A Clockwork Orange

Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven.

I thought I’d review this film seeing as A) I mentioned it in my review of straw dogs but realised I had never actually seen it B) I didn’t go to the cinema this week and C) well it’s still mostly the point that B made, just that I thought I’d change it up a bit by reviewing a movie that was out 40 years ago. So Without further ado my fellow drooges let’s get on with my review! Which was actually as easy as 1, 2, 3(yes I know that joke was lame)!

I’m just going to start off by saying that the first 40 minutes of this film had no context whatsoever. It was basically mindless violence with a lot of classical music just cut in to keep you entertained. Thank god (Kubrick) that the hero/anti-hero of the story Alex Delarge is arrested and taken to prison because it’s only then that some kind of story comes in to play. He then gets signed up for an experimental treatment designed to make him feel sick whenever he tries to commit any type of violence. It’s in this moment of the film when you actually get the sense of why people call this film a “masterpiece”. Alex watches violent films for hours and hours in a straitjacket, eyelids clamped open and slowly starts to despise the violence he found so exhilarating before. It’s a real great piece of cinema because you start seeing the world from his perspective and start to slowly like a character that was so unappealing. It’s made even better through Malcolm McDowell’s performance as Alex. Just watching him makes your skin crawl but you keep wanting to watch as everything is so powerfully put together.

In places this film actually made me laugh(Don’t worry I’m not a psycho … I’m not even going to swat that fly)! Possibly because of the ridiculous Shakespearian/bible type dialogue used in the film or maybe because of the huge over-acting from some of the side characters in it. But it’s that mixture of violence and humour that really sets it apart from modern day gore-fest films. Something that makes you think about yourself in a different way and perhaps makes you feel bad about what your watching but you can’t stop watching as you’re enjoying it too much. It’s hard to tie it down to a genre too. It’s supposed to be set in the future but that didn’t convince me at all as it still looked like the 70’s. You could say it’s a horror movie but it’s not scary, it’s sickening. To be honest it’s probably got more on par with kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey … Just A Total Mindfuck.

I’m not sure that I actually liked this film and I will probably never watch it again yet I can understand why it has such a cult status. When the credits roll the biggest achievement a director can get is that his audience constantly question everything about the film. And I have certainly been doing that exact same thing from the moment I watched it.

Now viddy this video you yarblockos!

The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn

So Tintin is here, he’s in 3d and there’s a unicorn with a secret

Cards on the table I know very little about the comic books or Tintin’s history but this is one of his original adventures (or at least it has the same title) which may explain why I’ve not heard anything of hordes of angry fans on forums.

Now from my lack of Knowledge to the film, opening credits are very Bond like, more specifically Casino Royale, Silhouetted action going on; no surprise then it being called an indy-bond cross (that’s Indiana Jones btw, not Bond in skinny jeans with facial piercings). After the credits it’s a quick throw back to the art of the comic books and on with the film which is stunning, visually I mean, in terms of scenery, no hot CG women confusing me, no women at all in this film; point being incredible CG environments with great details which is probably the best thing this film has to offer.

Voicing of the characters is to a high standard, Tintin himself is perfect with Jamie Bell supplying the voice who was actually second choice to Thomas Brodie-Sangster (I have no idea who he is either). Captain Haddock by Andy Serkis is a character I would’ve thought to have a much rougher voice due to years of sea air and dehydration from being on an constant bender, no fault of Serkis’ though. I’m going to stop listing off the voices and their flaws now, except to add that the voice Daniel Craig’s villain  really does have a mildly unsettling tone to it.

Now back to my indy-bond point, action sequences are both innovative and complex especially for an animated film but it tries to stay within the realms of reality while also being a little ridiculous which made me feel just a bit awkward, like a meeting had been missed somewhere. That aside the action is still enjoyable.

Given what I’ve said you’d think this was a pretty great film, however it’s just not that memorable and seems to lack heart so there’s no real driving power behind the whole epic adventure, just a lot of tripping around with no edge of your seat urgency to it. This leaves a feeling that Tintin is wildly mediocre, plenty good enough to keep kids entertained but not one I’ll be adding to my dvd list, I may half heartedly watch if its on TV on a sunday afternoon though; certainly not the outcome I expected when I think two of the biggest and most experienced directors are behind it.

Straw Dogs

Everyone Has A Breaking Point

But unfortunately there was no point in remaking this film!

Oh I’m sorry Mr. Hollywood what I really meant was that there was no point in making a “re-imagining” of the novel – The Siege Of Trencher’s Farm by Gordon Williams. You see the original that came out in 1971 had already pushed the boundaries of cinema and was even banned in the UK because of the rape scene depicted in it. So to remake it and try to shy away or even gloss over the problems the original depicted is not the point to what the original (directed by Sam Peckinpah) was trying to achieve with the audience. This film could of only been successful if it had gone beyond the boundaries of the modern day audience, whilst still maintaining the story (obviously we don’t want another human centipede II).

Hmmm ok maybe i should explain the story …

So a L.A screenwriter, David Sumner (James Marsden a.k.a CYCLOPS!!!), moves with his wife, Amy (Kate Bosworth a.k.a HOTNESS!!!), to her hometown of Blackwater (Red Dead Redemption) and enlists the help of the local gang of rednecks to help repair her childhood home (Fine I’ll stop with the brackets). The leader of this gang, Charlie (Ha! Ha! No Brackets! wait … oh bollocks!), is keen to rekindle his previous relationship with Sumner’s wife and so an inevitable conflict between Sumner and the gang comes to the fray. There is as mentioned above a rape scene in this film but she dresses way too provocatively throughout the film and even tempts the worker gang by undressing for them just to spite her husband. For me she asked for it a bit and the rednecks only seemed to be as the title suggests, straw dogs, not the more sinister, monstrous figures that the director was hoping to produce. Heck it even has the problem of a 15 year old girl who grabs the attention of the much older town idiot. Creepily daring to go further than Taxi Driver or Leon but they have the added advantage of not using it as a plot device just to have a ridiculous battle at the end!

“Whoa! Way to go all dark with the review dude!”

Sorry Keanu Reeves! But this film is at best a rental. The acting could never live up to Dustin Hoffman’s and Susan George’s performance in the original especially with an actual believable chemistry between them. The writing seemed like it just got raped (in a manner of speaking) by the influences from the film Deliverance. Plus Cornwall just worked better as a setting than the deep south! As the Cornish clockwork orange(also released in 71) type bad guys were more believable and scarier by their mixture of disturbing childish fun with sinister violence.

In the end I believe that both are as problematic as the actual plans to build an alien tripod (i tried to build one … well in my dreams). Yet Peckinpah’s version is by far the superior because it focuses less on its flaws and more on the dilemmas that arise for the duration of the film.

I also may have just reached the taglines so called “breaking point” so it’s probably best i just stop writing before my brain explodes.

     See the BBFC’s Certification of the film here

And probably totally unrelated to the film … Here’s some awesome Irish punk: Stiff Little Fingers – Straw Dogs


Was Shakespeare A Fraud?

Well who cares? Because it definitely makes for one good film!

Now most critics seem to be  … well … critical about this film. They say that it doesn’t do a good enough job of convincing you that the 17th Earl Of Oxford, Edward de Vere(Rhys Ifans) wrote all of the plays that today is credited to Shakespeare name. How it fails to convince you that  Shakespeare was just an actor and that he was in fact completely illiterate.

And so what?

Sure the premise is a little bonkers (Dizzee Rascal), but the acting in it is superb, the plays depicted in it are epically performed and at the end of the film you find yourself deeply caring for the main characters in the story. It was to my biggest surprise that  Roland “Godzilla” Emmerich directed this, seeing as he is a bit of a blockbuster aficionado. However this film remains almost the opposite and while there is bloodshed, it still uses its biggest asset to its full effect … The Actors.  Rhys Ifans is almost unrecognizable as Oxford, David Thewlis is at his creepiest ever as William Cecil and Vanessa Redgrave brilliantly portrays a lonely, depressed and dieing queen as Elizabeth I.

The Film isn’t brilliant though.

The prologue at the start and end was not needed. I’m not going to the cinema to watch a play! Even if it is about Shakespeare! Derek Jacobi is another great actor but as the prologue he’s now been squandered on something that could have been used as dvd extras! The Ben Johnson character was only used as a means to fill a plot hole, a middle man between Shakespeare and Oxford,  and should have had a more important part or at least have shown a little bit more backbone to Shakespeare. Also the Films timeline is often thrown about like a DeLorean going at 88mph and knowing when the scene takes place in the story is an unnecessary struggle.

So basically you shouldn’t be disappointed with this film. While it has its flaws it’s still an entertaining and thrilling movie that’s worth seeing. But you should probably watch Tintin instead. I heard that movie was really good from somewhere but I can’t quite remember where from …

oh well I’ll just put this link to another (but probably more awesome) website right here:  www.pjownage.com

Music from the Trailer: Radiohead – Everything in it’s right place

Come back on Wednesday to read my next review!