I saw two movies today (I also baked some baguettes, but I’ll come back to that later) and I couldn’t decide which one to review, so today is going to be a little different. Today is going to be a double feature. And a more eclectic double feature you would be hard pushed to find.
“Pretentious” doesn’t even come close.
So this was on Lovefilm’s home page this morning and, from the poster at least, I thought it might be a good way to pass a couple of hours. Was I ever wrong. This film is Australian novelist Julia Leigh’s debut as writer/director, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fairy tale. A young college student named Lucy, played by Sucker Punch’s Emily Browning, is working an assortment of low-paid jobs in between attending classes and visiting her friend who never leaves his crummy bedsit and puts vodka on his cornflakes. One day she answers an ad in the paper and finds herself in a new job; one that pays exceptionally well but requires her to stand around in lingerie pouring the wine at a dinner party for rich old people. Soon enough she graduates from serving wench to sleeping partner. Her employer also offers a service whereby the rich can buy six hours in bed with a naked Lucy. Oh yes, that’s right: for the duration of these six hour sessions, Lucy has been willingly drugged into unconsciousness. Hence the title, I suppose.
I haven’t read any of Julia Leigh’s novels, and on the strength of this that’s not going to change anytime soon. The story is ploddingly slow and obtuse; the camerawork is distractingly austere – every scene seems to be one or maybe two single takes except for one sequence done in Peep Show style, with both characters facing each other but shot as if they are talking directly to camera – and for a supposed “erotic drama” it is very short on eroticism. There’s plenty of nudity, yes, but as any Page 3 fan will tell you, one does not automatically lead to the other.
There is not one likeable character or relatable situation in this whole film. If you are that desperate to see Emily Browning in the buff, just stick to Google. Avoid this amateurish nonsense.
“Awesome” doesn’t even come close.
How in the name of all that is holy did it take me so long to get to this film? Why did nobody tell me this was going to be that much fun?
When I first heard about the idea of The Expendables I was thrilled, but the more I thought about it I started to get hesitant. I was really worried that I was going to be let down; that all it would do would be to tarnish the memory of these guys’ previous movies. I was afraid it would ruin Commando and Rocky IV. Was I ever wrong. (Twice in one day? That hasn’t happened since the nineties.) As it turns out, this all-star gathering is like a biker Ocean’s Eleven, right down to the acrobatic Chinese man.
For those who have been living under a rock for the last couple of years, or whose entire cinematic life is taken up with dreck like Sleeping Beauty, The Expendablesare a group of mercenaries made up of a multi-generational Who’s Who of action movies, led by Stallone as Barney Ross with The Stath as his right-hand man, Lee Christmas (I know!). Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture (girly name, manly man) and Ivan Drago himself, Mr Dolph Lundgren, make up the rest of the team. Their mission, should they chose to accept it, is to go to the island of Vilena to kill the corrupt General Garza. Of course the only way to be sure if they have succeeded is to kill practically the entire army of the island of Vilena.
The acting can generously be described as a bit ropey, a lot of the visual effects are noticeably heavy on the digital enhancement, and some of the fights look like they’ve been shot by an epileptic gymnast. By all rational measure this should be the unfortunate embarrassment I was afraid of. The fact that it is not is down primarily to El Statherino and Mickey Rourke, combined with the tangible fun all these guys are having getting to play together with big guns and knives the size of your arm. I may have just found the perfect Friday night, pizza-and-a-six-pack flick.
Oh, I nearly forgot. The reason I was baking baguettes today is also the reason why the “movie a day” challenge is about to get its first proper test: I’m going away for the weekend. I’m spending all day tomorrow on an assortment of busses and boats in order to get back to the Old Country for my baby niece’s christening this Sunday. My laptop is coming with me, as well as a carefully chosen set of DVDs, so I will do my damnedest to keep this train running on schedule. By the way, the baguettes are for my packed lunch.
*I just thought of that this very second. Fucking genius, me.