque and unattractive.


The Black Hole.

If you were to be given a choice between The Black Hole and a Bulgarian comedy classic from the 1950s (with subtitles in Basque), you’d be well-advised to opt for the latter. The Black Hole is an example of what happens when you get bad actors together in a bad movie. The acting is appalling, with lines delivered like slices of pizza being thrust carelessly through a letterbox and usually just getting squashed against the door. The dialogue is appalling and has such non sequiturs as, “Will Dad be OK?” “There’s milk and cookies inside.” Seriously.

I must admit that my favourite character was the Black Hole itself which, sad to say, failed to destroy the cast as they so richly deserved. I think Kristy Swanson might want to do another pictorial for Playboy after this.


The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift.

I saw the original film on a plane. I can’t recall anything about it exactly. In this one, our hero gets sent to Japan where he instantly starts doing exactly what he did in the States, but with a bunch of Japanese wide boys and their porn star girlfriends. There’s the chief wide boy who’s also the Drift King, his slutty girlfriend who piques the interest of the gaijin, and you can guess what happens. Brrrmmm! Brrrmmm!


Final Days of Planet Earth.

This appears to be a two-part TV miniseries in which bug queen, Daryl Hannah, plots to conquer the world from the town hall and massacres her way through her top advisers. She’s opposed by a motley crew led by an archaeologist and a deranged astronaut.

Yeah, it’s utter crap.


The Good Shepherd.

This is the story of the establishment of the CIA, focusing on the robotic Edward Wilson who was a member of the Skull and Bones society and initially recruited by the FBI to spy on Nazi sympathisers at his university (although as it turns out, the chief sympathiser was working for MI 6). The film cuts back and forth between the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs Incident and the events which marked out Wilson’s career to that time.

Matt Damon makes an excellent mini robot whose marriage to Angelina Jolie after a night of passion is a Bad Idea and whose son, desperate for some parental approval, decides to marry an enemy agent. (She gets chucked out of a plane probably on Wilson’s orders.) It’s all grubby, murky, and laced with Cold War paranoia.


Kampfansage: Die Letzte Schüler.

It’s post-apocalyptic Germany. Some violent, skinny gay guy with this weedy beard is the evil boss. He hangs out with a lot of grubby, sweaty men without any shirts on. He fights Jonas who knows this super secret martial arts technique. And in the end, the bad guy falls off the roof of his HQ to a well-deserved demise. If only he’d fallen on the people making this film…


The King Maker.

Crap from Thailand in which everyone speaks English with the weirdest pronunciation, even John Rhys-Davies who seems to have fallen on hard times since Indiana Jones and Sliders if he’s appearing in something this dire. The evil queen, I hope, has gone back to pole dancing in the clubs in Bangkok, and the skinny babe is back doing ads for hair care products and bikinis.


Le Royaume des Voleurs.

In spite of the title, this isn’t actually a French film, but I can’t be bothered to track down the English. It’s another Robin Hood romp, but mainly about his daughter played by Keira Knightley. The story is that Richard I is dead from a surfeit of choirboys. In his place, his illegitimate son Philip is meant to be the new king, but Prince John is plotting against him aided by the Sherrif of Nottingham. (Gentlemen, start twirling those moustaches.) Keira, pissed off at her Dad for always buggering off after Richard (although I’m sure the king was the one who buggered around), decides to cut her hair short and get in on the action. Actually, she merely succeeds in looking like a naturally skinny girl with short-ish hair who can’t act. Yeah, Keira’s acting in this is terrible. She’s like a shrieky teenager who thinks that huffy = resolution.

The guy who played Prince John clearly had fun with his role and rants away like Herod.

History, on the other hand, got kicked in the nuts, when Philip somehow becomes King of England.


Tideland.

This film is some seriously dull, seriously f_cked up shit. How dull? I checked how long the film had been going at about the 50 minute mark and found that not only had less time dragged by but there was also still over an hour to go. Basically, this girl has junkies for parents. For example, she prepares her father’s fix. Her mother dies and after her father sets the bed on fire, he and his daughter disappear off into the countryside where he ODs and slowly rots in a rocking chair until the local crazy lady guts him and sews his skin back together. And that was about as far as I got. I know it’s supposed to be arty, gritty and edgy, but it’s dull, dull and dull.


Tristan + Isolde.

The film is an adaptation of original story, which means that some Hollywood hack shot it and then beat it to death with a club afterwards. Once again, history says, “Boot me in the bollocks a bit harder this time” as we’re expected to believe that the Kingdoms of Britain (Angles, Saxons, Welsh etc.) are all fighting against the evil Irish; there’s writing (in Dark Age Britain??); roll-up maps (also with writing on them); literate princes who can sign their names; and ready-made stadiums where they can fight for entertainment of the mob. There’s no mention of the love potion either (‘cos that’d be too unreal).

The acting is better in this than the other fantasy farces I happened to have watched on this occasion, although the setting shows little regard for history. There’s none of the usual attempts to make all the dialogue sound Shakespearian, although Isolde apparently recites some poetry by John Donne. Hmmm. Was there some hole in the space-time continuum? Perhaps they should’ve kept the love potion in the story after all.

And what’s the deal with the ‘+’ in the title?

You can read more about Tristan and Isolde here (Timeless Myths) and here (tristanandisolde.net).

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