Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

09 July 2008

A Clockwork Orgy, dir. Nic Cramer (1998)

NIKKI says:
We wanted our blog to be comprehensive, so we had to watch one of these at some stage. We were going to blog about Sex City, the adult flick based on Sin City, but it was so terrible we turned it off after about 10 minutes. Turning off a porno due to bad quality -- has that ever happened before?

Anyway... this one was alright. It was hilarious, actually, to see just how Nic Cramer and his cronies took the classic film and rejigged it for the adult world. He's gone all out, too. The costumes are great, and the girls use the same bizarro language Alex and the Droogs used in the original ("Viddy well" and "Welly, welly" and all that, and there's an attempt at a message involving women using their muscle to clean up the streets and get ahead.

The gag here is that Alexandra the Droog is a violent sex-addict who must be cured of her affliction. She's caught, jailed, and then forced to watch hours and hours of gross-out porn in order to get her head right. Meanwhile, her fellow Droogs must bust her out of captivity, all the while continuing their rampage against the perverted on the streets.

It was fun. Kaitlyn Ashley gave one of the craziest, bravest porno performances I've ever seen. You know, I don't know if I agree with the end -- I felt like the men these girls were challenging ended up getting too much enjoyment out of the whole thing. But, I guess that's porn for you.


Run Fatboy Run, dir. David Schwimmer (2007)

NIKKI says:
The Pegg group, for me, is a bit like the Gervais group -- anything they do, I will watch; anywhere they go, I will follow; anytime they wish to slum in less than stellar productions, I will support them while patiently waiting for them to get their collective acts together.

That last one mostly applies here -- just as we watched Ricky in Night at the Museum, so we watched Pegg in Run, Fatboy, Run. It looked like a cute movie, even from the trailers, but I kinda thought wedgie jokes were beyond such a creative genius as Simon Pegg. Still, I put that thought aside, hoping scenes of Pegg pulling his britches from his ass-cheeks were purposely placed in those trailers to reach the Lowest Common Denominator crowd -- you know, the people who buy movie tickets. Well, there's a lot of that kind of humour in here -- wedgie jokes join blister-popping gags, cock jokes, bad-hair jokes, rash jokes, humping-a-mannequin jokes, you name it.

But then it's really not Pegg's movie. From the sounds of it, it's another comedian's movie that Pegg stepped in on for reasons I'm not too familiar with. And then David Schwimmer directs, and while he starred in one of the funniest shows in TV for 10 years, he's not the most skilled comedy director. The timing feels all over the place with this one.

On the plus side, I guess it's a cute movie with a cute story. I don't know what possessed the Pegg group to put their energies into it. It just doesn't seem like their sort of thing. The story, at its heart, is rather generic. It's even been done before in a movie called Running. I laughed a few times, but I don't think it'll ever get a revisit.

So, here I wait for Paul, which Pegg wrote with Nick Frost about two guys travelling the USA together, and The World's End, new from Pegg and Edgar Wright. Then we'll be back on track, and any and all wedgie jokes might serve a deeper purpose.


The Eye, dir. Xavier Palud, David Moreau (2008)

NIKKI says:
I don't know what drew me to watch it -- could be my desire to see every horror movie ever made; could be my need to be culturally aware about every damn movie-related thing; could be that addiction to shite I need to see someone about. Whatever the case, there was no way I wasn't watching this. And even though it had no chance of living up to its Chinese predecessor, it wasn't as bad as some American horror remakes, like The Ring. It was still lame.

I expected it to be lamer, especially with Gothika "writer" Sebastian Gutierrez responsible for the screenplay. Gutierrez also wrote Snakes on a Plane which was utter trash as well. He tries here to stick to the original, and while there are some major plot disconnections for me, he's not the reason this doesn't work. That issues hangs on Moreau and Palud who clearly have little idea how to scare an audience. I don't get why guys like these who have been given the chance to direct a scary movie don't go out and research scary movies. They needn't go that far even -- just hire out the original Eye and DO EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID. Instead, those ultra-creepy scene from the original are watered way down with stupid CGI ghosts effects and absolutely zero tension.

If you've seen the original -- remember the dead guy in the elevator? Why was that so frightening in the original, but borderline funny here? Do the Chinese just have a better sense of overall atmosphere when it comes to films like this? Remember the school scene with the calligraphy? "Get out of my chair!" Oh my god! That scene is probably the scariest I've ever seen on film. Why can't the remake replicate that? Does putting Jessica Alba (or any well-known, mainstream actress) just negate the scary? Does a US setting add a been-there-seen-that quality to such flicks?

Let's explore... Calligraphy chair, as well as the girl under the sink in Tale of Two Sisters, Sadako coming out of the TV in Ringu, the little boy in the banister in Ju-on -- these are all officially my most memorable movie moments for sheer freak-out factor. Like, not just the creeps or the chills or a slight jump, but heart-pounding, vomit-inducing, CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE kinda stuff. Coincidence that they're all from Asian horror flicks? I really don't think so.

The Asians just do it better. It's the only conclusion I can come to. It's like Italians and red wine. They just do it better. They can't help it. Although, the Asian horror flick fest of awesome has dried up over the past few years. Are there new Pangs out there? Have I just not found them?


STEVE says:
It took two directors to screw up the work of the Pang Brothers. I like that kind of symmetry.

This movie followed the original almost shot for shot, and still managed to be piss-weak. There oughta be some kind of award for that.

Palud, Moreau: How do you fuck up that elevator scene?

It's like this every time. Why do we keep watching these remakes? I blame Nikki. But mark my words - there's no way in HELL I'll be watching Quarantine...


Thursday's Game, dir. Robert Moore (1974)

NIKKI says:
You know, sometimes the afternoon is just the right amount of ripe for an old TV movie. This one is so deeply reminiscent of later Rob Reiner relationship dramas like When Harry Met Sally and The Story of Us that you can perhaps see where Reiner, who shows up in this, might have received some inspiration. The movie hinges on its boys-night-out premise, but it's really about men, and what they experience as they get older. It's a men-have-feelings-too kinda movie, and the writing is sharp, just what it needs to be to make a movie like this work.

Gene Wilder and Bob Newhart play two members of poker group that meets every Thursday. When the game breaks up, instead of giving up their night out, Bob and Gene decide to keep news of the break-up from their wives and continue getting together each Thursday for drinks, dinner, and whatever else takes their fancy. They start to build a strong friendship. Thursday becomes the night to unwind, and to unload their frustrations, intimidations, and general feelings.

Wilder is concerned about finding and keeping work, he is worried about his son, and confused about his relationship. He is the focus of the film, and it's his exploration of middle-aged manhood we become most interested in. Does marriage and work mean a man must endure an amount of loneliness, or should one be happy all the time? Newhart, conversely, is wealthy, yet concerned that he may have outgrown his older-woman wife.

The discussions the men have are touching and honest. It's funny, confronting, and seems kinda before its time way back in 1974, when women were the ones taking greater control of their lives. A bit of a male answer to the feminist revolution. It's a good movie. Reiner should remake it.


The Good Night, dir. Jake Paltrow (2007)

NIKKI says:
Sometimes I wish that you could just hit the sack and never wake up. If your favorite song never ended, or your best book never closed, if the emotions mustered from these things would just go on and on, who wouldn't want to stay asleep? The guy who discovers that perpetual dream, he's my man.

There are some really truthful moments in this film, particularly between Gary and Dora, as they hit the wall in their life together that reveals to each just how boring and selfish the other can be. Dora responds by taking some time away from the relationship. Gary responds by trying to find a way to permanently live inside his dreams where the perfect woman waits to arouse him every time he falls asleep.

Their diverging paths are the best thing about this movie, which is essentially an absurdist take on reality, living life to the fullest, and recognising the good around us.

The movie was written and directed by Gwyneth's brother, Jake Paltrow, and if this is anything to go by, he's a writer with some strange and interesting ideas. There's a lot of artistry in this film, a lot of small and clever details that strengthen character and plot development. The Danny DeVito character is particularly affecting, especially near the end of the film when his true existence is revealed to Gary. Paltrow has a great ability to create complete characters, with idiosyncrasies and nuanced behaviour. This could have been a film that was all ideas, instead it's a full story about people at personal crossroads who go to extreme lengths to recapture the meaning in their lives.

I don't know if I agreed with the ending, but it definitely made me think about dreams and reality, and how each ultimately affects the other.