Dirty Rotten Scoundrels movie review

My fandom is Michael Caine… therefore it’s truly surprising I’ve not seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels before.

As a fourtysomething it elicited wry smirks but I can imagine had teen me been exposed to its silliness it would have resulted in deep belly laughs.

It’s a breezy 100-odd minutes, with the chalk ‘n’ cheese act of Michael and Martin an odd couple to count among some of the very best. Surreptitiously though, third lead Glenne Headly steals the show, just as her character Janet Colgate steals the hearts of Caine’s Lawrence Jamieson and Steve’s Freddy Benson.

The highlight absolutely has to be the makeover montage to Puttin on the Ritz that ends the first act. Caine is king of withering looks, putdowns and sly side eye when it comes to these kind of moments, as Miss Congeniality also attested twelve years later.

Shootfighter II movie review

Everybody seems more comfortable in their characters and in front of the camera in this second Shootfighter instalment that plays out like a rejected JCVD script.

Shame there are still the same issues behind the camera…

This sequel is filmed and scored like an 80s episode of TV at its best and a student production at its worst. It’s so cheap.

It also has the same overediting issues during the fights – so many fights – that makes the moves indecipherable and renders the choreography redundant.

Nevertheless, it remains campy kick ass fun, especially seeing what cartoony caricature fighters they present in the ring – it’s like watching stagey wrestling crossed over with an 8-bit beat ’em up computer game.

Fatality.

Shootfighter: Fight to the Death movie review

Subtitled: Fight to the Death this really should have been called Edited to Death as they cut so frequently during the fights – so many fights – that it interrupts all sense of flow.

Discovering the existence of this through the presence of not only William Zabka but also Martin Kove meant this immediately became a must-see, especially so soon after the culmination of Cobra Kai S4.

It’s not any good. Of course, it’s not. In the pantheon of underground fighting flicks this is less A.W.O.L. (aka Lionheart), Bloodsport or Ong-Bak and more Best of the Best 2 or Angel S1 episode The Ring.

Sure-fire watchable trash though.

The 13th Warrior movie review

Eaters of the Dead is a great title. It’s evocative. It’s referential.

The fact it was altered to the more generic sounding The 13th Warrior perhaps tells you all you need to know…

Essentially, The Magnificent Seven meets Beowulf, this should be interesting and invigorating but instead it’s dry and bland.

It opens with a full fifteen minutes of verbal exposition via an indifferent Banderas voiceover and some Omar Sharif translation of garbled Viking into English.

This is then followed by twenty minutes of travelling and talking but no action. In a historical action adventure by the director of Predator and Die Hard. Sort of…

The action, when it does arrive, is leaden and boring, despite the best efforts of composer Jerry Goldsmith to invigorate it, lost amidst pointless scenes is subplot involving characters who come and go with little fanfare or explanation of their motivations. It’s clear plenty has been cut here. 

The production was beset by ballooning budgets and poor test scores. The sets are superb and the production value is high so the budget is up there on the screen.

Who knows what McTiernan’s original cut was like because Crichton’s released reshot version, replete with additional action and a revised truly anticlimactic five minute final battle, offers very little in the way of entertainment.

The best bit of the movie? As the 12 Norseman travel towards the beset kingdom, Banderas’ 13 Warrior Ibn learns their language in a truly effective and genuinely original montage. It’s clever. Although, when you’re celebrating 13 characters sitting around a campfire as the most exciting part of your action/adventure you know something has gone seriously wrong somewhere…

Critters 2 movie review

Mo Critters, Mo comedy.

This sequel is anarchic and fun but missing the bite of the original.

It does has some great gory moments (severed arm and skeleton stand out) but no real [jump] scares meaning the horror categorisation is a little misleading.

It will make you laugh as some of the zany comedy lands as it is supposed to. You’ll also laugh at it, as I did, especially whenever the no-face bounty hunters have to be led around by their on-screen co-stars as the actors under the prosthetics can’t see shit.

Listen out for the catchy fake jingle for Hungry Heifer played out in full over the end credits,  no doubt inspired by Halloween III and not far off Silver Shamrock for ear worm memorability.

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit movie review

Anyone that doesn’t break out into smiles during the Joyful, Joyful music mash-up and get choked up at the cutaway to Father Ignatius teared up during this movie’s climax needs to check their pulse. 

For me, it’s always a happy day when I get Back in the Habit.

Oh happy day (oh happy day)
Oh happy day (oh happy day)
When I watched (when I watched)
When I watched (when I watched)
When I watched (when I watched)
I watched the superior sequel Sister Act 2.
Oh happy day (oh happy day).

Bubba Ho-Tep movie review

Once a generation the “King of Rock and Roll” is born: one Bubba in all the world, a chosen one. He alone will wield the strength and skill to fight big bitch cockroaches, ancient Egyptian mummies, and all manner of undead sacks of shit to stop the spread of their evil and the sucking of souls from arseholes. He is the singer.

In and out in a hilarious 82-minutes without credits, Bubba the Mummy Slayer is essentially a budgeted and professionally produced fan film built around a single wacky high concept. Any longer it may have outstayed its welcome and bled the joke dry.

Campbell is the King, of course, as Bruce never fails to be groovy, baby. Ossie Davis steals the show though through mucho mojo despite thinking with a bag of sand.’

Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires may have only been banter but I would have been there for it day one, just as I would have been for From Dusk Till Shaun.

Critters movie review

It has been years since I’ve seen Critters. I don’t know why I’ve waited so long…

I loved this kind of creature feature growing up. Gremlins. Tremors. Little Monsters. Scooby-Doo. Critters stood out a little from the pack for me because it just felt that little bit more grown up and dangerous than the others.

It’s that rare thing: a horror comedy with genuine laughs and genuine [jump] scares too.

The whole affair is played off with its tongue firmly placed in its cheek though. For me, this is best epitomised by the match cut as Officer Neelix is dragged under his car to be consumed whilst we cut back to MILF Brown stuffing the food disposal system. That or the swearing Critter, an outer space creature somewhere between a tribble and a gremlin.

There’s plenty of films you can link this to and argue it either rips off or homages it but I’d contend it’s left it’s own indelible cinematic leagcy too, not in the least upon the filmmaking of Joe Cornish, especially Attack the Block.

All this and I haven’t even mentioned a boyish Billy Zane. This film is just 2 GR8.

1941 movie review

Is it just me or does “The Dummy” bear an uncanny resemblance to Spielberg? Maybe I was just projecting having sat through this debacle…

Full thoughts coming via the amazing, spectacular Spider-Dan and the Secret Bores podcast soon.

#PrepareforPrattle

Bonus:

The Making of ‘1941’


Predominantly a talking head documentary featuring the behind-the-camera filmmakers, there is surely a compelling story to tell about the infamous chaos of production, but this isn’t it.

This is dry. This is superficial. This is self-satisfied.

There’s no real insight, other than the Spielberg helmed super 8 footage which would seem to indicate he had as much of a fetish for blonde bombshells as Hitchcock.

After Life S3 review

After Life S1 is arguably the finest work Ricky Gervais has ever done, perfectly combining big laughs with emotional pathos.

After Life S2 referenced Groundhog Day as meta commentary (as Tony struggled to move on despite S1E6 realisations) and although lesser in impact because of its repetitiveness, it was still funny and still affecting.  

Does After Life S3 round out the series satisfactorily?

Mostly.

It certainly had me belly laughing. It certainly had me emotionally stirred. It tied up Tony’s story in a logical way without incorrectly changing continuity or presenting unnecessary grandeur.

It did miss the presence of several previous standout supporting characters/actors: Sandy/Mandeep Dhillon, Psychiatrist/Paul Kaye and Roxy/Roisin Conaty.

Other key returning players Matt/Tom Basden, Lenny/Tony Way, Kath/Diane Morgan, Emma/Ashley Jensen , June/Jo Hartley, Anne/Penelope Wilton and Pat/Joe Wilkinson get character development their impact and performances deserve.

For an active viewer, it’s predictable but in a welcome way, as if what’s right comes to pass in a wholesome heartwarming way for well-deserving characters.

It’s ultimate message to care, to be kind, to make other people feel good is one that shouldn’t be overlooked within our current maelstrom of polarised opinions and negative mindsets where so many build themselves up and take pleasure in bringing others down.

If someone deserves it: tell them they’re a cnut. If someone deserves it: tell them they’re a class act.

Ricky Gervais: you’re a cnuting class act.

I’d love a soundtrack compilation of all the songs licensed and used across the three seasons. A curated Spotify list would do…