Movies – Seemingly at Random

(Another computer-loitering older piece discovered by accident. Don’t know what it was going to turn out to be, and can’t remember what the intention was, in terms of “developing the idea” – as two of the movies were probably vaguely contemporary at the time, one a little older, another comparatively elderly, and the other from when dinosaurs ruled the popcorn queue. Anyway I like it as is, so here it is, as is. It was written 5 1/2 years ago on 21st June 2007.)


Spider-Man 3

The opening 20 minutes or so is exactly how you do this kind of stuff. Characters, multiple stories, dramatic tension and underplayed comedy, but unfortunately then they have to have the rest of the movie, and there’s too much rest of the movie – it’s a lot like the old Benny Hill gag about the name of the Italian film director Antonioni – they know how to spell it, they just don’t know where to stop.


Insanely over-rated pomp and circus-pants director David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club) finally gets an orderly story-line and has the smarts to stick to it.


Sleazy exploitation picture with one of the world’s greatest collections of plot-holes has the brains to know exactly what it is, and work strictly within its sex, party-down and horror parameters. Like Zodiac and Seven, has lots of pretty pictures in between the freestyle surgery, so Eli Roth only needs about 27 pounds more pretension per metre of film and he’ll probably be hailed as a great director by idiots any one of these days now.

Be Cool

The title really should have been taken on board by the film-makers and actors here. These guys try so hard to be cool about showbiz and crime that they come over like fan-boy geeks straining all ligaments in a hail of saliva and Star Trek merchandise pens shooting out of shirt-pockets while they dance around shrieking “Look how cool we’re being – I can’t believe it!” Adding to the gentle doze from the armchair atmosphere is the fact that, like all the Elmore Leonard stuff I’ve either seen adapted or read myself, this has exactly one plot trick, and one basic approach and just keeps going round and round the bases until they run out of film stock and catering budget. Travolta’s not so much cool as pronounced dead on arrival, pending preliminary testing. For how well this is directed, check out the complete non-chemistry during the Travolta-Uma Thurman dance production number, when they try and recapture the magic of “Pulp Fiction” and wind up recreating the sexual tension of Walt Disney’s “Bambi”. According to IMDB entry director F.Gary Gray identifies the following among his favourite films: Casablanca, Sweet Smell of Success, La Dolce Vita, The Godfather: Part II and On the Waterfront. Great job not plagiarising, F. Gary – you’d never know he’d even seen them from watching this.

The Man on the Flying Trapeze

W.C. Fields was a comedy archetype – a completely eccentric original and a completely original eccentric – and live action precursor of such family-based brutal comedies as “Married With Children”, “The Simpsons”, “Family Guy” and “South Park”. This may be his best movie, and no-one should have to beat their heads against every minute of a workaday life without seeing “Man on the Flying Trapeze” at least once.



7 thoughts on “Movies – Seemingly at Random

      • Mm, you probably have a point. His stuff is too old for the run of “regular” cable movie channels. (As puerile as that rightly sounds.) For whatever reason, the Fields features don’t seem to run on Turner Classic Movies, where they would be the best fit. It’s not any sort of block on vintage comedy – TCM has run Laurel & Hardy and Marx Bros pics among others from time to time. Some sort of bizness/contractual/rights thing, I’d guess. Ten of the Fields features were THOROUGHLY restored – as in, I’d wager they never looked as good in the theatres, including on first release, and they did what they could with the sound as well – and issued on two boxed sets, WC Fields Comedy Collection Vols One and Two. This is the way to see them, if you can. Each set includes one or two lesser features, but they got all the good ones in there. All the great ones too.

  1. I’m not overly familiar with ‘Simon’ Fincher’s oeuvre, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t direct Seven or Fight Club (or Zodiac or the Janie’s Got A Gun film clip). It’s David Fincher. #largely pointless and needlessly sarcastic reaction to a typo

  2. Vis-a-vis pay television – there are roughly (very roughly) about 10,000 hours worth of movie slots per month on Foxtel, and yet you would be lucky to get 20 hours worth of good movies on a “good” month. That has got to be an infinitesimal ratio down there with good coffee spots in Melbourne, listenable moments in modern movie musicals, and laughs in Australian sit-coms. Where the hell have all the good movies gone? Who is hiding them? Why do they pixilate the nudie bits in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid?

    • I don’t have Foxtel movie channels anymore, but made good use of them when I did. I think I kind of noticed what you’re talking about the last time I had a vaguely probing look at what the Foxtel movie channels were running. It appeared to have got somewhat crapperer from when I was subscribing to them a couple of years back. I got so many DVDs to watch that I could probably more than fill up rest of life with them without topping up from TV, pay or otherwise. TCM is still on basic/sports Foxtel pkg, and if you pick the eyes out of that, it’s pretty neat, plus Fox Classics runs some ok stuff. Of course it’s all real O-L-D but movies are movies to me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s