Tuesday 22 October 2013

Life 2.0

Bullseyes:  ④ (out of 5)

Some documentaries are f***ed up.  Life 2.0 is one of them.  The movie follows the online antics of four sad sap url addicts who while away their wasted lives playing the popular virtual reality game, ‘Second Life’.

Up first is a bored housewife looking for…something.  A recent divorcee from Calgary is happy to give it to her.  And give it to her he does.  Over and over and over… Christ.  I’ve never seen animated sex before but watching these two grind their invisible organs together while moaning in imagined ecstasy is anything but erotic. 

‘Asri’ is a chirpy, well rounded young lassie who rarely sees the sun, trapped as she is in her underground compound building her imaginary fashion empire which – believe it or not – actually makes her money! (Real money!  Over 6 figures some years…).  Asri is the most loveable of the featured subjects, partly because she appears to be genuinely talented and she does at least make the effort to get out of the house and go and meet her avatar alter-ego amigos.

‘Ayya’ is the  wackiest of the bunch.  A 30 something web designer who’s fiancée mopes upstairs in the kitchen while he ignores her in favour of his online imitation which just happens to be – an 11 year old girl…?


In the end Life 2.0 confirms something I have long suspected: we humans are seriously f****d up.

Captain Phillips

Bullseyes:  ④ (out of 5)

For a man who said, ‘Stoopid is as stoopid does’ it’s hard to believe that Tom Hanks or anyone else would consider floating down the Somalia coastline with a boat full of goodies.  But that’s exactly what he does!

Captain Phillips follows the travails of Tom and the rest of his container ship’s crew as they navigate the treacherous waters off the Somalia coast and run, inevitably, into a band of dastardly pirates.


But, instead of just grabbing the booty, tying the deck hands to the mizzenmast and making Hanks walk the plank, these pirates are greedy for more plunder and decide to take poor Tom hostage. 

Run Forrest run!

This movie is all about the tension.  Action, standoffs and tension.  Then more tension… aaah!  I can barely stand it.  In fact it’s a relief when it’s all over, especially for Hanks whose understated yet authentic reaction at the end is about as good as it gets.  


Bullseyes:  ③ (out of 5)

I was a little up in the air about watching the latest Alfonso Cuarón blockbuster flick, but seeing that my wife was feeling a little down after a hard day at work I decided to give this movie a whirl.  Hold on, give it a whirl?  That phrase doesn’t make sense… Oh come on - how many gravity puns do you think there are?  I’d like to see you do any better…

Anyway I was hoping I would not be too enthused by this epic so that I could say something about it never getting off the ground.  Or perhaps tell the director to come back down the earth.  But, alas, it was actually pretty good so I’ll have to save these killer puns for another movie review (perhaps one about, ‘The Void’ starring Bruce Willis as a jet pilot who flies too high, or maybe ‘Goodbye Moon’:  Nuke misfire blows up the moon and the earth’s gravity ebbs away…(Christ I should be pitching these to Ridley Scott, they are Gold!))

Gravity is a movie about Sandra Bullock grunting inside a spacesuit.  It starts with her gasping as she works to fix something complicated outside the space station, and progresses to panting and grunting as she floats away into oblivion.  George Clooney keeps her grunting company for a while until he remembers that he’s paid mainly for his good looks and you can’t see him inside a spacesuit so he dutifully drifts off into another movie (Spoiler alert! Wait, too late.  Sorry!)

Gravity is a concise and satisfying little epic, improbable of course, and not remotely in need of any the big name actors it employs, but a fine movie none-the-less. I wish all the award waffle would cease though – this movie isn’t going to get any big noms.  You can’t get a best actor nod for grunting and there’s precious little character development or plot to push this flick even close to the Oscar sun.  But it will probably get a bag full of technical awards so that’s something.

My only gripe with Gravity is Clooney and Bullock.  Why put big names in here?  In a 3D stratosphere featuring deadly projectiles, burnt out space stations and beautiful planet earth as a backdrop – why do we need Dr.  Ross and that chick from Speed?  Clooney and Bullock almost pull you out of the movie – back down to earth you could say (ha! Got it!) – But, fortunately the 3D effects and taut direction keep our feet firmly off the ground (yes again!) and floating to the inevitable conclusion (nailed it!).  

The Beaver

Bullseyes:  ③ (out of 5)

When my wife told me we were watching a movie called The Beaver starring Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence I thought, ‘Yes, get in!’  But there was a misunderstanding.  Evidently The Beaver is a manky puppet attached to Mel Gibson’s hand rather than, well, never mind.

Mel is a deeply depressed Corporate Executive looking for a way out (he wasn’t the only one… Once I realized I’d been tricked into watching a one man puppet show I was scanning the exits like crazy I can tell you.)

In an effort to pull himself out of his funk Mel begins to communicate through a discarded hand puppet. A bit of a stretch sure, but, despite the quirky premise and ridiculous title The Beaver is surprisingly watchable.  But not nearly as watchable as, ‘Blonde Beavers Aboard!’ - A thoughtful treatise on the sticky subject of sex addiction and its impact on an overweight ship’s captain and his crew…