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Saturday, July 27, 2002

Oh, and if you're going out to see "Austin Powers in 'Goldmember'" at the movies tonight, you're in for a treat.

I was fortunate enough to catch the latest installment in Mike Myers and director Jay Roach's spy-spoof trilogy on Thursday afternoon's previews at the positively, definitely, absurdly huge "Full Monty" screen at Sheffield's UGC enormoplex, and it was a treat for both the ears and the eyes - You really haven't lived until you've seen Austin's dentally-challenged laughing gear rendered at the size of your average small family car (A sight almost as scarifying as the trailer for Devlin and Emmerich's forthcoming anti-valentine to Arachnophobes everywhere, "Eight Legged Freaks!", which preceded the movie and scared the living bejeebus out of half of the audience).

I might get into more detail about the movie on tomorrow's update, but I will say that you can't afford to miss the opening ten minutes of the film - It's an uproarious delight, which features too many cameos to list here and which would be wholly spoiled if you went into the theatre with foreknowledge of the absurd delights about to dance before your eyes.

And K. didn't even mind the guest shot by a Very Successful American Pop Princess , which neatly brings the whole sequence to something approaching fever pitch.

She's cool like that.


I might just have to skip home, not unlike a small child who's just scooped up all of the playtime marbles.

The fine people at Future Entertainment have just e-mailed me to tell me that my Region One DVD copy of "The Fellowship Of The Ring" is in the post and going on previous form, should be with me on Monday. That would be about a week and a day ahead of the UK release of the DVD: I thumb my nose at you, HMV! WH Smith? You're old school! Look at my early shipping from the US and weep like the buffoons that you are! "Moo-wha-ha! Moo-wha-ha!" (That would be an evil laugh, in case you were wondering ...)

Of course, this means that I might actually have to get around to getting some half-decent rear speakers and a subwoofer, so that I can enjoy the DD5.1 EX soundtrack properly, but as I still actually kind of like my neighbours, I'll be keeping the earth-rumbling bits to a bare minimum and I wouldn't even think of engaging the "Cinema Studio EX A" mode on my Sony receiver (That's the mode which makes everything sound like a DTS audio mix and is thus, fairly fricking LOUD...).

Now, if I can only figure out a way to buy some decent KEF Cresta 2's and some snarky-neat speaker cable, my home cinematics will be appropriately epic...


Tuesday, July 23, 2002

As I really don't want to cause K. any more unacceptable blushing episodes, I'm going to get on with the usual, insubstantial inanity that my blog specialises in and review the very real waste of a DVD that is the latest Vinnie Jones flick, "Mean Machine".

I know, I know - Footie, Vinnie Jones, post-"Lock, Stock..." macho bluster; How could it possibly fail?

Everybody's favourite soccer hardnut stars as Danny Meehan, a former England captain who takes a bung to gift a penalty to - Egad! - Germany during a vital international match, leading him down a path of self-destructive dimwittedness which results in a drunk-driving conviction and a stiff prison sentence in a nick populated chiefly by British character actors (Look! Ralph Brown! That one-armed bloke from "Robin's Nest"! The fella with the eyebrows from "Gladiator"!). Things are far from good for our anti-hero and become rapidly worse when he realises that his prison home for the next three years is the kind of place that makes Shawshank prison look like the kind of place that Jeffrey Archer might reasonably expect to find himself in.

For one thing, the inmates are not the kind of people who forgive and forget their sporting heroes doing the dirty on their own country and take great delight in giving Vinchester a good hiding every time he pops his head out onto the landing. And, as for the foul-mouthed, spittle-lipped, boggle-eyed, amusingly-sideburned nutjob pyromaniac who takes a shine to the Jonesmeister, you can't help but feel that therein lies a dude that you don't want to spending quality cell time with (It was the old school rave anecdotes that did it for me, I must confess...).

And that's not the worst of it - Our Danny, who rejoices in the not-even-slightly-camp, tabloid-bestowed nickname of "The Mean Machine", has been railroaded to this particular prison to whip the resident footie side of lardy, thuggish prison warders into something approaching a proper team, mostly to clear the gambling debts of the - Would you believe it? - exceedingly corrupt governor. Cue our Vin rounding up a team of equally psychotic fellow jailbirds and leading them in a brutal, sadistic, and far from polite tete-a-tete with the forces of law, in one of those massively violent showdowns which only happen in testosterone-fixated geezer-fests like this one.

Debuting director Barry Skolnick fails to do much of any note with his first feature movie, sadly, seemingly being happy to ape the Scorsese-lite shenanigans of his benefactor, executive producer and professional Mockney, Guy "Cor! Luv-a-duck!" Ritchie. The editing? As kinetic and over-caffeinated as that of "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock...". The screenplay? Seemingly chucked together from old "Minder" scripts. Even Ritchie's ensemble cast turn up in cameos, with the most noticable alumni being Jason Statham (Who I actually kind of dig - He's quite good value as headcase lag, The Monk, whose role as goalie causes him to have the soccer-field equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder flashbacks. And yes, those flashbacks are as mental as they sound) and Jason Flemyng, whose turn as a match commentator is almost worth the price of a rental on its own.

As for Vinnie? He's playing himself, again, or a larger than life variant thereof, and does a sterling job of squinting, grimacing and laying into unsuspecting midfielders with his Two-Footed Tackles of Doom. If you enjoyed Vinnie in his previous flicks (I was quite fond of his taciturn mortician Sphinx, in "Gone In 60 Seconds"), and you like the sound of a movie which makes "Escape To Victory" look like "Schindler's List", you might have a better time with this movie than I did. The football scenes are satisfyingly hardcore, if that's your bag, and the plot is simple to the point of being non-existant.

You have to think that Mr. Skolnick might well want to consider a less paraochial project for his next directorial effort - It's hard to see anybody outside this fair island being at all interested in the laddish, boorish caperings depicted in this only modestly interesting time-waster.



Sunday, July 21, 2002

Unusually enough, I have nothing much to say about anything filmic at the moment.

This is mostly because events in my actual, real life are presently really ace and have succeeded in diverting my attention away from the full-on triviality of flicks, my stalled-in-development Home Cinema system-thing and other stuff which (Whisper it quietly) doesn't amount to a hill o' beans in the actual, real world.

The reason for this sudden refocussing and general sense of enlightenment?

Why, K., of course. She's special. And all kinds of wonderful. I just think that she should know that rather singular and undeniable truth, which may even now be causing her to blush and be terribly embarassed.

If it's any compensation at all, K., I'm doing just as much blushing writing this as you may be in reading it.

I am, after all, as you are only too aware, a Great Big Wuss Boy...


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