The Hobo Reviews

One homeless man. Lots of movies! And even more trampagne!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Oh dear!

Apparently Quentin Tarantino is planning to make a sort of sequel to Pulp Fiction involving the twin brothers of both Vega brothers. Oh dear!

I'm hoping this is some sort of nonsense story, the kind that often emanates from the Hollywood Hills when there are no other stories of note to report. What the world doesn't need is a sequel to Pulp Fiction. Occasionally, films really don't need sequels. Pulp Fiction was - and still is - brilliant. It helped re-energise cinema for the next decade, paving the way for indie movie makers the world over. It stands on its own, and any attempt to make something else from it will only create another unneccessary sequel and take some of the lustre off the original.

Let's hope it is just one of those projects that QT starts but never finishes (Inglorious Bastards etc. etc.).

Eeets verrrrry niiiieeece - Borat

Borat is the second cinematic outing for one of Sacha Baron Cohen's comic creations. The first Ali G In Da House was a cinematic abomination that was about as funny as tertiary syphillis. It was amateurish, badly paced, lacking insight and without humour of any kind - in other words it was everything that Ali G's TV interviews were not - a shame because in bite-sized interview doses Ali G was hilarious. When I first heard that Borat was being turned into a film I held out very little hope. In fact, I expected a bag of wank as the result.

I am glad to say that I was very wrong. Borat is hilarious. Or, at the very least, the interview sections are, and occasionally the linking material rises to similar moments of comic inspiration. And the reason it works is because the film looks amateurish and unsophisticated but is in fact the product of a very intelligent and funny man.

The plot - which is barely a plot at all - concerns Borat (Cohen) a repulsive, bigoted, clumsy Kazhakstani reporter travelling to America with his producer Azamat (Ken Davitian) to interview Americans for the benefit of his nation of Kazhakstan. However, along the way he falls in love with Pamela Anderson and takes off across America to find her and win her heart. And that is it. That's all the story there is.

The beauty of Borat is that the story is secondary to the jokes. And the jokes and pranks are - for the most part - brilliant. Whether it is feeding Bill Barr cheese upon their first meeting (an invented Kazhakstani custom) only to tell the man as he is about to swallow that the cheese has been made from breast milk of Borat's wife, or asking a gun store owner what the best weapon is for defending himself from Jews, the jokes always show Borat as dumb but his victims as dumber. Some of the things he gets people to say on camera beggars belief. Of course, some of this material is totally set-up. The final meeting between Borat and Pamela Anderson is a false note, and the dinner party stretches credibility once the prostitute arrives, and the scenes involving Borat, his producer, and the kindly Jewish B&B owners are bum notes. However, this is nitpicking, particularly as there are more laughs in this film than there has been from the entirety of Hollywood's comic output for about the last five years. The driving lesson, Bill Barr, the scenes at the rodeo, the naked wrestling and the first part of the dinner party are so funny I practically split my sides.

Borat is currently smashing up the box office on both sides of the Atlantic and if you book early you might just be able to get a seat!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Welcome back Mr Scorsese - The Departed

Martin Scorsese is one of a number of great directors from the Seventies who has chosen 2006 to make a comeback of sorts (the others being Woody Allen and Brian De Palma). However, the big difference between Scorsese and his New York compatriots is that he has actually produced an excellent film to go with the 'comeback'. Woody Allen directed the hideous Matchpoint, one of the biggest pieces of shit produced by anybody this year, with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers giving the worst lead performance of the year, and De Palma has made a weak version of James Ellroy's excellent novel The Black Dahlia. Make no mistake, this is Scorsese's finest since the vastly underrated Casino, a film that I consider to be a stone-cold classic.

The Departed is a remake of the superb Infernal Affairs, a Hong Kong set cat-and-mouse tale (starring Andy Lau and Tony Leung) of snitches on both sides of the law hunting each other down. The original spawned two increasingly weak sequels that cashed in on the originals huge box office returns. Scorsese has changed enough to ensure that the same fate will not befall this film. What hasn't changed is the major portion of the plot. Snitches are still hunting each other down, but this time they are doing it in Boston rather than Hong Kong, and it is Irish immigrants rather than the Triads. Matt Damon takes on the Andy Lau role as Colin Sullivan, a mob informant for vicious gangster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) who has used his considerable charm to work his way up the Massachussetts State Police. Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the Tony Leung role as William Costigan, a deep undercover officer who has infiltrated Costello's crew and who fears for his life at every turn. Eventually the police realise that they are harbouring an informant for Costello and Costello realises that he too has a rat in his organisation. As the heat rises, and the body count increases, the two snitches start hunting each other. There are several changes from the original - the main one being that DiCaprio's psychiatrist and Damon's lover are the same woman, in the original they were two different women. There are some other changes too, but I won't mention them as they will spoil things for you.

The Departed is excellent. I wanted to hate it because I loved Infernal Affairs, a film which proved to the public at large that Hong Kong's film industry produces more than martial arts and action films. However, it is far too good a film to hold the fact that it is a remake against it. Scorsese directs the film with real passion, something that was noticeably absent from Gangs of New York and The Aviator (his other DiCaprio collaborations), and the film has a pace that belies its near two and a half hour running time. He handles the dialogue and the action with the sure touch of a master and also draws fantastic performances from the entire cast. Damon and DiCaprio do the best work of their careers, Damon makes Sullivan wonderfully uptight and furtive and DiCaprio's Costigan is fantastically harried and twitchy. Nicholson plays Frank Costello with a combination of charm and psychosis and is funny and frightening in equal measure, hardly a stretch for the old guy but it is still a nicely played turn. The supporting cast are also excellent: Vera Farmiga as the love interest plays her role with gusto, Alec Baldwin is good value, Martin Sheen, as DiCaprio's decent controller, is superb and (most surprisingly) Mark Wahlberg is brilliant as Dignam, the foul-mouthed 'bad cop' to Sheen's 'good cop'.

The technical credits are equally as good. William Monahan's script is profane and urbane in equal measure, surprising because he wrote the excremental Kingdom of Heaven, and gives the entire cast some juicy dialogue to speak. Michael Ballhaus' cinematography is less flashy than his work in Goodfellas, but it is nicely composed and lit nonetheless. Scorsese regular Thelma Schoonmaker shows us why she is considered to be one of the best editors in the business, the early cross-cutting between Damon and DiCaprio as cadets is fantastic stuff. Be assured, this is commercial American film-making at its finest and everybody is at the top of their game.

I can't recommend The Departed highly enough. It has Scorsese returning to something approaching top form; an a-list cast giving (in some cases) the finest performances of their careers and it keeps the excellent premise and plotting of the original without adding extra layers of Hollywood schmaltz. It might not earn Scorsese the Oscar he desperately wants but what does the Academy know anyway? They're idiots. Scorsese will have his place in the cinematic pantheon long after most Oscar winners have disappeared from the hearts and minds of most movie-goers. That knowledge and his biggest ever opening weekend should comfort him on Oscar night.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Hobo Returns

The Hobo has a problem: it is one that I feel many of you will know. I like my drink too much.

Occasionally, it helps dull the pain of day-to-day living, regardless of whether it be foraging through bins for a meal, sneaking my dishevelled carcass in and out of press screenings or sleeping amongst the wooded areas of Burgess Park (and trying to avoid the attentions of homosexuals looking for a clandestine tryst).

However, every so often, I drink far too much.

About a year ago I began imbibing life-threatening quantities of wood alcohol. Despite my reservations I could not stop myself, the fresh woody aromas and sharp, crisp flavours were just too tempting. And then the decay began.

I began to laugh during a screening of Martin Lawrence's latest comedy. Despite my best intentions, and my furious hatred, I began to see complexities in his frantic mugging, each expression lay bare the tears of a clown. What once appeared as a cacophony of shouting was filtered through alcohol earplugs as beautiful, subtle and rich as a poet's whisper. Where once stood an imbecilic homunculus now stood a comedic colossus. From here I began to appreciate Jimmy Fallon's work in Taxi, seeing a truthful insight into the frailties of the human condition where I had once found only raw sewage. From here I descended into a hell of self-loathing driven by the raw power of illicit alcohol and a new-found appreciation of the method stylings of Freddy Prinze jr. In addition to begging for coins for the bitter nectar of wood alcohol, I began to crave rom-coms and PG-13 horror, I found a deep, zen-like respect for the works of Uwe Boll (a vastly under-rated director and not a complete cunt, after all). And then, when I felt that I could sink no lower, the walls of sanity truly caved: I was caught shoplifting a box-set of Working Title DVDs. Oh, the filthy, delicious shame of it! Love, Actually; Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason; Wimbledon and other assorted shit.

It was then that I checked myself into rehab. I was attached to the eyeball contraption from A Clockwork Orange and fed a diet of teen romances, Freddy Prinze jr comedies, Jimmy Fallon abominations and Martin Lawrence crap-fests until, eventually, I began to see the error of my ways. Slowly, but surely, my feelings for cinema returned and I felt the power of celluloid within me. And then, one bright September morning, I was released onto London's grimy, tourist sodden streets to strike out against cinematic hate crimes waiting to happen.

That's right, the Hobo is back.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Comments

I have now gotten rid of my comments section because of spam happy scumbags leaving bullshit comments against my posts. Characters such as, The Editor, have spoilt it for everyone. Editor, you sir, are a malevolent prick. Fuck off and spoil somebody else's blog.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Scum

Apparently, Hollywood execs are planning to remake 'The Wild Bunch'. Do these wretched cocksuckers have any shame at all? Why fuck with perfection? It is being made as a modern day western/action film. Here's a potted review. It is shit. I don't even have to see it to know that it will be lowest common denominator garbage for a demographic with little taste and even less film history appreciation. Sometimes I truly despair!

Posting

To people who are using my comments section to promote their own blogs. Kindly, fuck off! Unless you have something interesting to say then don't post a comment on my blog. I don't want to know about "your great dane site" or whether you fuck each other gently in the dark after the lights go out. I'm really not interested. The only thing I'm interested in is reviewing films and ensuring that the comments I get are film related or related to sites I'm interested in. Which reminds me, where are you, Grace? Your blog has been replaced by a Poker site. If you still check out my blog then let me know where your new blog is?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Revulva - Revolver

People told me to avoid this one, to accept that Guy Ritchie had turned to the dark side for good, nonetheless I chose to ignore them. Surely, Revolver couldn't be that bad? After all, Lock, Stock and Snatch were both pretty entertaining films and were damned by association with all the shitty British gangster films that followed in their wake (Rancid Aluminium; Essex Boys; You're Dead; To Love, Honour and Obey and other assorted dreck). I didn't see Swept Away, because anything with Madonna in automatically qualifies as the worst in film in that year, but I thought that maybe Revolver might see Ritchie do what he does best: enjoyably flashy and entertaining trash.

However, I was very wrong! Revolver is the cinematic equivalent of a skunkweed induced whitey.

Revolver is awful, and Madonna's fingerprints are all over it in the form of the nonsensical Kaballah mysticism which permeates the soul of this nonsensical film. And Guy can't deflect criticism away from himself with this film because he wrote every wretched word. Ostensibly, the film is about a hotshot gambler and con-man, Jake (Jason Statham), who, fresh out prison for a crime he didn't commit, upsets a crimelord called Dorothy (Ray Liotta) by winning lots of money at his casino, in addition to insulting the guy. Dorothy responds by putting a hit out on him, which he needn't have bothered with because Jake has a rare disease which will kill him within three days. And he is then accompanied around the screen by two loan-sharks (one of whom is Outkast's Andre 3000, who - like Madonna - should stick to the music) who teach him about the self and other such philosophical issues of note. Oh, and Liotta rants 'Fear me' at Statham whilst in his underpants. It is as hideous and eye-scarring a sight as it sounds.

The Hobo prides himself on being able to follow even the most complex of plots but this one lost me completely. It seems to make no sense at all. Normally a film that loses me is smarter than I, but in this case it seems like the work of a preening undergraduate with delusions of intellectual grandeur. Revolver is not smart, it is thoroughly idiotic. Philosophy does not belong in action films, even ones with arthouse pretensions. It is also dogged by uninspired turns by the cast, probably due in part that nobody understands what the film is about either. Statham's stoic, expressionless face is not cool but the face of a man struggling to understand what the fuck he is meant to be talking about. However, the film is also very beautiful to look at. The technical credits are all top-notch and the production design by Eve Stewart is superb, deserving of a better film than this.

Avoid this film unless you want to know the befuddled feeling that comes of toking on a bong for a few seconds too long. And, Guy, stick to making films and leave the philosophy to Kierkegaard, Foucault and others with a more defined grasp of what the human condition is all about. Sorry, kid, but you just aren't smart enough!

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Worst Fucking Thing in the World...EVER!

I mean David La Chapelle's "Romeo and Juliet".

Actually, I mean H&M's presentation of the above.

Actually, I mean it is one of those annoying clusterfucks that purport to be adverts, but are in fact five-minute (but feel like five-hour) adverts that are filled with pretty people selling us shit that we neither need or, hopefully, want.

And this is the worst one ever: meaning it is worse than the most hideous abomination your mind could ever dredge up. It really is that bad.

It follows the adventures of two idiots, who wear masks, H&M denims, and dance around like retards...oh, and in one unforgettable scene Juliet floats down from a fire escape. The male idiot is shot and, thankfully, killed for what appears to be no reason - although I chuckled to myself and imagined them to be in the Hobo's employ! Then the female idiot drools over his corpse and begins singing like Mary J Blige and is then shot by the Police for holding up the male idiot's mobile phone for them to see; presumably the photo on his phone was something they found offensive. Or maybe they were London's finest who had mistaken her for a Brazilian and killed her just to make sure. And then comes the coda of the happy lovers on a bed - half naked in H&M denims! Which is - of course - what really happens to you after you die.

At the end - on both occasions - the cinema was filled with hoots of mortified derision. And on both occasion the Hobo led the outcry.

And I've seen it twice! But I would have preferred never to have seen it at all. After watching it I felt faintly filthy. I felt like only a shower of scorching acid could clean the stench of it from my skin. Fortunately, both times, I followed this abomination with David Cronenberg's quite brilliant 'A History of Violence', a film which I enjoyed all the more because I was able to imagine every one of Viggo Mortensen's crippling assaults were being inflicted upon the broken cadaver of David La Chapelle.

How H&M - who always seemed like a fairly savvy company - could possibly imagine that this wretched abomination would make pepole want to buy jeans is beyond me. It doesn't make me want to buy jeans. It makes me want to burn them! And then maybe throw La Chapelle into the pyre for good measure. And then maybe myself, so that the pain will finally all be over!

This monstrosity is being threatened in cinemas everywhere all through October. If you see the titlecard then do something useful: leave the auditorium immediately and buy confectionary and fizzy drinks for the next five minutes.

Or you could always hunt down and destroy David La Chapelle. But, beware, the Hobo will leading the way!

Oh, and for anyone interested, the short film is taking longer than expected, so I will be resuming normal service until I can get get the funds and the actors needed to pursue my dream!

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