Friday, 27 February 2015

Leonard Nimoy
1931-2015

"Are you sure it isn't time for a colourful metaphor?"
- Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Four films I'll be giving a shit about in


CHAPPIE
I'm having real trouble reconciling the Neill Blomkamp / Hugh Jackmanliness of this with the indelible image of Short Circuit's Johnny Five. That said, Blomkamp is still in credit with the Bank Of Suit despite Elysium, so shits will be given in these parts about Chappie. (6th)

 HYENA

Gerard Johnson's feature debut Tony was a low-budget, blackly comic gem starring his cousin Peter Ferdinando as an unassuming serial killer. Their follow-up (in which Ferdinando is unrecognisable as the same guy who played Tony) is a grim, unrelentingly pessimistic look at West London cops, reminiscent of Eastern Promises but without the budget. Give a shit about it if you would like confirmation that the world is a really awful place full of really awful people. (6th)

MOMMY

Precocious Canadian writer-director-and-everything-elser Xavier Dolan is on his fifth film despite being just 25 years old, the talented BASTARD. I've only seen one of his films - the unbearably pretentious Heartbeats - but suspect I will end up looking silly if I don't crack on with the rest of his filmography sharpish. Mommy looks worth giving a shit about if only for its ballsy 1:1 aspect ratio. (20th)

THE VOICES
There is literally no way any poster or trailer can convey what The Voices is like. It's a completely unmarketable film, and anyone going in expecting a slasher flick or a romcom is going to walk out within half an hour. It is both of those things and neither of those things, but what it definitely is is quite brilliant. You should definitely give a shit about it. (20th)

Monday, 23 February 2015

The greatest series of the greatest TV
show ever made is out on Blu-ray today

As you may be aware, we don't watch much TV here at The Incredible Suit. That's because, as everyone knows, telly peaked in 1965 and apart from that episode of The Evening News on London Live last November where I nervously babbled about SPECTRE, there hasn't been a single thing worth watching since.

The zenith of televisual entertainment took the form of the fourth series of The Avengers, the camp spy-comedy-action-nonsense that ran from October 1965 to March 1966 and introduced Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, the new partner for dashing, immaculately turned-out gentleman agent John Steed (Patrick Macnee). That very series is out today on Blu-ray courtesy of Studiocanal, and it behoves me to urge you to buy it and watch it with all the force your eyes can muster.

It doesn't matter if you haven't seen any of the first three series: all you're missing is Honor Blackman in leather, and you already own Goldfinger so that's that base covered. You can watch this 30-second taster if you like, which flawlessly sets the scene:

The rest of the series contains, among other wonders:
  • Diana Rigg being unspeakably beautiful and delightfully mischievous
  • Patrick Macnee wearing Pierre Cardin like it's his skin
  • Some of the most inventive camerawork and direction TV has ever seen, including the live episode of EastEnders
  • Episodes which include man-eating plants, murderous grannies, weather machines, killer robots, missing hours, devilish traps, tattooed sausages and diabolical masterminds
  • The greatest TV theme ever written and recorded
  • Diana Rigg in full bondage gear with a python draped round her neck in one episode if you like that kind of thing and frankly who wouldn't
And all of that, shot on film and presented in 1080 lines of gorgeousness so sharp it could cut your head off, backed up with a ton of extras including a commentary with recently deceased writer and producer Brian Clemens.

I realise all this sounds like a tedious advert, and yes, I was very kindly given screener discs to confirm the brilliance of this release, but trust me when I say this is the best presentation of the best series of the best TV show of all time. I mean, I haven't seen most of Breaking Bad, but I definitely know what I'm talking about. Now go away and do as you're told.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Louis Jourdan
1921-2015

"Excuse me, I have some travel arrangements to make. Enjoy the show."
- Kamal Khan, Octopussy

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Invisible Aston Martin returns in SPECTRE

The first official still from the 24th James Bond film SPECTRE (or Spectre, Jesus I wish someone would clear that up) was released this morning, and it sent shivers down the spines of Bond fans (and not just because it looks cold, ahahaha). For although the image shows Daniel Craig as 007 in a distinctly more action-packed pose than the first Skyfall image (which concentrated heavily on his bum crack), and although Bond has been issued with a pair of sunglasses from Q-Branch which rival A View To A Kill's for Stupid-Looking Shades value, the most upsetting element of the photograph is the inclusion of the invisible car from Die Another Day.

In the SPECTRE image, Bond can be seen inconspicuously hiding in the snowscape in uncanny camouflage, but it's his motor that truly understands the meaning of concealment. Look closely between Craig and the first snowsled, and you'll spot an innocent-looking gap through which can be seen the Austrian alps. But that's no ordinary innocent-looking gap! Why would there even BE a gap there? That wouldn't make any sense at all! No, that gap is in fact the Aston Martin Vanquish ("We call it the Vanish", said John Cleese as Q, remember that? That was a thing that happened), parked neatly in what is evidently some kind of alpine NCP.
Whether Bond will drive the see-through car in SPECTRE, or indeed even remember where he left it, remains to be seen, but we now know that it will play some crucial part in the plot. Fans will be having a mass debate about whether or not such frivolous ideas have any place in modern Bond films, and that's exactly what I intend to do right now. While I'm having a mass debate, why not watch this behind-the-scenes video, in which Dave Bautista makes the unlikely claim that he's never been on a mountain?

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Coherence

Over a year since it premiered at 2013's Fantastic Fest in Austin, writer-director James Ward Byrkit's debut feature Coherence slips quietly into a handful of UK cinemas this weekend. It's a no-budget talker doomed to be ignored on the big screen due to a near-complete lack of marketing moolah, and that makes me very sad because it's the kind of cracking, creepy brain-boggler you used to catch on Channel 4 in the middle of the night and then bring up years later at a party where only one other person vaguely knows what you're on about and you immediately have to see it again and then you begin to wonder exactly who that guy was at the party and how did he OH MY GOD WAIT A MINUTE
Firmly in the Primer arena of filmmaking, where the amount of cash available is in indirect proportion to the number of ideas bursting out of the script, Coherence is one of those deliciously simple, effective directorial debuts that signal a potentially formidable talent. Set in one house (kind of), at a dinner party where eight annoyingly WASPish characters yap inanely about yoga and feng shui, it soon veers off into a twilight zone where an indistinct menace drives a twisty, intelligent script towards a genuinely alarming climax. Imagine Friends if Central Perk were an interdimensional portal to existential terror and you're part way there.

Byrkit's skill isn't just in directing eight improvisational actors through his knotty quasi-sci-fi without having them garble incomprehensibly over each other, but also in his efficient script, which doesn't waste a word; the passing mentions of yoga and feng shui become as important to the plot as (ever-so-slightly clunky) exposition about quantum physics and Schrödinger's cat. Mysterious boxes, impossible photographs, convenient power cuts and red herrings all contribute to the general unease, but Byrkit raises some troubling questions along the way we might not be all that keen to answer.

With immediate rewatch value and the certainty that endless diagrams will be posted online to explain its plot, Coherence is way more worthy of your support than certain other current megabudgeted catwank I won't name, like Jupiter Ascending. See it at the flicks from Friday if you can, but in the very likely case that it's not on within a thousand miles of your house, don't panic because it'll be on DVD on Monday. Screw you, "theatrical release window"!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Merely the first ten idiotic things that occurred to me about Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending is shit, there are lots of reasons why, here are ten. Oh you wanted a better introduction? Well I wanted a better film. Hey ho.

1. Mila Kunis plays a cleaner called Jupiter, who cleans toilets. It is impossible to accept that Jupiter has ever come within sniffing distance of a bottle of Cillit Bang; Mila Kunis and toilets go together like Denise Richards and nuclear physics.
Just an ordinary, staggeringly beautiful, ravishingly lit and made up toilet cleaner

2. Eddie Redmayne plays a character who, in early scenes, is set up as the film's antagonist. He is then more or less ignored for about eighty minutes while his brother and sister perform deeds of low-level dastardliness for reasons which are neither entirely clear nor remotely interesting. Also their scenes end so abruptly that I am suspicious that the script was ever finished. Also they all live on Naboo.
"Wait wait wait. Tell me again how you did the Stephen Hawking robot voice?"

3. Channing Tatum plays a creature whose DNA has been "spliced", and he is part human, part wolf. Sean Bean, similarly, is part human, part bee. I'm not even joking, although I did need the bee thing pointed out to me after the film because it's explained in about four words of dialogue through which I may have sighed too loudly to hear. The extent to which all this cabbage makes an impact on the story is that Tatum has pointy ears and growls once, while Bean lives in a house with lots of bees. He doesn't even have stripes or a sting in his bottom or anything. Oh no wait hang on his name is Stinger KILL ME

4. At one point it is explained that Tatum's character once bit out the throat of an "Entitled", of which Redmayne's character is one. Redmayne whispers and wheezes like Baron Greenback off of Danger Mouse and wears high-cut gowns which conceal his throat, suggesting that it is he who was on the receiving end of the Tatum choppers. However the incident is never referred to again, leading me to suspect that somebody forgot to write that page too.
"Minions! My golden platter of Strepsils! I have a motherfucker of a sore throat"

5. Channing Tatum performs an entire fight scene with his shirt off for no other reason than he is Channing Tatum.
It's because he has muscles all over his front

6. Jupiter Ascending features lots of alien creatures whose design has been so haphazardly thought out that they just look like humans with slightly altered features. One lady has ears like Dumbo, which is hilarious. She can't hear better or fly or anything, she just looks like fucking Dumbo. Also there is a pilot who resembles an actual elephant; he gets maybe three close ups, in each of which he makes a funny noise.
This guy is an absolute hoot

7. Obviously because this is a big-budget sci-fi there must be enormously OTT space battles in which it is impossible to understand what the fuck is going on. Why can nobody design simple spacecraft these days? Everything has to have a million flappy bits hanging off it or spikes sticking out everywhere or other pointless paraphernalia. All I ask is to know whether I'm looking at good guys or bad guys, instead of having my retinas eviscerated by billions of pixels exploding in my face in glorious 3D.
Fuck off.

8. The whole film is so quackingly silly that with an intelligent tweak it could have been a camp classic; this generation's Flash Gordon. Instead the Wachowskis play everything so straight that for a film which features Channing Tatum as a pointy-eared dog-man with a Mugatu beard who skates through space on hover boots, the tone remains resolutely, painfully humourless. I mean, would it hurt to have Tatum sniff Mila Kunis' anus when he first meets her? I don't think so.
"Oh cool, I was wondering where I left my lipstick WOAH JESUS"

9. Actually there is one scene in the middle of the film which knows it's meant to be funny: an odyssey through the labyrinth of some kind of space bureaucracy, in which Kunis is passed from one department to another with increasing frustration. The scene, which features a sly Terry Gilliam cameo, feels like it's fallen out of an early draft of The Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy and doesn't quite know how it ended up in a space opera staged by children on cocaine.
You're right, Tel. You do deserve better.

10. At one point about two-thirds through I realised I hadn't laughed, smiled, frowned or indeed registered any emotion on my face since the film started. In order to prevent facial muscular atrophy I shouted obscenities at the screen but nobody could hear me over the sound of millions of dollars being flushed down the shitter.
Literally can not remember what this person does or why