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WEDNESDAY WHIMSY

By @hmsbeefnuts

Welcome once more to our regular Wednesday blog and this week, I was going to write something about WWE, but instead have written (or will write) some thoughts on films I have seen recently. I think that this year continues to be a strong one at the cinema, and although the end of August and beginning of September hasn’t been stellar, there have been a fair few films that I have seen, and enjoyed, for what they were. Sometimes, I think that expectations of certain films can cloud peoples opinions of said films. I feel it is always important to give every film you watch a chance to impress you, on it’s own merits, no matter how unnecessary a re-make it is, or how far a sequel pushes a tired concept. Apart from The Hangover 3, because fuck that.

Now I know earlier in the year I was down on The Amazing Spider-Man, I didn’t think it should have been put into reboot so quickly after a Spidey Trilogy that was mostly excellent. However, I still gave it a go, and although I did think that Raimi’s films were far superior, it still offered some things that were a slight improvement,although not many. Right with that over with, it is time to look at some of the films I have seen in recent days.

THE WATCH

Comedy is a tricky genre. I find it very hard to re-watch comedies, once I have seen it, that’s pretty much it, even if I liked the film, it takes a very special film for me to watch a comedy again and again. Hotrod is one such film. No matter how many times I watch it, it still makes me laugh. It was with high hopes than that I went to see The Watch, directed by Akiva Schaffer, the guy who made Hotrod. Now The Watch is no Hotrod, but I don’t think it deserves some of the poor reviews I have seen. As long as a comedy gives you some belly laughs every few minutes, then I feel it has done it’s job, and although The Watch is by no means the best comedy this year, I think Ted or 21 Jump Street are, it does supply enough chuckles to be perfectly OK.

 

The Alien invasion story line isn’t original, but at times it reminded me of Tom Hanks film, The Burbs, which can only be a good thing. The cast is good, although Stiller doesn’t have much to do other than be the straight man, Richard Ayoade gets all the best lines, and Jonah Hill continues to refuse to be type cast with another good and different performance. Vince Vaughn is also good, although playing very much the Vince Vaughn character, but I happen to like that, so that’s fine. The Aliens are good, scary enough to provide a threat, and the film is gory when it needs to be. All in all, The Watch is a comedy that is perfectly watchable, and provides a few hours of solid entertainment, although I will probably never watch it again.

TOTAL RECALL

I like Arnie films, a lot. Total Recall is one of his best. Do not go into this re-make thinking about the Arnie original. It is not the same film, and in some ways, it isn’t even that similar, apart from the basic premise of the plot, is the main character a real secret agent or not? This new film doesn’t get to go to Mars, instead, set after the world has experienced chemical warfare, there are now only two zones on Earth that are habitable. The United Federation of Britain is where everyone of importance lives, The Colony, or Australia, is where the majority of people work, and poorer people live. Workers move from home to work using The Fall, a lift that goes from Britain to Australia through the planets core. Doug Quaid leads a boring life, although he is married to Kate Beckinsale, so every cloud. He decides to visit Recall to live out his fantasy of being a spy. Thing is he is having dreams of Jessica Biel and shooting people, he probably should have told the Recall guys, because shit hits the fan.

Total Recall is visually stunning. The sets and effects are amazing, this is one of the best looking films this year. Once I stopped thinking about this being a remake, and started enjoying it for what it was, a slick Sci-Fi chase movie, I actually really enjoyed it. The acting is strong, although I hate Bill Nighy, thankfully he isn’t in it much. Also Brian Cranston as Cohaagen is just OK. I don’t get why everyone loves Cranston, for me he is just OK, guess I’m just Cranston Fickle (I’m so proud of that joke). At the start of the film, Quaid has a dream where his girlfriend Jessica Biel seemingly dies, and he wakes up in a cold sweat. That kind of sucks, until you realise that he is actually married to Kate Beckinsale, bonus, except, oh no she is evil, but that’s OK, because Jessica isn’t dead and is his girlfriend, sometimes life in a distopic future ain’t so bad.

THE POSSESSION

Although I’m not a religious person, I do like religious horror films. Exorcism/possession films are a scary favourite of mine and we have had a fair amount of Christian based horrors, now its time for a Jewish take, and this one is based on ‘a true story’ scary. I liked pretty much everything about this film. The cast was fine, the writing was good, the effects were OK, it just never felt scary or tense enough. The story revolves around a girl whose parents are divorced, who picks up a sealed wooden box with strange writing on it at a yard sale. Well right there we all know that that is a mistake, but the story continues. Eventually said girl opens the box, unleashing the evil spirit or dybbuk, which possesses her.

There are some good set pieces and everything is dark and depressing, but the tone feels slightly off. I didn’t find it at all scary, and I was on my own in the cinema. Although I didn’t hate it, it didn’t really full fill it’s mandate, that is, it didn’t shit me up. On that basis, I don’t think I can recommend the movie, although I did think it was an interesting two hours.

So another blog draws to a close. I’ll catch you soon.

Remake: JAWS

 By @hmsbeefnuts

Eons ago now, I wrote an article about re-making Ghostbusters for a new generation, basically re-casting the classic roles. In no way was I saying that the movie should be re-made, it should not, ever, but it was a fun exercise none the less, well I thought it was. So I thought I would continue my series of imagined re-makes with one of my personal favourite films of all time, JAWS. If anyone actually tried to re-make it in real life I think I would shit a brick, a literal brick, but they aren’t going to, and this is imaginary, so on with the fun!

Chief Martin Brody O.P.B. Roy Scheider

Brody is a tough character to cast. Scheider is so good in the role, bringing every-man charm to our protagonist. Someone then we can route for and like, but still convey Brody’s mortal fear of water. May I suggest Hugh Jackman? OK, so he would have to lose some of that Wolverine physique, but Jackman is one of the most likeable actors in Hollywood. I think he can play every-man, he can play superhero,Wolverine, and loser, Real Steel. I can see Jackman crouched on the sinking Orca as the shark comes towards him, ‘Smile you son of a bitch!’.

Quint O.P.B Robert Shaw

Quint is one of the greatest characters ever created in my view. He is amazing. As such, there are few actors who could bring Quint alive as well as Robert Shaw. My pick for this most awesome of roles goes to Russell Crowe. No stranger to life aboard a ship, check out Master and Commander, Big Russ could bring a great deal to the role of the salty sea dog. I bet he could give a killer U.S.S. Indianapolis speech. Would he be as good? I have trouble thinking anyone could replace Shaw, but if anyone could, then maybe, just maybe Maximus Decimus Meridius could, maybe.

Matt Hooper O.P.B. Richard Dreyfuss

Rounding out our trio of shark hunting heroes, Matt Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute. Younger, rich, an expert on sharks, Dreyfuss was again perfect in the role. Why am I racking my brains to try and recast this perfectly cast film? Well I can’t stop now, so I’m going for Ryan Reynolds. Handsome and at home with both comedy and more serious roles, casting Ryan Reynolds could allow for the remake to include parts of the novel that Spielberg didn’t choose to film. For example, in the novel Ellen Brody and Hooper have thought about an affair, a nice little side story that would work well with Reynolds.

Ellen Brody O.P.B. Lorraine Gary

Ellen Brody, at least in my mind, should be smart, sexy, a good mum and a strong woman. If we are going to go with the added plot point of a possible affair with Matt Hooper, she should also be drop dead gorgeous. May I suggest, Charlize Theron. A great actress and a stunning beauty, Ms. Theron would fit the bill exactly.

Mayor Larry Vaughan O.P.B. Murray Hamilton

I don’t know why, but the first name that came to mind when I thought about who to cast as Mayor Vaughan was Morgan Freeman, and the more I think about it, the more I like it. Freeman is obviously a great actor, and does extremely well in small, but important roles (see Nolan’s Batman franchise). Freeman can play pompous well, but can also do remorse and worry. Morgan Freeman is in my mind, a great choice for Mayor Vaughan.

Mrs. Kitner O.P.B. Lee Fierro

A figure of sympathy, pain and remorse, she has two big scenes and as such needs to be able to handle the emotions of losing her son to that bastard shark. For no other reason than I really fancy her, I would cast Kate Beckinsale. She is also a great actress, but I mainly fancy her.

Alex Kitner O.P.B. Jeffrey Voorhees

Another small role, but I hate when kids can’t act and ruin films. Kitner needs to be played by a smart kid who can act and I would like to suggest Brandon Stark himself, Isaac Hempstead Wright. A great actor and the beginning of his movie career.

Ben Gardner O.P.B. Craig Kingsbury

A tiny tiny role. Basically only a head is needed for THAT shocking moment. Can I suggest Paul Giamatti? If you have read my stuff before, you know why.

Chrissie Watkins O.P.B. Susan Backlinie

A tiny, but pivotal role, Chrissie Watkins is basically victim number 1, but her death is shocking and meaningful, and should resonate for the rest of the film. I’m imagining a bit of Scream style stunt casting, where a well known actress buys the farm early on. Watkins is a teenager, should be good looking, with the possibility of some nudity, she does die skinny dipping after all. My choice would be Jennifer Lawrence. She is Hollywood’s next big thing, and suitably famous after X-Men First Class and The Hunger Games. Her death would be shocking enough that the film would make a bold statement.

So those are my picks, and remember, in no way do I want this film to be remade, IT SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN. But this has been a fun exercise, at least for me, and I hope you have enjoyed it too. Did I make any glaring errors? Would you pick different actors? Let us know below.

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