Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Incredible Suit’s Christmas Message

Well viewers, that’s it for this year. The Incredible Suit is packing its Incredible Suitcase and hiding away for the rest of 2009 in order to escape from all that enforced merriment and rampant consumerism. Also, it gives me a few weeks to recharge my plutonium chamber and get my flux capacitor fluxing to capacity again for all the cinematic shizzlepats I’ll get flung at me in 2010.

I’ll be back in the New Year with my uneagerly unawaited Top 5 of 2009, in the hope that by then I’ll have seen the rest of the year’s offerings, and I’ll do my utmost to bore you to tears with the films I’m dreading the least in 2010. There might even be a laughably late review of Avatar, although if you can’t wait until then it’ll probably go something like: “Bugger all plot to speak of and a saggy middle act, but cornea-frottling SFX that will give you the granny of all headaches, which in turn is exacerbated by the absolute worst song ever recorded over the end credits.”

So despite being a grumpy old humbugger, The Incredible Suit does indeed wish you all a tolerable festive ordeal and a passable New Year. In the words of the rather excellent Penguin Party, it’s only Christmas, it’ll soon be over. Do remember to check my Twitter feed every five minutes in case I decide to say something interesting (unlikely), and if you're so bored of Christmas that you're considering putting sprouts up your nose to alleviate the tedium, why not go back and read every single post on The Incredible Suit from Day 1?*

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few virtual gifts to stick under your virtual tree and virtually unwrap at 6.00 on Christmas morning, as if I haven’t given you enough already this year you ungrateful tykes.


*The Samaritans' number is 08457 909090

To comment on this post, click here

Monday, 14 December 2009

The Greatest Christmas Movie Ever Made

It was a toughie, it has to be said. Die Hard? Batman Returns? Jingle All The Way? In the end I plumped for Gremlins, perhaps because at its heart is a message with which I wholeheartedly agree: Don’t bother giving gifts at Christmas, they’ll only get lots of people killed and unleash havoc all across town.

I love Gremlins, despite its weak lead actors (did anybody grow up wanting to be Billy Peltzer?), because it’s as wicked and mischievous as its anti-muppet villains. It takes a cute little Midwestern town (which looks suspiciously like Back To The Future’s Hill Valley, probably because it is in fact the same set) where Phil Spector’s festive tunes are on a permanent loop, and rakes a vicious set of claws right across its face before sticking a hypodermic needle in its bum. And all this at Christmas - how dare they?

Well, because Christmas is a ridiculous, self-important time of the year and needs a good slap on the legs. It sits there at the end of December, waiting for us all to come to it, and demands we give it our full attention and spend obscene amounts of cash on it. It’s the spoilt child of the calendar year and that’s why I tend to ignore it and be somewhere it isn’t when it throws its annual tantrum.

But Gremlins does have important things to say: don’t give pets for Christmas without being prepared to look after them; don’t be a miserable old Scrooge like Mrs Deagle (who is satisfyingly ejected from a top-floor window to her doom rather than tediously learning the error of her ways), and don’t try and surprise your kids by dressing as Santa and climbing down the chimney like poor old Kate’s Dad. You’ll only slip, break your neck and be stuck there for days.

Besides all that, Gremlins contains some of the greatest puppet work ever, by Chris Walas, who also created the equally cute Brundlefly. Gizmo is the most expressive ball of fur with a hand up its bum in cinema history, and his ludicrously adorable squeaky voice only makes it even better. Although for all its genius animatronics, my favourite shot is the stop-motion reveal as hundreds of the vicious buggers emerge from the dark and head towards camera, bent on the destruction of Kingston Falls.

At the end Billy loses his Christmas present when the old man comes to take Gizmo away, and I was pleased to see he didn’t throw a strop, even though he was probably going to get a Bathroom Buddy off his idiot inventor Dad to replace it. Another valuable lesson, kids: be grateful for what you’ve got. And never let Corey Feldman into your bedroom.

Speaking of lessons…

To comment on this post, click here

Friday, 11 December 2009

The Ten Greatest Films Of The 2000s: A Statement Of Fact

The Double-0s (I refuse to call them the noughties; if you don’t know why I’m calling them the Double-0s, you're reading the wrong blog) have produced some cack and no mistake. The Brothers Grimm, Serenity, Marie Antoinette, American Dreamz, Southland Tales, Snakes On A Plane, 10,000 BC… I sob myself to sleep thinking about all those hours forever lost in time, like snot in rain.

On the other, much less despicable hand, there were some movies that quite literally made life worth living. Here are The Incredible Suit’s ten greatest films of the 2000s in chronological order, which is my favourite kind of logical.

Between its bookends of careening shots through the streets of turn-of-the-century Paris, Moulin Rouge! is like shoving a lit firework up your bottom and having it explode behind your eyeballs for two hours. Audacious contemporary songs and retina-terrorising production design combine with a beautiful, passionate love story to make the greatest musical, like, ever. Also Nicole Kidman is well fit, innit.

Two men bent on their own courses of single-minded revenge collide in a bloody, searing and black-as-deathly comic thriller that twists and turns like a slug in salt. Like its follow-up, Oldboy, it’s unflinchingly brutal and as taut as high-tensile razor wire stretched across your peepers. And don’t even try and tell me you saw that ending coming you puckish little fibber.

One of the very few films to feature funny, likeable children, of which Jack Black is the biggest. A perfect combination of comedy and great tunes, building up to a face-melting climax that makes you simultaneously laugh and cry snot bubbles all over your air guitar. And Joan Cusack, as the principal (I think they mean headmistress), is a ladygod amongst ladyfolk.

Majestic in so many ways, Peter Jackson’s unbelievable achievement reaches its climax (several of them, in fact) with the most spectacular and affecting film of the trilogy. Gollum, Shelob, The Army Of The Dead, the siege of Minas Tirith: any one of these in any other film would have been impressive. All of them in the same film is astonishing. However, there is no excuse for Annie Lennox’s horrific earhole torture over the credits.

Why Pixar keep fannying about with sequels to Toy Story and Cars is beyond me, when The Incredibles has the most jaw-dropping animation, the most thrilling set pieces, the coolest music and the most identifiable characters (despite being super-powered) of any of their films, and features Samuel L Jackson’s greatest ever scene (and that’s saying something), in which he attempts to locate his costume against the wishes of his obstreperous missus.

It’s not for everyone, but it is for anyone who doesn’t fit in any particular box. The quirkiest, sweetest and frankly best comedy ever, featuring the most unlikely hero and perhaps the most incisive question in movie history: “Do the chickens have large talons?” By the time Napoleon and Deb play swingball at the end my heartstrings were shedding their own tears. The film that, in a vague and uninteresting way, gave The Incredible Suit its name.

My occasional friend Brendan describes it as “a turd on the carcass of a once great franchise”, which is eloquent enough, but then predictably calls it ‘Revenge Of The Shit’. Well screw you Brendan. Opening with the most tremendous space battle since Return Of The Jedi and refusing to let up until the closing scenes, Sith may be divisive but for me concludes the prequel trilogy in an explosion of geekoramic fun.

More gripping and emotionally complex than its overlong, overcomplicated sequel, Christopher Nolan gave me everything I wanted from a Batflick without me having to ask. Ferocious fight scenes, a Gotham City risen from Hell itself and a Batman who, if you met him in a dark alley, would actually make you do a poo in your trousers. Also, Michael Caine: Legendary.

When I found out they were making Casino Royale I was so excited I wet myself, which was embarrassing but worth it. Martin Campbell and Daniel Craig gave the franchise the fierce kick in the face it needed, and – like Christopher Nolan the year before - delivered the very film this Bondicidal maniac needed to see. Very possibly the best 007 film ever, and I don’t use words like that lightly.

Cloverfield (2008)

Twenty minutes of zippy setup followed by fifty minutes of sheer balls-out action, nerve-shredding tension and sphincter-clenching terror, with special effects being used in exactly the correct way according to a manifesto I’ll get round to writing one day. The Incredible Suit demands a sequel. Bonus: Michael Giacchino’s theme over the end credits is an epic masterpiece.

Agree? Disagree? Couldn’t give a sith? Leave a comment here

Thursday, 10 December 2009

A Cuddly Welshman

In the distant future, when all books have perished to dust and the human race has been reduced to infinitesimal particles of dandruff floating on the nuclear wind, the only surviving record of the history of mankind will be movie biopics, captured forever on DVD, a format which has been proven to withstand a cataclysmic atomic blast (possibly).

So when aliens land on Earth and scour their local Blockbuster to learn of this mysterious race of creatures which once inhabited the planet, won't they question why so many historical figures of note look a bit... well, similar?

(Not pictured: Charles Dickens, Yitzhak Rabin, William Bligh, Donald Campbell,
Dr John Kellogg, George Washington, Ernest Hemingway, and many more who all looked suspiciously like a cuddly Welshman)

To comment on this post, click here

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Bonkers Malfunctioning-Eyeball Thriller

This is a couple of years old, sorry about that. If I could go back in time to the point where it was actually news I would, but I can’t so I won’t and maybe I wouldn’t anyway, I mean if you can travel through time there are better things to do than retroactively post on a blog that doesn’t even exist yet, surely?

But I digress, and not for the first time. A couple of years ago Martin Scorsese parped out the second best film he ever made. It was ten minutes long, hardly anyone saw it and it was a commercial. But it’s chuffing marvellous and I came across it again the other day and thought, “If I can give one gift to the viewers of The Incredible Suit to reward their love and affection, this is it. Although another picture of a pork chop would probably be equally appropriate.”

So it’s an advert for some poncy wine, but, like Shia LaBeouf, that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that it’s a spoof, in which Scorsese claims to have discovered an abandoned script written by God himself, Alfred Hitchcock, but which was never filmed. So Marty takes it upon himself to film it in the style of the Master. Not the Master from Doctor Who, you understand. That would be unimaginably bizarre.

So here it is; if you’ve got ten minutes to spare and you love Hitchcock, Scorsese or beautiful filmmaking, treat yourself:

There’s so much about this I love: the dissolve from the title card to the violin strings; the massive pull-out from that close up all the way back through the hall and across the corridor, the 1950s Technicolor look, the clothes, the sets, the fall from the balcony… it’s a perfect replica of how Hitch made some of his greatest films.

What I want now is for Scorsese to take on a serious Hitchcock project. Now I know he’s a religious viewer of The Incredible Suit, so listen up Marty: remake one of Hitch’s lesser pictures (I’m thinking Suspicion, The Wrong Man or Topaz), or follow through on one of his many unfinished projects  – The 39 Steps sequel Greenmantle, bonkers malfunctioning-eyeball thriller The Blind Man or the Bondesque The Short Night would all be magniferous in your hands. Just do it as well as you did that plonk ad and I’ll be Bagpipes Happychap.

Just for Alfred's sake don’t cast Leonardo DiCaprio in it.

To comment on this post, click here

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Wax On, Wax Off

Three reasons why the forthcoming Karate Kid remake wouldn't beat the original if they were to face off at the All Valley Championship:

1. It won’t star Elisabeth Shue, who looked beautiful even while gurning:

2. Daniel-san's moves were easier to do in the playground:

3. You won’t hear this song:

Bonus reason: They're calling it The Kung Fu Kid.

To comment on this post, click here

Monday, 7 December 2009

Star Trek

I watched JJ Abrams’ reboot (swiftly becoming this decade’s most annoying word) of Star Trek again recently. By gum it’s good. Some things I love about it:
  • Jim Kirk’s Dad, in the opening scenes, is heroic to the point where I caught a light sniffle and got something in my eye, but I soon manned up and got over it.
  • Apparently The Beastie Boys’ Sabotage is still required listening in the 23rd century. This is excellent news.
  • The whole idea of rebooting (sorry) the series by changing the course of time, and thereby creating an alternate reality for the Enterprise crew, is so genius you could give it a bristly moustache and a Doc Brown hairdo and call it Albert.
  • I'm listening to the soundtrack as I type these words, and it's making the whole experience terribly multi-sensual. I think I can even smell Scotty's tribble.
  • In a time where every rebooted franchise has to be so dark you need night-vision goggles to see it, Star Trek is bright, colourful and silly, and returns to the cinema a sense of fun not seen since Spielberg’s 1980s run of chucklesome blockbusters (which I hereby trademark as 'Chucklebusters'). In fact I daresay Abrams is well on the way to becoming this generation’s Spielberg. Yes, I actually said that. You read it here first.* 

I’ve never been a Treknologist; in fact I've never been even slightly Treknotronic. I might even go as far as to describe myself as a Treknophobe. But this film made me go back and watch all the old movies again. They’re actually quite good, except for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, which is very very awful, and the 'Next Generation' films have a dangerously high Fidgit Factor. Furthermore, I don’t know any hardcore Trekoraks, so I don’t know if they found the new movie to be a joyous celebration of sci-fi wonderment or a poo on William Shatner’s grave. Not that he’s dead, obviously. But I think The Onion said it best, and not for the first time:

 *Unless you read it on my Twitter page a few days ago

To comment on this post, click here

Friday, 4 December 2009

I'm Such An Idiot

Actor, comedian, writer and composer Peter Serafinowicz once had a TV series called, not entirely unexpectedly, The Peter Serafinowicz Show. I watched a bit and thought it was rubbish, which meant that I missed this:

I’m such an idiot.

To comment on this post, click here

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Steve Buscemi’s Bizarrely Arranged Face

Remember the good old days before Shia LaBeouf took to ‘acting’, Robert Zemeckis made real films with real people in them and the Coen brothers effortlessly and with almost tedious regularity squirted out top-notch qualitertainment like Fargo and The Big Lebowski? Well, wake up, ask someone to slap you in the face as hard as they can, and accept the cold, hard reality of the present day, in which TheBeef is the star of the third-highest grossing film this year, Zemeckis can’t even remember what a real person looks like, and the Coen Brothers are making films like A Serious Man.

I can only really describe how terrible events are by bringing out The Incredible Suit’s Coen Brothers Qualitometer:

If ever there was a film in which a bunch of people said a bunch of stuff to some other people, then A Serious Man is it. No bikers from Hell, no hula-hoops, no bowling and no Dapper Dan. Just people. Talking.

Empire: 5 Stars
IMDb: 8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
The Incredible Suit: One solitary tear on Steve Buscemi’s bizarrely arranged face.

To comment on this post, click here

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

An Open Letter To Michael Bay

Dear Mr Bay,

You will be pleased to know that you are now free to retire. If District 9 wasn’t enough to convince you that a great science fiction film can be made for the cost of one of your haircuts, please take note of the following short film. It was made by Uraguayan Fede Alvarez and is due to be picked up by Sam Raimi, who will probably spend about half of what you spend on megaphone straps making it into a feature length movie.

Please also note the absence of Shia LaBeouf, who has been replaced by a small Uraguayan boy with better acting skills.

Now do go away.

Yours insincerely,
The Incredible Suit

PS The phrase "Robots gigantes invaden Montevideo!", which is how Mr Alvarez summarises the plot of his film, is more exciting than both Transformers movies.

To comment on this post, click here. Unless you are Michael Bay, in which case shut up and stay up.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

An Album Of Clannad B-Sides

As the world continues to barrel inexorably towards the December release of Avatar, it’s full steam ahead for interweb types who need to write something – anything – about it more often than they need to do that breathing in and out thing.

This week my eyes have been assaulted with previews of James Horner’s soundtrack to the film, which seems to me to be taking things a bit too far. I mean, what next? An in-depth analysis of the end credits? “Those names just keep on rolling up the screen in a relentless vertical direction, reminding us all that what we have just witnessed is a bunch of people who worked on a film for a bit… breathtaking. Stupendous. James Cameron is a genius and should be cloned so he can make all films ever from now on until the end of time.”

Unsurprisingly, the soundtrack is apparently so unspeakably amazing that entire planets have stopped rotating in order to have a good listen. Well, The Incredible Suit has had a bit of a listen here, and can confirm that it sounds a lot like an album of Clannad B-sides. I tried to avoid reading the track titles because I’ve heard they’re a bit spoilerific, but I do know that one track is called ‘Becoming One Of “The People” Becoming One With Neytiri’. So not only is Cameron changing cinema as we know it but he’s also taking an axe to sentence construction and sensible use of the English language.

Furthermore, following in the turgid, ear-insulting footsteps of Celine Dion, Leona Lewis is singing the song for the end credits, the 30 seconds of which I could bear to withstand were some of the absolute worst noises my ear drums have ever tried to stop from reaching my brain.

Anyway, I don’t want to diss Avatar or its soundtrack too much* in case it all does turn out to be orgasmically astonishing, so I’ll halt there in order to point out some much more exciting soundtrack news: Alan Silvestri’s full score for Back To The Future has finally got a proper release, courtesy of Intrada. This is fantabulous news because a) it’s completely ace, b) it was only previously available in snippets on other soundtrack albums and c) it comes with a second CD of a score that Silvestri recorded before dumping in favour of the one we all know and love.

Have a listen to a few clips here and tell me that’s not better than Enya’s cast-offs.

*Too late

To comment on this post, click here