(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.)
AN ACCIDENTAL COLLECTION OF MOVIE REVIEWS FOR NO GOOD REASON
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.
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.