Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) Film Review

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Two stoners, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Pen) get hungry and decide to go to White Castle (which is a specific brand of takeaway in the US that apparently is not all that prevalent). But things get really difficult, because they get into all kind of trouble. And that’s about it. It really is just your standard crap goes wrong to a couple of mates film, but there is one difference – the two stars are not white. It’s just so rare to see an Indian man and a Korean man as the two leads. Although that was kind of one of the reasons I hadn’t watched it sooner – I figured it would be a bunch of race jokes and stupid situations that wouldn’t make it worthwhile.

Well, yes, the villains of the films are all the whiteys – the arsehole workmates of Harold, the group of dickheads who run around tormenting shop owners and our two heroes with all kinds of racist nastiness, and the idiot police who are not only dumb but massively racist. But then, just about everyone in the film is an offensive stereotype. Yet there were a lot of parts of this film that I actually enjoyed – though I didn’t actually laugh out loud. There was also Neil Patrick Harris, which is always nice. Still, I won’t be racing off to see the other Harold and Kumar films, but I didn’t hate it.

 

Gone Girl (2014) Film Review

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When Amy Dunne (Rosmund Pike) goes missing, her husband Nick (Ben Affleck) is cooperative with police until evidence starts appearing that suggests perhaps she is not just gone, but dead, and he may not have been the man everyone thought he was. But even this is not what it appears, or is it? No. But is it?

This film did my head in. It’s really long and could have almost been two films, but it is utterly compelling. I look forward to reading some discussions on the sexual politics of this film; whilst watching the film, I tried to figure out if it is misogynistic. At this stage, I think no. There are some awful female characters, who do some nasty things, but I don’t think that in itself is misogynistic. It’s unpleasant, ugly, awful, nasty and horrible, but I think that the fact that it is involving women cannot immediately make it misogynistic. Surely it cannot only be men who do horrible things? I don’t know, I think I need to consider this a lot, and I cannot say whether or not I will change my mind. But I might.

A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) Film Review

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It’s the Wild West and things are pretty horrible. Albert (Seth MacFarlane) is a sheep farmer (although not very good at it) and a coward. After his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him, he wants to leave. He cannot be convinced to stay by his best mate, Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) or Edward’s girlfriend, Ruth (Sarah Silverman), but when a new lady arrives in town he is convinced to stay. Little does he know that Anna (Charlize Theron) is the wife of the evil Clinch (Liam Neeson) and he is in deep trouble. Plus, now Louise is dating the creepy mustachioed Foy (Neil Patrick Harris) can life get much worse?

I thought that I would get a few laughs out of this, but (like with Ted and Family Guy) be left with the bitter taste of casual misogyny and racism. I’m quite torn by Seth MacFarlane’s humour – he pushes things too far, but that often makes me laugh. Was the ‘I saw your boobs’ song at the Oscars misogynistic or just funny? I thought it was just funny. But there are plenty of other examples of humour that I find quite unpleasant.

Luckily, that nastiness seemed to be lacking in this film. Sure, there are not really great roles for women, but that seems to be fairly normal. In fact, my favourite moments on the screen were between Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi. Who could not love a couple that is waiting to have sex when one is an extremely popular prostitute? Oh, and every moment with Neil Patrick Harris – how marvelous to have a real, old school, over-the-top, magnificent, mustache-twirling villain?

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would watch it again with very little encouragement. It’s just plain funny, (mostly low-brow, with the odd very clever remark, but why would you expect much more?) with good writing that balances the line of living in the time but having a total awareness of the future. Apparently, everyone else hated this film. It’s only got one-and-a-half stars on Rotten Tomatoes. Huh.

Starship Troopers (1997) Film Review

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You want fighting and guns and big teeth and patriotism for the planet Earth? This is your film. Set sometime in the future, with Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien), Dizzy Flores (Dina Meyer), Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards) and Carl Jenkins (Neil Patrick Harris) graduating high school. There are two key options for them; college or service in the army – and with this comes citizenship. The world is in a universe overrun by alien insects, and soldiers are needed. If you get through the battle, you have additional rights that not citizens have. Rico, however, joins because he is in love with Carmen. Dizzy is in love with Rico. Carmen is kind of falling for Rico’s former sports rival, Zander (Patrick Muldoon). It’s not all soap opera, though. In training, these guys meet Ace Levy (Jake Busey) the man with the largest teeth ever and a desire to kill bugs.

Doesn’t sound like sophisticated festival fare? It’s not. It’s gory and gross, and overacted with a cheesy script and generally a whole heap of ridiculousness. I love it. I’ve seen it at least half a dozen times, and I fully intend to watch it again and again.