Film Review: Flushed Away

Posted in Reviews on December, 12 2006 12:47 PM

Starring (the voices of): Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen, Bill Nighy, Jean Reno
Cert: U
Released: 1st December 2006

Roddy (Jackman) is a pampered pet rat living in solitary luxury in Kensington until a sewer rat by the name of Sid usurps him from his privileged position by flushing him down the toilet.

Down in the sewers, Roddy's only thoughts are of getting home and he hopes to employ the services of sassy rat, Rita (Winslet), to get him out of the rodent city beneath London. However, she has troubles and objectives of her own as Ratropolis's crime kingpin, The Toad (McKellen), has a masterplan to rid all the rats and allow his own kind to dominate the sewers but needs Rita to complete the plan.

Throughout the high speed chases, henchman and Ninja frogs Roddy starts to realise that although his life might be well catered for above ground, there might just be something missing from it after all.

Aardman go CG animation. Have they sold out to the Hollywood machine? No. Apparently the reason for ditching the claymation for this feature was because of the vast amounts of water featured which, funnily enough, doesn't co-operate too well with stop animation techniques.

Flushed Away is absolutely hilarious and rates highly on all the necessities a family film needs to make it truly accessible for the whole family. Lots of talking, anthropomorphic animals - rats, frogs, toads, slugs, flies and maggots - plenty of slapstick violence, some toilet humour, self-referential asides and a high paced, easy to follow storyline.

Not one of the featured characters is a wasted comedy moment. Even the background creatures have some nuance to make you look twice evoke a chuckle. All wrapped up with an outstanding vocal cast also including Andy Serkis, Shane Richie, Kathy Burke and David Suchet.

It's kind of James Bond with the villains and the plots but with Rita as the in-control spy and Roddy the standard 'out of his depth' character needing an epiphany. Maybe not up to the quality of Wallace and Gromit but certainly exceeding the competition in wit, intelligence and style.

Read more

Film Review: Happy Feet

Posted in Reviews on December, 11 2006 10:57 PM

Starring (the voices of): Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman
Cert:  U
Released: 8th December 2006

On the ice plains of the Antarctic lives a flock of Emperor penguins whose harmonic existence is based on the power of song. True soul mates are bound when two penguins' heart-songs connect.

But is proving to be a hard winter and fish are unusually scarce. This has coincided with the birth of an equally unusual penguin, Mumble, who cannot sing and cannot stop his feet from dancing.

If this does not alienate him from his fellow 'guins then their elders blaming him for the blight gets him banished. He uses this as motivation to hunt out some rumoured 'aliens' to see if they are responsible for their lack of food.

Photo realistic, animated penguins singing karaoke classics and performing Buzz Berkley routines? Who could ask for anything more?

The only way to judge family films these days are if they do actually appeal to the whole family. Gone are the innocent days of Disney dominion when they could just put a talking, anthropomorphic animal on the screen and get a resounding cheer of approval from their youthful target audience. Ever since Toy Story, parents have become more discerning as to the unadulterated pap they will let their offspring be psychologically scarred by. Nowadays it should be just ever so slightly adulterated to appeal to their own, more mature sensibilities. Nowadays a good family film contains anthropomorphic animals, sassiness and wry, cultural references that will make the young-uns say, 'What are you laughing at, daddy?'

Happy Feet does appeal to all with merchandise-friendly cuteness, juvenile silliness and a feel-good story wrapped up with Elvis Presley, Queen and 70's disco anthems. I defy anyone to not have their cold heart warmed by the all-encompassing climax.

Er, which isn't actually the end of the film. Just at the point that you think it should finish, it doesn't and then starts going a bit odd. What started off to be a funny, innocent and enjoyable plot then tried to become a deeper message about ecological responsibilities; how our pillaging of the planet's natural resources will affect the lives of other animals. This, in turn, may result in the extinction of some species and us missing out on some of Earth's most enthralling animals like - oh, I don't know - tap-dancing penguins, perhaps.

In trying to stretch out a perfectly acceptable and entertaining premise into a feature length film, and give it greater depth with this moralistic sub-plot it actually comes over as rather patronising because of its simplistic resolution. Starving penguins? Ah well, never mind. Oh! Tap-dancing, starving penguins? In that case we had better change our attitudes.

Unnecessary sycophancy mars an otherwise funny and engaging film.

Read more


Posted in Sex on December, 07 2006 11:57 AM

Why is the local retirement home giving Viagra to 80 year olds at bedtime?

To stop them falling out of bed at night.

Read more

There were two nuns..

Posted in Religion on December, 05 2006 3:33 PM

One of them was known as Sister Mathematical (SM),  and the other one was known as Sister Logical (SL). 

It was getting dark and they were still far away from the convent. 

SM: Have you noticed that a man has been following us for the past thirty-eight and a half minutes? I wonder what he wants. 

SL: It's logical. He wants to rape us. 

SM: Oh, no! At this rate he will reach us in 15 minutes at the most! What can we do? 

SL: The only logical thing to do of course is to walk faster.  

SM: It's not working. 

SL: Of course it's not working. The man did the only logical thing. He started to walk faster, too. 

SM: So, what shall we do? At this rate he will reach us in one minute.  

SL: The only logical thing we can do is split. You go that way and  I'll go this way. He cannot follow us both.  

So the man decided to follow Sister Logical.

Sister Mathematical arrived at the convent and is worried about what has happened to Sister Logical. 

Then Sister Logical arrived.

SM: Sister Logical! Thank God you are here!  Tell me what happened! 

SL: The only logical thing happened.  The man couldn't follow us both, so he followed me  

SM: Yes, yes! But what happened then?  

SL: The only logical thing happened. I started to run as fast as I could and he started to run as fast as he could.  

SM: And? 

SL : The only logical thing happened. He reached me. 

SM: Oh, dear! What did you do?  

SL: The only logical thing to do.  I lifted my dress up.

SM : Oh, Sister! What did the man do?

SL: The only logical thing to do.  He pulled down his pants.

SM: Oh, no! What happened then?

SL: Isn't it logical, Sister?  A nun with her dress up can run faster than a man with his pants down.

Read more

Triple Trouble

Posted in Religion on November, 30 2006 8:57 AM

Did you hear about the agnostic, dyslexic, insomniac?

He lay awake all night wondering if there really is a DOG!

Read more

Theatre Review: Spamalot

Posted in Reviews on November, 11 2006 9:41 PM

Starring: Tim Curry, Hannah Waddingham
At: The Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London
Date of show: 2nd October 2006

A glorious homage or a horrendous defamation of a classic film its comedy cultural icons?

I think that's been the question lurking in the minds of everyone since the show's opening on Broadway last year. Despite the rave critical reviews, the sell-out run, the copious awards and gushing praises of anyone lucky enough to see it there, many here still nurture their seed of doubt after all, those are praises from Americans for an atypically British art form. Doesn't it imply that if they loved it that much then something must have changed.

I was cynical. I was dubious. I even considered staying away (especially after another passion of mine was defiled in the shape of the Hitch Hiker's film) but curiosity got the better of me. And my credit card.

Engineered by ex-Python Eric Idle should imply a degree of conformity to the old ways. But again, isn't he the one Python who has probably 'sold out' the most to Americanisation and allowed that comic wit to be distilled in the number of puerile films he has appeared? Maybe that's him still sticking to his routes and 'keeping it real.' Maybe he's the only true Python left dedicated to the cause.

The experience begins before even entering the theatre as the posters contain Pythonesque self-derisive witticisms and the boarding above the entrance itself is worth a look alone - if you're in the neighbourhood. If you're feeling peckish while you wait you might be luck to be offered a Spam sandwich by the staff. I think you'd have to be reeeeally hungry, though.

When you get inside you'll be greeted by merchandise stalls (which are on all levels so don't feel obliged to huddle around the first one you see. Remember; this is Python and so there will be no reservations in trying to 'rip you off' at every turn).

The overture starts in a resounding up tempo and 'normal' fashion but doesn't last long as some smart-arse tries to slip the Python theme tune in and everyone relaxes when a resounding gunshot reinstates the status quo.

Yes, it's Python as it should be. Altered slightly for a live, stage production, but Python none-the-less. The script has been enhanced with classic snippets from the series including the Finland song, Always Look On The Bright Side of Life and an aside reference to The Parrot Sketch.

Perhaps and overriding fear was going to be these actors impersonating the Holy Grail characters would ruin the effect. But no, the performances were faultless and delivered straight so it was always the script that carries the laughs.

What makes this show universally acceptable (my wife really enjoyed it) is its production values and songs which have all been created and directed with deft professionalism.

The other thing that takes it beyond being just a 'boy's thing' has to be the inclusion of the new character, The Lady of The Lake, played here by Hannah Waddingham who has a incredibly versatile vocal range and effortless comedic acting abilities. The sideline, token female Python role previously claimed by Carol Cleveland now goes to Waddingham who has been given a part as strong as any of the lads.

The lyrics are as witty as Brooks' The Producers and still laden with classic Python tom-foolery and ridiculousness. In a cultural map based on serious and sullen operatics, it is a refreshing change to find something so completely off the wall yet delivered with as much seriousness and gusto.

Read more

Peter Kay Plays It Gay

Posted in Theatre on November, 11 2006 6:03 PM

Peter Kay is to fulfill a lifetime ambition by performing in the upcoming tour of Mel Brooks' musical The Producers.

Kay says that he fell in love with the film when he was younger and had planned to adapt it into a stage musical but Brooks did it first.

In the show, Kay will be playing the theatre director that leads Bialystock and Bloom choose for their proposed show, 'Springtime For Hitler.' Their selection process being based on him being the worst choice possible.

Kay's character is Roger DeBris, an overt gay and extremely camp director who directs numbers that would make Busby Berkeley think were too chintzy.

Kay is doing the show for three months in his homeland, Manchester.

Read more

The Rules of Monster Movies

Posted in Other Funny on October, 30 2006 10:59 PM

Here are some things I've learned from Godzilla, Gamera, Star Wars, etc.

-Any animal which isn't a human will grow 50 times its size when exposed to some sort of radiation.

-If some exotic pet escapes from its cage, it will likewise grow to immense proportions.

-No matter what city you're in, the streets are always wide enough so that giant monsters could walk on it.

-Many monsters, even machines, are somehow depicted in ancient myths.

-It takes only a few seconds to pick a name for an unknown giant monster.

-If a monster is evil, it has enough energy to spout an infinite number of energy beams from its mouth. If it's a good guy, it can only shoot at most 2 energy beams before it nearly collapses of exhaustion.

-A monster's energy beam can effortlessly destroy a huge, heavily armored robot, but takes 5 seconds to shoot through buildings.

-No matter where you are, there's always a clearing big enough for almost a dozen monster to rumble in.

-Giant flowers are always a problem. They'll either blow up in a mile wide explosion, or they'll mutate into vine-whipping, acid-spitting atrocities.

-It takes all the electricity in a city to power a handful of tanks.

-The power of a missle is inversly proportional to how much you talk about its "capabilities".

-Aliens wear pimped out jackets and know martial arts.

-If there's an object you need to destroy quickly, it will always have a near-inpenetrable energy sheild.

-When you see an ordinary building and its name pops up in the subtitles, the building will be destroyed in about 15 minutes.

-When fighting monsters, the infantry soldiers always carry machine guns.

-If you have a strange looking lightsaber, you are one of the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy.

-Tiny spaceships never get destroyed. Huge kilometer-wide starships will be destroyed in a matter of minutes.

-A pistol is enough to kill a horde of man-sized creatures.

-Anything with wings or an extra body cavity can fly.

-People will always leave their homes with the lights on.

-Monsters can stand knee-high in the middle of the sea.

-In order to swim, monsters only need to bob their bodies up and down.

-A big drill can pierce right through armor. Nuclear beams can't.

-Red energy beams are hotter and more powerful than blue or white beams.

-Any monster which has more than one energy beam will be nearly impossible to kill.

-A shell can withstand energy beams but not missles.

-No matter what, the hot female character will always hang out with the ugly geek.

-Global warming doesn't melt ice caps or change the weather. It instead causes giant eggs to hatch or animals to go crazy.

-Any attack that has a whirly sound effect will hurt like crap.

-Flimsy towers can easily support giant insects or birds.

-Energy beams can be shot from the mouth, eyes, hands, nose, chest, knees, and wings.

-If someone constructs a weapon but accidentally shoots it at the "good guy" monster, it will prove lethal.

-If you have wings or more than one head, it takes over 3 monsters to beat you, and over 11 monsters to actually kill you.

-All military facilities have a screen which shows a perfect picture of the attacking monsters.

-Repairing a heavily damaged, 40 story robot takes a week.

Read more



Recent Activity

From Twitter