Weekend Round-Up, Silly Film weekender!
Well it is Monday so it is the Weekend Round-Up post, this weekend was filled with silly brainless films, sound like fun right?
Recently I have been having a bit of a love affair with World Cinema dramas and of course the brilliant, but dark, Breaking bad. We decided this weekend that we would try and lighten the mood in FRC towers by having a bit of a silly film weekend.
It started on Friday night with the teen coming of age comedy set in the 80s, Take me Home Tonight. We follow that up on Saturday night with the remake of the classic Arthur. Finally on Sunday we had a little mission out with the girls to a free early screening of ‘Mr. Poppers Penguins’. So as you can see not a mind bender among them. I feel cleansed and ready to take on some more intense action this week with Breaking Bad Season 4!
I also want to bring attention to an amazing bit of talent in Brighton. A good friend of mine Anthony Carpendale a film maker and fellow Brightonian has just finished his short film Death Carts. The film is a black comedy about flesh eating shopping carts.
“’They’re not going to be pushed around any more’
See what happens when neglected shopping trolleys become feral and crave human flesh…
One night, in an area of London with a higher than average supermarket saturation, various bystanders fight to survive an onslaught of killer carts. Amongst them, a traffic cone wielding alkie, a lecherous photographer snapping trolley sex, a machine-gun toting vigilante, a night-shift office drone, and a stressed-out trolley attendant who knows their weakness…
Who will survive? “
Here is the film….
I really love the humour of the film and the I also felt the compassion towards these carts. They almost felt like wild animals being mis treated just trying to survive. I wish I had an ounce of Anthony’s talent.
OK enough of me pimping my friends work, here are the reviews of my weekend viewing….
From the opening credits and shot of a boombox playing ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ it is clearly apparent that ‘Take Me Home Tonight’ – a film that has been on the shelves so long that it is practically from the 80s era it is trying to depict – is not trying to try and undermine the clichés of the period and instead go for cheap nostalgia. Like other films recently released ‘Take Me Home Tonight’ faces the same soul searching question, it is clear that you can make an 80s sex comedy in 2011 (or 2007 when this film was actually made, says a lot right there) but why would you want to?
Topher Grace plays a MIT graduate whose big dreams have only led him to a disappointing job at the local mall video store. I found the role leans far to hard on Grace’s like-ability and I ended up not liking him at all and just wanted to give him a kick up the ass!! A chance meeting with his high school crush reignites Graces enthusiasm for life and he sets out on a crazy night to win the girl of his dreams by pretending to be a high flying banker.
While it was nice to see the largely missing in action Topher Grace in a lead role. His character with the ‘Rain Man’ like ability for crunching numbers was the only one with any distinction at all. All the other over qualified cast were literally brushed in very broadstrokes. Demetri Martin has a nice little cameo role as the high school class mate of Grace who doesn’t let being in a wheel chair stop him from being an ass.
I never really got that it was supposed to be set in the 80s. The comedy could have been set in any era. Just because someone wears a shiney suit and has funny hair does not make a good 80s homage!!
No way near as I was lead to believe by the damning and scare mongering reviews I read on its release, this engaging reworking of the classic 1981 comedy finds Russell Brand actually very charming in the role made famous by the great Dudley Moore.
In Liza Minnelli’s role we have Greta Gerwig, instead of a shoplifting waitress she is re-penned as a would be childrens author and tour guide. During one of these tours Arthur encounters Gerwig’s character and almost instantly falls in love with her. The problem is that our lovable billionaire is already engaged to a power hungry social climbing perfectionist all at the demand of his Mother. She believes that this arranged marriage will straighten him up and keep him out of the papers.
Arthur succeeds mainly because it leans very heavily on the comic timing and charm of Russell Brand, if you are not a fan of him then I don’t think this is the film for you! Brand brings not only humour but also self awareness. He is as good at the emotional final act as he is at the silly opening scenes. Greta Gerwigs character is also very well rounded, it is nice that the script made much more than the passive role that it could have turn into.
The shining light thoughout the film was Helen Mirren. She plays Arthurs long suffering Nanny. She brings a disapproving raised eyebrow that managed to keep everything on track. Almost like Judi Dench’s M in the recent Bond films.
All in all there are plenty of laughs and engaging characters, this time do not let the fact that it is a remake put you off.
Adapted from a 1938 children’s novel written by Richard and Florence Atwater. Mr Poppers Penguins has gone through some changes, from a small town painter and his family who inherit 12 penguins to a high flying Manhatton based property developer who is divorced and sees his kids on alternate weekends. Well at least there are still penguins right?
When the first of the tuxedo wearing Antarctic birds arrive on his doorstep, an inheirtance from his dead Father it turns out, our hero who is focused solely on becoming a partner in his firm tries his hardest to get rid of the pesky honking creature. But then Popper sees that the penguin may actually help him connect with his astranged children and wife.
Five more penguins arrive and start laying eggs! It is 101 Dalmations in bird form!!! OK maybe not but expect the usual pet hijinks – swimming in the toilet, sleeping in Poppers bed, invade a charity fund raiser – all the time with Carrey running around with his rubber face behind them.
In between all the schtick and potty humour (which my girls loved!!) life lessons are learnd and connections are made with both humans and birds alike. The gentle moments of the film were actually my favourite, Popper’s papa on a CB radio in the beginning, the Penguins Love of Chaplin movies and the estranged couples dates.
Carey plays well with others ands his chemistry with Gugino and the children actors shines through. Also a stndout for me is the young Ophelia Lovibond (great little british actress) as Poppers assistant with particular penchant for the letter P.
To conclude Mr. Poppers Penguins is a perfectly good family comedy that has enough meat on the bone for kids of all ages, parents included!!
Have you seen any of these films? Did you enjoy Death Carts? Comment Below