Tuesday 31 August 2010

Misleading Poster Of The Week

I feel it's my duty to point out to anyone going to see Mesrine (just released in the US) on the strength of this poster that it's not a French comedy about a grumpy bloke forced to go on a road trip by his wife. They don't have any farcical encounters that result in hilarious consequences and at no point does Monsieur Jacques find himself addressing a gathering of old ladies dressed only in his boxer shorts and sock suspenders.

Good job one of us has actually seen the film.

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Monday 30 August 2010

Bank Holiday Moviegasm

It's August Bank Holiday, which means it's probably raining so hard it feels like it's trying to force your house into the ground. There's nothing to do but surf the intertubes and watch the telly. Fortunately The Incredible Suit can provide advice on both fronts.

Intertubery should obviously be limited to this site and those it recommends (preferably just the former though), and when that's exhausted its limited appeal, here's what you should be sucking through your pupils for the rest of the day.

BBC1, 11.45am: Legend

Ridley Scott. The Cruiser. Tim Curry in the insanest horns in the history of horning. In all honesty I've never seen this film, but that's what Bank Holidays are for. Join me on Twitter for a live tweetorgy as we experience its might together.

Film 4, 3.10pm: The Time Machine
ITV4, 3.45pm: Flash Gordon

Difficult choice here. The Time Machine is an immaculate, beautiful piece of filmmaking that can't fail to touch your moviegland in delicious ways, while Flash Gordon is the only film ever made that is only legally possible to watch on a Bank Holiday. My head says Eloi and Morlocks but my heart bellows "GORDON'S ALIVE!!!" at brain-splitting volumes.

ITV2, 9.00pm Casino Royale
Film 4, 9.00pm Cloverfield

Another tricky choice. Cloverfield is so unfeasibly entertaining it should be banned under the Dangerously Cracking Movies Act, while Casino Royale is clearly the best 007 film for nearly 20 years and probably for the next 20 too. However, it's a Bank Holiday, so it's mandatory to bathe in Bond till your Walther PPK goes wrinkly.

ITV4, 11.55pm The Exorcist

A film for all moods. Fancy a chucklefest? Get the beers in and your mates round and laugh your ass off at this cheesy dated nonsense. Alternatively, if you want the willies properly put up you, make sure you're alone, turn off all the lights and scare the very faecal matter from your bowels with one of the most disturbingly terrifying films ever made. Two movies for the price of one!

And remember kids, whatever you watch, make the most of it. The next Bank Holiday is Christmas Day and you'll be forced to watch Spider-Man 3, Shrek The Third and Transformers. Bleurgh.

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Sunday 29 August 2010

Harold Lloyd: Bumping Into Broadway

I know it's tedious to present this in three chunks, but think of it as a lovely crackly old vinyl record you have to turn over. Twice. Only with pictures.

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Saturday 28 August 2010

Temporarily Named Saturday Playlist #3: Batman

Despite the continuing lack of a snappy name and a says-it-all logo, the temporarily-titled Saturday Playlist rumbles on in a persistent attempt to do things to your earholes that other blogs can only dream of.

This week's theme looks like this:

...and features the work of Neal Hefti (little-known composer of the TV series theme), Danny Elfman, Shirley Walker, Elliot Goldenthal, Christopher Drake, Robert J Kral, Kevin Manthei, Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, each of whom bring a different but entirely appropriate bat-sound to their respective incarnations of the pointy-eared grumpychops.

So pull on a pair of black tights, growl like a laryngitic lion and hang around with a skimpily-dressed boy half your age while these fine tunesmiths take you to Gotham City and back in an improbably ostentatious car. Pow!


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Friday 27 August 2010

Ultra Culture Cinema #04: Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Setting out to buck the trend that fourth instalments of a franchise are always doomed to failure, Ultra Culture Cinema once again put on a fabulous, gin-and-tonic-fuelled night of movies, music, amateur dramatics and special guests at London's ICA on Wednesday with their screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

The Incredible Suit wittered at length about the film itself here, and while I stand by what I said then it's fair to say that a) a second viewing is much more satisfying, and b) the campaign for a spin-off, Kim Pine vs. The World, in which the red-mop-topped czarina of cynicism beats her new boyfriend's seven evil exes by casting withering looks and raising a single eyebrow at them, starts here.

The evening began with a re-enactment of the film's trailer by various audience members, aided with props created by Ultra Culture Overlord Charlie Lyne and his team of depressingly young helpers:

The best actor, as decided by the rest of the audience, won an amazing prize, but let me tell you now that the guy who played Scott Pilgrim, who didn't win, was ROBBED.

After the film finished we were all very excited by the arrival of a special guest: Blurry Edgar Wright!

There was a quick Q&A, the third I've seen with Edgar in the last couple of weeks, but the only one in which I got to ask him: What would you rather, have Scott Pilgrim vs. The World become a universally adored box office smash but never be able to make another film with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, OR make another film with Simon and Nick but have Scott Pilgrim vs. The World become a universally hated flop?

Unsurprisingly Edgar drifted off midway through the question and didn't answer it sufficiently, but you'll be pleased to hear that he graciously accepted a scratty bit of paper full of equally inane questions and agreed to answer them in the fullness of time. See your court, Edgar Wright? That's where the ball is.

After all that we repaired to the bar, attached stickers to our persons and availed ourselves of the discounted gin and tonic.

Why Charlie Lyne refers to himself as "THE BOBB" is a mystery yet to be solved.

What followed then, I can only apologise for to anyone in the vicinity of central London. Ultra Culture had got hold of Rock Band 3 (which is apparently a big deal but means nothing to me - think Atari karaoke) and me and my team of ultimate badasses "performed" a version of 'Need You Tonight' by INXS. I think we were scored on our performance but nobody told us how we'd done, presumably as an act of kindness.

Having ruined everyone's night and contravened several noise pollution laws we quietly headed out into the night to think about what we'd done.

So thanks to the rockin' band, thanks to Axeman Sam for the video, thanks to Limara at Your Turn Heather for the band portrait and thanks to Ultra Culture and the ICA for another groovy evening.

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Thursday 26 August 2010

The Girl Who Played With Fire

Watching The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was like finding a chilled mojito in the desert after drinking your own wee for months. At last 2010 had something good to offer, and not only that but there were going to be two sequels within the year. Hooray!

Well, Hooroo. The Girl Who Played With Fire takes everything good about its predecessor and buries it six feet underground before telling the investigating officers that it must just be on a long holiday while desperately trying to clean the soil out of its nails.

While ...Dragon Tattoo took time to set up its characters, it still pushed the story forwards, keeping up the pace, injecting tension here and there and drip feeding clues as it went. Conversely, ...Played With Fire is a near-interminable series of long, dull, rambling scenes, some of which have people talking in them, some of which don't. Half way through you've forgotten the point of the story and the film isn't remotely interested in reminding you.

I'm laying the blame for this at the clogs of director Daniel Alfredson, because a) ...Dragon Tattoo director Niels Arden Oplev did a much better job - his film looked beautiful with its icy blue landscapes, while this looks like it was shot through a bowl of watery soup - and b) it can't be the source material's fault because everyone I know has an exciting incident in their underpants when you mention the books to them.

What rankles more than anything is the abundance of stoopid movie clichés littering this film. I thought I'd fallen into a Swedish Bond flick when I saw the near-mute henchman who's impervious to pain, but when his crippled boss gave a rambling explanatory monologue before half-heartedly leaving a character to die unsupervised, I think I may have emitted an audible groan. And in the unlikely event that I'd been in charge of the subtitling, I would have captioned the scene at the beginning where the protagonist is given a cigarette case for no obvious reason with the words "Thanks! That'll come in handy in the final act when I need something to save my life that the audience has forgotten about."

And don't get me started on the ludicrous survival of almost every character from a major beating; there must be something in the Swedish water that makes you resistant to being shot and buried underground overnight or getting an axe blade firmly rammed into your bonce.

So there you go. Appropriately this post is more boring than the one I wrote about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which doesn't bode well for my review of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, out in November. However when they're all remade by David Fincher with Daniel Craig playing Lisbeth Salander (I think that's right) it should be safe to come back and read without fear of slipping into unconsciousness.

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Monday 23 August 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

I was excited about Toy Story 3. I haemorrhaged patience waiting for Inception. But from the moment I saw the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World teaser, I was harnessing 1.21 gigawatts of energy to my Ford Fiesta to thrust it forwards in time to the point where I could have my senses frottled to screaming point by Edgar Wright's new amazagasm.

And that ludicrously high expectation is the problem. Because despite Scott Pilgrim vs. The World being a gloriously enjoyable way to spend 112 mind-smacking minutes, and probably my third-favourite film this year, I can't help but feel a niggling twinge of disappointment.

It's just one aspect of the film that stands at the door of my mind like a bouncer, telling all the great bits that their names aren't down and they're not coming in, but I'll ignore it for now to focus on what does make this film coruscating, demented fun.

It's fair to say that nobody's ever made a film that looks like this, and nobody else will. From the opening tweaked Universal fanfare and logo to the final pixellated smackdown, this movie isn't just eye-popping - it'll magnificently abuse your corneas, your retinas and your maculas and papillas to boot.

The fight scenes are incredible. It's rare these days to see a properly arranged, shot and edited fight scene in a movie, and here they come by the bucketload and in a variety of shifting aspect ratios. It doesn't matter that they come out of nowhere: Edgar Wright has described his film as like a musical where the characters break into rumbles instead of rhumbas; less musical, more bruisical.

While most of the cast are great (I still haven't come to terms with Michael Cera's whiny manchild), the supporting cast deserve an Oscar each. Kieran Culkin is deliciously laconic, Ellen Wong is appropriately annoying and Allison Pill is a freckly ginger countess of cool. And the soundtrack is all killer, no filler. Any film that uses Metric to portray the zenith of indie magnifence is fine by me.

Metric - Black Sheep

But the one thing that should hold all of this mayhem together, the crucial element needed to justify all the flaming-sword-swinging and wire-fu wows, is the one thing that's missing, and that's the heart. Above all else, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a love story, but I just didn't believe it. I completely identified with Scott's infatuation with Ramona, but I couldn't accept their relationship as the emotional core of the story.

For a start she's a complete pushover, agreeing to date him almost immediately. Identification goes out of the window like Scott evading Knives Chau. Then she spends the rest of the film standing moodily on the sidelines with her hands in her pockets, aloof and disinterested in Scott's plight at the hands of any of her evil exes. Why would you fight so hard for someone like that? By the end of the film I wasn't even sure whether Scott wanted to be with Ramona or not, and that seems like a bad place for a supposedly emotionally invested viewer to be.

There are other, minor flaws, but no more serious than any other good movie - which Scott Pilgrim vs. The World absolutely is. It's just that there's no way it could have met my expectations: when I wanted to love it like Scott loves Ramona, I only liked it like Ramona likes Scott.

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Sunday 22 August 2010

Charlie Chaplin: The Rink

God invented Sundays so that everyone could sit down and watch a bit of silent comedy. It says so in the Bible, I'm pretty sure.

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Saturday 21 August 2010

Still Unnamed Regular Saturday Feature #2: James Bond In The '60s

Given that our last highly pleasurable session of aural lovemaking wasn't a completely limp disappointment, we may as well go for sloppy seconds now that you're all warmed up.

Just to reiterate for unbelievably lucky / unforgivably late newcomers, this is a weekly playlist of movie music, bound by a common theme, that I like to imply took ages to craft into a perfectly arranged, mutually complimentary selection of interwoven tuneage but which I actually threw together a few minutes ago. You'll need to download Spotify to hear it, which you can do right here. It's free so don't get your credit card out unless you want to pay me for all the amazingness I've given you over the last year and a bit, which would be both lovely and long overdue.

This week it's music from the Bond films of the 1960s, which is obviously when it was at its most sleazily, sexifully ace. John Barry scored all six of the sixties' Bonds (we do not speak of the 1967 spoof Casino Royale in this house, although it does have an incredible soundtrack), and he did an unspeakably good job of it. His part in creating the Bond of the films is as important as directors Terence Young and Guy Hamilton, producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Salzman, set designer Ken Adam and even that Scottish milkman with the dodgy syrup.

So to get you in the mood, why not have casual sex with a string of improbably beautiful women, blow up a military installation, make a dreadful one-liner and enjoy some of the sounds that LITERALLY CHANGED THE WORLD.


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Friday 20 August 2010


"Who is Salt?", we have been continuously asked on movie posters across the land, under which the words "Angelina Jolie" appear, thus bringing a swift and satisfying conclusion to this brief conundrum.


Sadly the film of Salt takes considerably longer to answer the question, and it concludes that Salt is:
  • A woman who is incapable of kicking anyone without first running half way up a wall
  • A woman who works for the CIA, who interrogate defectors using an amazing device which can detect both lies and cancer
  • A woman who lives in a world where windows are used as exits more often than doors, and are glazed with that magic movie glass that shatters at the slightest impact but doesn't leave a single mark on anyone passing through it
  • A woman whose life is like an entire series of 24 condensed into 100 minutes
  • A woman who tediously sets herself up for a franchise despite making only an average movie
  • A woman. I know this because I saw a BBC interview where Angelina Jolie said: "I've done a lot of action films as a woman"

I can't help but think that Sony have missed a marketing trick with the poster though, so I decided to help them out:

Bonus LOL: The IMDb Parents' Guide can always be relied on to provide over-zealous profanity warnings:
It's true, she does say "Dorn", in a scene in which she spots Michael Dorn, the actor who plays Worf in Star Trek.

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Thursday 19 August 2010

Edgar Wright vs Joe Cornish

On Tuesday night I went back to the BFI, where I seem to spend more time than I do in my own house at the moment, to watch two titans of popular culture face each other in an arena of chat. Radio host, movie writer and director (although probably best known as the guy who did this amazing interview with The Incredible Suit) Joe Cornish sat down with TV and movie director and future The Incredible Suit interviewee (if I ever get my way) Edgar Wright to lightly griddle him about his life's work.

Unsurprisingly, it was a tremendous evening. Joe took Edgar from his very first filmmaking efforts with a camera he won on BBC1's Saturday morning Schofest Going Live! through his first feature A Fistful Of Fingers to his current era-defining movie Keith Pilgrim vs The World, as Mrs The Incredible Suit insists on calling it.

While the effortlessly hilarious dialogue between the two was like bathing in liquid giggles with chuckle bubbles, the highlights were the clips Joe had dug out of Edgar's early work. Shorts like Celebrity Fraud, Rolf Harris 2: The Bearded One and Dead Right (available to watch here if you haven't got the Hot Fuzz DVD), which he shot in his late teens, showed the kind of precocious talent that was only ever going to a) result in a genius and b) get him beaten up in the playground.

The big surprise, though, was the chance to see nuggets from A Fistful Of Fingers, Edgar's debut feature shot on 16mm film with a £10,000 budget. Empire readers will have seen in this month's issue that the film has already passed into legend, being harder to get hold of than a greased Jason Statham.

The segment we saw was as snappily edited and packed with visual gags as any of Edgar's later output. Some jokes clearly took ages to set up for the briefest of appearances, demonstrating the patience and tenacity of a man determined to put his vision on the screen.

After we'd seen more clips from Spaced, Shaun, Hot Fuzz and Keith Pilgrim, the floor was opened up for questions. I didn't get a chance to ask Edgar what his favourite colour is because Joe Cornish poo-pooed me in favour of the man next to me. Joe did namecheck The Incredible Suit though so I suppose I'll forgive him.

So thanks to Joe, Edgar and the BFI for a great night, and in the unlikely event that Britain's Hottest Director is reading, get in touch! I've got loads more perceptive questions to ask you, although "What's your favourite colour?" is about as piercingly interrogatory as it gets.

Videbonus: They didn't show this video for Charlotte Hatherley's marvellous earworm 'Bastardo', which Edgar directed, so here it is. See if you recognise anyone in it.

I am so good to you it hurts my toes.

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Wednesday 18 August 2010

The Expendables

Thinking about watching The Expendables?


Just read this bit of the script:

Now stick your head between two pneumatic drills and stare at this picture for 90 minutes:

You'll thank me for this one day.

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Tuesday 17 August 2010

Pavel The Animator

You may recall me muttering something about a clip I saw at Movie-Con in which Adam Buxton played the part of a mental East European animator with deep, deep personal issues. Well, I don't know if they meant to do it but Empire stuck it in the middle of an article on Harry Potter, so I thought I'd do the decent thing and share it.

Expect this to be taken down when they realise what they've done, and I shall await various cease and desist orders likewise. Not that I'll be able to do anything about it if it happens tonight because I'm off to see Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish babbling at each other at the BFI. Huzzah!

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Black Dynamite

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaages ago, I saw a trailer for Black Dynamite. It looked like this:

Then, what feels like three years later, I saw it in cinemaphonic quadrovision, and it was indeed righteous.

Black Dynamite is a blaxploitation spoof in love with the genre it parodies and recreates it not just with tongue in cheek but with the utmost respect. And it's accurate too: in fact I'd say it's as realistic-looking as the ultimate blaxploitation movie, Live And Let Die.

Afros are so huge they're orbited by small moons, crash zooms and deliberate continuity errors abound and the sound effects whenever Black Dynamite punches anyone appear to have been achieved by dropping a Christmas Cracker factory on a firework factory. There's also an animated sex scene which rivals Team America's for inventive rudery.

Michael Jai White is astounding as the eponymous hero - even his mother and aunt call him 'Black Dynamite' - with pecs the size of tectonic plates (but really titchy nipples) and a moustache that threatens to out-fuzz Tom Selleck's. The fights are perfectly choreographed, shot and edited for maximum skull-cracking effect and the humour comes from exploiting the conventions of the genre rather than stoopid gags about flares and big lapels. The film's crowning glory is the surprise villain and his diabolical plot - I won't spoil it here but it's perfect for this movie and makes for a very satisfying finale.

The plot gets a bit muddled at times, with Black Dynamite's goal of finding his brother's killer frequently getting forgotten about for long stretches, and while it is chucklesome it never quite brings the LOLs. And if anyone can make any sense of the baffling scenes over the end credits, let me know. They look like they should be outtakes but feel more like deleted scenes from the DVD. Still, it's impossible not to love a film with the kind of poster that would cause Quentin Tarantino to have an accident in his nethers:

Black Dynamite is showing in about eight cinemas across the UK. This is bad. Not superbad, bad bad.

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Monday 16 August 2010

Movie-Con III: Day 3

The final day of Movie-Con had a more relaxed pace than Saturday, which was a relief because I was starting to live life like it was a trailer, getting annoyed with all the gaps in conversations and music failing to drop out every time I made a crap joke.

A long scene from Tron: Legacy showing Garrett Hedlund being transported through the bowels of an Xbox raised my interest in the film by 1%, which means I might watch it on the telly. The 3D was good though, which is something I'll never admit actually thinking or writing if pressed.

I'm similarly disinterested in Machete, although the scene in which the titular Mexican mentalist abseils from a window with the aid of someone's large intestine certainly caught my attention.

Battle: Los Angeles looks like a less slick Independence Day with equally little irony; a fight scene from The Green Hornet was better than the trailers we've seen so far, and Ironclad is a gory medieval sword-orgy directed by a man called Jonathan English. Johnny, as he didn't call himself, introduced a clip with all the enthusiasm of a teenager reading an essay on Flemish porridge farming, then pulled a face when, during his panel, people asked his cast about their other projects. Quite right too. Why would the Empire Movie-Con audience want to quiz Jason Flemyng about Kick-Ass 2 rather than a film set in Rochester Castle starring Paul Giamatti as King of England?

Future best mates of The Incredible Suit Simon Pegg and Nick Frost turned up to introduce a long trailer for Paul, which was very pleasing. I'm slightly worried it might end up like one of Pegg's "other" comedies (you know what I mean), but to see the eponymous alien extending a middle finger and proclaiming "It's probing time" was good enough for now.

Undisputed nadir of the weekend came in the form of a diabolical gobbet of guff about Resident Evil: Afterlife, in which director and unbearable imbecile Paul WS Anderson repeatedly and ill-advisedly compared his film to Avatar before stating, with a completely straight face, that "You make a better product when you make it in 3D". Words fail me, although two very obvious ones spring to mind immediately.

Later on I failed to win the Bastard Hard Movie Quiz, and failed to get excited about the impending "re-version" (dear God) of Brighton Rock, although director Rowan Joffe offered a robust defence of his film and explained some of his artistic decisions clearly and interestingly. I liked him enormously but I doubt I'll go and see his film.

Then I saw Scott Pilgrim vs The World. More on that another day.

So that was Movie-Con III. In short, there was too much footage we'd all seen on the internet already but the exclusive stuff, the guests and other assorted fun made the weekend a big hairy bag of geeky funballs, and I congratulate Empire and the BFI for organising it just for me.

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Sunday 15 August 2010

Movie-Con III: Day 2

Yesterday left me feeling like I'd spent seven hours being run over by a 3D CGI steamroller driven by Trailer Voiceover Man. As much as I love trailers, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. It's also possible to have too much of an average thing, a category into which much of yesterday's footage neatly falls.

Before I get my grump on though, I should mention the goodie bags. There they were, waiting for us like packed stockings on Christmas morning, and - like packed stockings on Christmas morning - there were only really two great presents:

Not that I was ungrateful for the A-Team box set, the New Moon DVD, all the t-shirts or any of the other stuff. It'll all make great actual Christmas presents (except maybe the London Film Museum lanyard). But you can't beat Jelly Belly, and Bitch Slap, well, I'll enjoy finding out if you can beat that.

Anyway I saw so much footage and saw so many panels that I should only really tell you about the awful stuff and the great stuff. So:

The Awful Stuff

The teaser for Captain America is predictably abominable and abominably predictable. Stock WWII footage, some fancy graphics and a shot of Chris Evans in an embarrassingly bad costume that looks like he sewed it himself while drunk does not an appetite whet.

There was other awful stuff but I'm politely glossing over it in favour of:

The Great Stuff

My Cowboys And Aliensometer has returned to the "enthusiastic" position. Daniel Craig looks ace as a cowboy with his face hewn from Monument Valley rock, and Harrison Ford being old and cantankerous is exactly what the world needs right now. On yesterday's evidence this could be Jon Favreau's redemption for Iron Man 2.

Monsters, which I had lazily dismissed as a District 9 clone, might just be better than District 9. The stuff we saw included bonkers creatures and intimate character moments, but the highlight was a Q&A with writer / director / cinematographer / production designer / God knows what else Gareth Edwards, one of the most genuine, down-to-earth people to grace the Movie-Con stage. He was immediately likeable and I hope to Christ his film is good because he deserves to go far.

And I've already banged on about Buried, but watching the first eight minutes of the movie and then listening to its excitable, hilarious, self-deprecating director Rodrigo Cortés giggle with glee at how much shit he put Ryan Rodney Reynolds through to make this film just made me want to see it more.

Apart from all that, Chloe Moretz is a 30-year-old in a 13-year-old's body, Cary Elwes is a rogueish raconteur and Daniel Radcliffe is tiny and needs a haircut.

Then some guy proposed to his girlfriend on stage, everyone stood up to applaud, and in doing so I lost my pen and therefore failed to write anything else down, which I imagine comes as some relief.

Still more tomorrow!

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Saturday 14 August 2010

Movie-Con III: Day 1

My new regular Saturday feature has already been shunted out of the way because this weekend I'm spending unhealthy amounts of time surrounded by like-minded geeks in obscure movie-referencing t-shirts at London's BFI, wherein Empire magazine's third annual Movie-Con is being held. If you're unaware of the intricacies of the event, imagine 500 nerds in a room watching random bits of footage of unfinished films. Sounds tremendous doesn't it?

Oh and the Con in Movie-Con is short for "confiscated", as in "your phone will be, to prevent you from posting wobbly footage of trailers that are already online or will be in a matter of days".

Day 1 started yesterday evening with Empire's Chris Hewitt carpet bombing us with excruciating jokes until we couldn't take any more and the first bit of footage was shown: an exclusive trailer for Danny Boyle's new movie and this year's London Film Festival closer, 127 Hours, starring James Franco.

127 Hours is a true story about a man who literally gets stuck between a rock and a hard place (for about 127 hours, I'm guessing) and has to resort to desperate measures to extricate himself. The trailer doesn't tell you much more than that and I'm not about to start describing trailers because that's been proven to be the least exciting thing anyone can do on the internet.

Danny Boyle turned up for a quick Q&A, was very funny, relaxed and charming, spoiled the end of his film and expressed a desire to do a musical or animated film next. SCOOP.

Following that the rather excellent director-producer team of Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith showed up to promote a film they had nothing to do with, utterly mentile Belgian animation A Town Called Panic. They showed some clips and a trailer that have already been on YouTube for months, and which were projected at the wrong aspect ratio so we couldn't read the subtitles. Fortunately they won us over with a clip of Adam Buxton pretending to be a belligerent Belgian animator, so we forgave them.

Next was the LFF's opening film Never Let Me Go's trailer, which everyone has also seen already. There was another quick Q&A with two of its producers, Andrew Macdonald and some other bloke, which was a bit dull until Macdonald started talking about his next project, Judge Dredd, at which point the audience woke up and got excited when he announced that it would be (surprise) a gritty, R-rated version of the comic, and that Dredd - played by Karl Urban - would keep his helmet on this time. Everyone was very happy about that, except Karl Urban presumably.

The main event was a screening of The Expendables, during which everybody clapped and cheered whenever anyone got shot (which was quite frequently), and then there was a party but by that time I was on a tube home surrounded by Australians in togas.

More tomorrow!

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Friday 13 August 2010

The Incredible Suit's Largely Unpopular But Firmly Held Opinions

Recently, Twitter folk indulged in a spot of self-flagellation by fessing up to their most embarrassing thoughts about the world of movies. Annoyingly, this came as I was about to launch a new feature cumbersomely entitled "The Incredible Suit's Largely Unpopular But Firmly Held Opinions", in which I would drive readers away in their trillions by sharing some thoughts that only a select few other misunderstood geniuses might share.

Undeterred by the understandable misapprehension that I get all my ideas from Twitter, I've decided to blunder ahead anyway with what could conceivably get me the most hate mail so far. Alternatively, it might convince other minority groups to come out of the closet of shame and shelter under The Incredible Suit's umbrella of tolerance from the rain of derision and the howling wind of ridicule. It's not a very big umbrella though so some of you might get wet.

The Incredible Suit's Largely Unpopular
But Firmly Held Opinion #1.1:

It's fair to say that as a singer, Bruce Willis makes a good bartender, and his writing skillz are limited - of the ten tracks on The Return Of Bruno, nine are covers, and the chorus of the one he co-wrote goes "Why not / I'm hot / Jackpot / Tonight". Still, it's the aural equivalent of Willis' late-'80s smug, fun-loving, smirking persona, and if I wasn't watching Moonlighting when I was thirteen I was probably listening to a bit of Bruce.

The Return Of Bruno was, improbably, a concept album with an accompanying mockumentary about the rise and fall of Bruno Radolini (Willis), a Gumpesque figure present at the centre of almost every musical movement since the '60s. Willis even managed to drag the likes of Michael J Fox, Elton John and Ringo Starr along to be in the film (Starr: "If it hadn't been for Bruno there would have been no Beatles"). The whole package was shambolically awful but disarmingly charming, and it largely appealed to me because Willis subtitled the track Secret Agent Man with (James Bond Is Back), possibly in a vain (in many ways) attempt to get it onto the titles of the imminent Bond film The Living Daylights.

The Incredible Suit's Largely Unpopular
But Firmly Held Opinion #1.2:

The appallingly-titled If It Don't Kill You, It Just Makes You Stronger loses some of the self-knowing charm of Bruno but still rocked out with its cock out on parent-torturing noisegasms like Turn It Up (A Little Louder) and the bluesy swagger of Here Comes Trouble Again. It's difficult to know what to make of the album's cover, though: has Willis just smugly slaughtered a bus full of schoolchildren and is now smirkingly lugging their dismembered bodies home in a huge suitcase? Possibly.

To back up my case, here's the great man duetting with one of The Pointer Sisters on a cover of Respect Yourself. It's musical Marmite, but anyone who's ever attempted the crap pool-table-straddling move at 1:18 will know exactly where I'm coming from.

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Thursday 12 August 2010

One Of The 15 Greatest Films Ever Made In The History Of Ever Is Being Re-Released

This is a message to all parents of children between about 8 and 17: If your kids haven't seen Back To The Future and you don't take them to see it when it's re-released in cinemas on October 1st, I will report all of your asses to social services. YOU ARE NOT FIT TO BE PARENTS.

In the meantime, here's some old stuff I wrote about a perfect film with a perfect cast and a brilliant script and a flawless plot and amazing music and more charm, wit and fun than anything that's been released this year.

As the trailer clumsily points out: "It's about time... you saw... Back To The Future... Back To The Future!" A film so good they named it twice.

Unfortunately they let the work experience kid loose on the poster, and this is what he puked up in between making tea:

I can't wait to see a film about half a teenager inexplicably floating above a tiny car which is such an iconic vehicle in the history of the cinema that I'm only allowed to see the back of it.

Seriously, what's wrong with this?


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Wednesday 11 August 2010

Knight And Day

The ineptly designed posters, embarrassingly abysmal viral videos and turgid press interviews farted out to promote Knight And Day have long been a mystery, apparently cunningly crafted to keep as many people away as possible. However, having now seen the film, it's clear what they were up to.

What we have witnessed is a textbook exercise in expectation-lowering, to the point where the inevitably average end result is a considerable improvement on the craptaculous cascade of cabbages the world expected. It's a bit like being phoned up at work by someone telling you your entire house has been demolished by a meteor, only to rush home and feel relief that at least the shed's still standing.

Let's not fanny about: Knight And Day is not a great film. All the money has been spent on the stars, and director James Mangold spends so much time on lingering close-ups to prove that it really is Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz that you eventually start to realise how old Tom's looking, and ooh dear I hope he doesn't put his back out making Mission: Impossible 4. Meanwhile genuine talents like Peter Sarsgaard and Paul Dano are left twiddling their thumbs in case they overshadow the Tom 'n' Cam Show.

Early dubious claims that Knight And Day was some kind of Hitchcockian romp are flimsily backed up by the fact that there's a scene on a train, a chase across some European rooftops and a MacGuffin. Well, The A-Team has a tall building in it but that doesn't make it Vertigo.

In its defence, the unspectacular and unoriginal set-pieces are at least shot and edited so that it's possible to work out what's going on, which is a bonus these days, the score is jazzy and interesting for the first half before it descends into bog-standard lowest common denominator tuneage and Tom does at least look back at an explosion on one occasion, which as we all know is against all accepted action movie rules:

Knight And Day's problem is that it's just so ordinary, with nothing new to add to the genre and nothing to elevate it above any other summer movie from the last fifteen years. As for the title, it's almost completely meaningless. You may as well name a film blog The Incredible Suit and then make it neither incredible nor in any way sartorial. And that would just be stupid.

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Tuesday 10 August 2010

Sunday Night's All Wright (Do You See? DO YOU SEE?!)

On Sunday I went to the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton to see a double bill of Edgar Wright's Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. It was, obviously, two slices of fried gold. On platinum toast. Having not seen either film for ages, it was a deliriously pleasurable reminder of what a talent Edgar Wright is.

The scripts are so bursting with wicked setups, payoffs and cheeky foreshadowings that repeat viewings increase their enjoyment exponentially. I never even realised the connection between the fence-jumping scenes ("What's the matter? Never taken a short cut before?") or Nick Frost's "Yeeeh bwoyee" / "Yeeeh Royee" gags until Sunday night. As much as I can't wait for Scott Pilgrim vs The World, I desperately want Edgar to keep making films in the UK because it's entirely possible that he might be our greatest living director.

Anyway the night itself was a big hairy hoot, with the Ritzy's own Bruce Forsyth and friend of The Incredible Suit, Sam Clements, chairing a competition that involved six members of the audience doing their best zombie shuffle 'n' moan. Here are a couple of rubbish photos of Sam and a girl failing to win a zombie-a-like game:

I've actually managed to make Sam look more like a zombie than the girl trying to look like a zombie there. I really need a professional photographer on this blog.

Anyway a few weeks ago I stated the obvious but bizarrely not-widely-accepted fact that Hot Fuzz is a better film than Shaun Of The Dead. Now that I've had a chance to do the research and twist the facts to prove my point, here are ten inarguable reasons to back up the unquestionable truth:

1. This music
David Arnold - Theme From Hot Fuzz

2. This Raiders Of The Lost Ark villain

3. These guys

4. These character names
Cooper, Porter, Turner, Shooter, Prosser, Hatcher, Paver, Skinner, Fisher, Walker, Thatcher, Weaver, Roper, Tiller, Reaper, Messenger, Staker, Treacher, Cocker, Blower, Draper, Aaron A. Aaronson

5. These Andys in these shades in this rain

6. This legend

7. This steady but relentless increase in the
action quotient as the film progresses

8. This fight

9. This proof that wearing Aviators and
chewing toothpicks makes anyone look cool

10. This fact
Cop films are, like, well better than zombie films.

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