What About Dick? Review

November 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Film Reviews

What About Dick?

Available to download now from www.whataboutdick.com

If a comedy has the word “Dick” in the title, then I think it’s safe to presume that much of the humour is going to be derived from the fact that “dick” is a hilarious slang term for “penis”.

Take, for example, Jim Davidson, whose sense of humour, like his understanding of political correctness, has remained ever schoolboy-sized. Jim’s near obsessive devotion to the idea that “Dick” is not only a name but also another word for cock has lead him into the bizarre field of adult pantomime, where the jokes are blue and seemingly plagiarised from immature scribblings in GCSE biology textbooks.

Now, with the release of his new downloadable comedy play What About Dick?, Eric Idle has apparently developed a similar fondness for the euphemism. Much like Davidson’s bawdy productions, the play, which was filmed earlier this year at the Orpheum Theatre in LA, is packed full of dodgy innuendo and excessive references to—er, well, dicks. However, Idle’s material is elevated somewhat by an all-star British cast comprised of Russell Brand, Billy Connolly, Eddy Izzard, Tracey Ullman and Tim Curry.

Described by Idle himself as being “like Downtown Abbey only funnier”, What About Dick? tells the tale of the rise of a sex toy and the decline of the British Empire as seen through the eyes of a piano (Idle). A dapper-looking Brand plays the title character, Dick, an Oxford student of philosophy and gynaecology; he has two cousins, played by Fraiser’s Jane Leeves and Two And A Half Men’s Sophie Winkleman, and then there’s their frequently sloshed Aunt Maggie (Ullman), all of which live together in Kensington in a “large, rambling, Edwardian novel”.

You can’t fault Brand’s irrepressible enthusiasm, although next to veterans like Tim Curry and Tracey Ullman, he seems out of his depth as a stage actor. Then again, so does Billy Connolly, who spends much of the play struggling not to corpse, particularly at the unashamedly silly musical numbers. Yet rather than damaging the production, the fact that some of these actors appear to be on the verge of hysterics actually adds to the appeal of the play.

Like its cheeky title, What About Dick? is obviously neither very big nor clever—although it is, at times, very funny in a completely balmy kind of a way. You get the impression that the entire cast are pulling out all the stops to entertain not only the audience, but also their co-stars.

Naturally, the bar for maturity is set extremely low from the very beginning, but with Tim Curry and Eddy Izzard completely indulging themselves in the ridiculousness of it all, What About Dick? is surprisingly good fun.

Now You See Me: Trailer

November 30, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Trailers

The crit: “An elite FBI squad are caught in an intense game of cat and mouse against four of the world’s greatest illusionists. Pulling off a series of daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances, they shower the stolen profits on their audiences while staying one step ahead of the law.”

OnTheBox expectation rating: Belieber

It’s Not HBO, It’s TV: Tarantino Won’t Go Digital

November 30, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Quentin Tarantino has said that the film industry’s move towards digital technology is part of the reason why he wants to retire from directing.

The Django Unchained helmer re-affirmed his desire to stop making films “deep into my old age”, saying that he dislikes digital projection and the idea of shooting with digital cameras.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Tarantino lamented the loss of the traditional celluloid filmmaking process.

“Part of the reason I’m feeling [like retiring] is, I can’t stand all this digital stuff. This is not what I signed up for,” he said.

“Even the fact that digital presentation is the way it is right now – I mean, it’s television in public, it’s just television in public. That’s how I feel about it. I came into this for film.”

He continued: “I hate that stuff. I shoot film. But to me, even digital projection is – it’s over, as far as I’m concerned. It’s over.”

Use of traditional 35mm print projection is expected to cease in the US by the end of 2013, with a “global cutoff” likely to happen at the close of 2015.

Tarantino added that the industry’s shift to digital has led to him thinking about adapting one of his lengthy scripts for TV.

“If I’m gonna do TV in public, I’d rather just write one of my big scripts and do it as a miniseries for HBO, and then I don’t have the time pressure that I’m always under, and I get to actually use all the script,” he explained.

“The one movie that I was actually able to use everything – where you actually have the entire breadth of what I spent a year writing – was the two Kill Bill movies because it’s two movies. So if I’m gonna do another big epic thing again, it’ll probably be like a 6-hour miniseries or something.”

The Oscar-winning Pulp Fiction director said of his post-filmmaking plans: “I’ll probably just be a writer, or I’ll just write novels, and I’ll write film literature and film books and subtextual film criticism, things like that.”

His eighth feature Django Unchained opens in US cinemas on December 25 and January 18 in the UK.

What We’ve Learned From The ‘Django Unchained’ Trailer

November 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

One

After falling out with Tony D’Amato in Arizona, Willie Beamen has gone rogue: “In my world you gotta get dirty. So that’s what I’m doing. ”

Two

Its got a Rick Ross soundtrack: “100 Black Coffins.” Which isn’t available on YouTube, so here he is…hustlin’

Three

DiCaprio and Foxx can AND WILL overcome any onscreen racial hostility with mutually respectful facial hair:

Four

Trailer Key Stats:

Word count: 105
Shot count: 19
Deaths: 18 men and 12 horses
Length: Trailer – 85 seconds. Film – 8460 seconds.

- In the trailer there is one gunshot every 4.4 seconds. Extrapolated to the full length film, there will be 1922 shots.
- In the trailer there is one death every 4.7 seconds. Extrapolated to the full length film, there will be 1800 deaths. Possibly both.
- For CoD players that’s a 1.05 shot per human kill ratio and a Chopper Gunner or AC-130 level kill streak

Trailer ratios:

- Words/Shots: 5.5 words per shot
- Words/Deaths: 5.8 words per death & (including horse deaths) 3.5 deaths per shot

Five

Conspiracy theory possibility that makes a lot of sense:
Two facts:
(a) 1800 deaths
(b) 1-800 is the toll free number in the US.

Quentin Tarantino is clearly saying that life is worth nothing. Or death is the cheapest way to find something out.

OTB’s Top 5 Films on TV This Week (26/11/12 – 2/12/12)

November 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

This may read as a press release for Film4’s schedules but to be honest with a line-up this good, we simply overlooked everything else. Film4 has such an impressive roster of films, and this week’s selection features classic ‘70s New Hollywood, DeNiro and Pacino mulling over some coffee in a cat-and-mouse thriller, and a modern British horror with more than a touch of The Wicker Man.

The Passenger: Monday 26 November 10:55pm, Film4

Film4’s Jack Nicholson season continues apace, with Michelangelo Antonioni’s drama about a disillusioned journalist in post-colonia Africa who takes on the identity of a dead arms dealer. The Passenger is said to be the film that liberated Nicholson, going to Europe, working outside the Hollywood system, upon his return he turned in arguably his two best performances, in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1976) and The Shining (1980).

Punch-Drunk Love: Wednesday 28 November 11:55pm, Film4

Paul Thomas Anderson’s underwhelming The Master is currently in cinemas, and on Wednesday Film4 airs his quirky 2002 romcom starring Adam Sandler in an unfamiliar straight role as psychologically troubled novelty supplier obsessed with collecting air miles. Sandler was widely praised for his role in the film, proving that beneath the bumbling veneer cultivated in brain-numbing slapstick fare, he can flourish playing serious parts too. It’s a shame he hasn’t appeared in more films that stretch his acting range, so all the more reason to watch this.

Kill List: Thursday 29 November 10:55pm, Film4

Ben Wheatley (whose latest film Sightseers is soon in UK cinemas) followed up his minimalist Brighton-based gangster effort Down Terrace with last year’s brilliant Kill List, a horror of mindfucking proportions. Nearly a year after a botched job, a hitman takes on a new assignment which leads him into an unremitting heart of darkness.

Don’t Look Now: Friday 30 November 12:55am, Film4

Nicolas Roeg’s greatest film sees a married couple decamp to Venice as they grieve over the recent death of their little daughter, encountering two elderly sisters, one of whom is a psychic. Symbolism ahoy, this is one of the all-time classic horror films.

Heat: Friday 30 November 9pm, Film4

Michael Mann’s 1995 cop thriller finally saw Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino spend screen time together. Pacino is a good cop on the trail of De Niro and his gang of armed robbers. Watching it, you really sense the film’s influence on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

Six Ways Mean Girls Can Help Lindsey Lohan Revive Her Career

November 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

With a drug habit that’s kept Colombia farming and “exhaustion” issues that would knock out an insomniac, Lindsay Lohan has been in and out of the news for the worst of reasons over the last few years.

But according to The Insider she’s planning to give up all her extra-curriculars to focus on her career. Read more

Margin Call: Review

November 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Film Reviews

Hollywood doesn’t have a great track record of transforming age-defining events into watchable cinema. Even where the narrative is relatively (if patriotically) straightforward – the Cuban Missile Crisis, the war in Afghanistan – there has been a shortage of engaging cinema.

When the tale to be told requires Fields Medal numeracy and there is little redemption to be found in any of the leading characters – regardless of their success or abject failure – it is doubly difficult. However the financial crisis is undoubtedly the story of our age; it requires constructive engagement.

“You’ve got to hand it to them on some level, because they’ve achieved something which probably nobody would have thought possible, especially to a country as big as America. So on one level they kind of need congratulating.” To see art in a crisis takes a particularly special kind of person; to recognise the entertainment value in it takes a slightly less grounded one.

Yet this was not some wit seeking levity in the financial meltdown, it was Damien Hirst praising the September 11th highjackers for their visual artistry. A subject which despite its similarly enormous reverberations has not yet produced work which captures its enormity – it is almost as though artistic licence has become trivialised by reality.

The alphabet soup of acronyms sold by the conglomerated greed of three decades of the Ivy League’s best and brightest is, much like the art Hirst sold, intelligible only if you’re comfortable with abstractions. The sums involved do not exist outside of the monitors wide enough to show them and the products sold were the supreme proof of Descartes famous principle. Meanwhile, the global youth reaction to an impending lost economic decade can be summarised with gifs of impassive loitering in public spaces.

In finance, as in art, originality is not in itself a virtue. There have been films with greater recognition and far bigger budgets, but few others have entertainingly depicted the reality of the financial crisis without political sensationalism, or provocative simplification as Margin Call.

In conversation with people who have worked in the higher echelons of US businesses, the film’s depiction of senior management ideologues is thought to be embarrassingly accurate. An environment where convention and the company line subdue any latent humanity in pursuit of ever more illusory lifestyle gains.

Amongst a stellar cast of Americans, Paul Bettany follows in the footsteps of Damien Lewis and Dominic West as an Englishman able to capture a distinctively American character. He is a gratifyingly cold-blooded incarnation of corporate greed; a man who tells brutal truths in the spirit of ego-eroding enlightenment; delighting in his role as both educator and executioner.

Despite a big name cast, the heavy hitters are, for the most part, out of sight. Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore and Simon Baker don’t appear until the final act, and of those, only Irons has a significant amount of dialogue. In fact, Baker and Kevin Spacey, deliver their best moments of the film in near silence – Spacey contemplating his own humanity as he buries his labrador and Baker, shaving, as the broken man he is about to fire tries to elicit some, any compassion from him.

This isn’t Sorkin and Fincher making a masterpiece out of another similarly difficult to film subject, but first-time director JC Chandor isn’t far off. It won’t be what ‘Wall Street’ was to the eighties, but it’ll be in the conversation.

Oscar-nominated Margin Call DVD/Blu-ray is out now

Nick Arthur

Studio Ghibli Announces Two New Films

November 21, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Studio Ghibli has announced the names of two upcoming films.

The company has acquired the domain names for The Wind Rises and Princess Kaguya Story, with official announcements expected shortly, according to the Ghiblicon blog.

The films see the return of two of the studio’s top directors, with Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro) adapting his latest colour manga The Wind Rises.

The movie will tell the tale of Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the infamous Zero fighter plane used by the Japanese in World War II. The manga featured the characters as anthropomorphic pigs.

Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko) will also return for Princess Kaguya Story, which will be based on the Japanese folktale.

Ghibli’s next film will be From Up on Poppy Hill.