Having recently watched the television series of Fargo, I wanted to go back and revisit this film. Set in small-town America, we have Jerry Lundegaard (William H Macy) arranging to have his wife, Jean (Kristin Rudrud) kidnapped to get the ransom from his rich father-in-law. The kidnappers: Carl (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear (Peter Stormare). But things don’t go great, and things are investigated by heavily pregnant cop Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand).
I love this film. It’s one of my favourites. It’s strange, sad, funny, odd, violent, wonderful, brilliant and I just loved it – I love it so very, very much, and will absolutely revisit regularly. Apparently, some people don’t get this film. I don’t get that.
Fargo won Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role (France McDormand) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen) and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.
Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are back. Not being sent into High School this time, but instead to College. And apart from that, everything’s the same. Or is it? No, not really. Then watch just under two hours of self-referential gags about sequels and themselves. And have a few laughs.
It’s not bad. About as good as the first, which was a lot better than I’d have thought it was going to be, but not amazing. It’s clearly a film that they had a lot of fun making, and that made it a lot of fun for me to watch, but I’m certainly not overly keen on seeing it again. But if you do watch it, stick around for the closing title sequence. It’s fun.
Have you seen Madagascar? Were your favourite characters the penguins? Do you want more? Here y’are.
It’s fabulous. Essentially, you’ve got Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chirs Miller) Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights). Private is valued for his cuteness but is not listened to for any practical skills. Then along comes the scary Dave (John Malcovich), an octopus with an axe to grind, and the penguins need to combine with the creatures of elite fighter group North Wind to save the day.
Great cast, fab scripting, lots of jokes for adults and even many of the jokes for the kids were good too. It’s rare at a film aimed at children to hear the adults laughing as much if not more than the children, but that’s what you get from this. (Side note… with my usual bug bear, there is very poor representation of females in this film. There is only one woman, and while she is capable, she is also the sexy love interest. Why oh why oh why could there not have been even a couple of female characters? Why couldn’t a couple of the penguins been girls? Or more of the North Wind crew? Or the baddie? Come on, people. Come on.)
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back as Mike Lowry and Marcus Burnett – almost a decade after the first film. This time, it’s not heroin, but ecstasy and add in to the mix, Marcus’s hot sister, Syd (Gabrielle Union) who is undercover in the whole operation.
It’s a pretty tedious film, I found. Yes, there were explosions and shoot ‘em up stuff, but the story wasn’t strong enough and the characters had lost their appeal from the first film. The only things that really got me through it were the bad guys – my favourite Peter Stormare and Michael Shannon who, prior to Boardwalk Empire, I did not know. Now, he’s one of my favourites, especially when he is playing a himbo-type character like this one.
No matter how many times I see this film, I can watch it more. It’s funny, tragic, quirky and ridiculous, and is one of my favourites ever.
So, there’s a guy called Lebowski who is better known as The Dude (Jeff Bridges). He’s an old hippy who potters around, getting through life somehow until one day his house is broken into by thugs who threaten him and urinate on his rug. When realising it is a case of mistaken identity, his best mates and bowling buddies Donnie (Steve Buscemi) and Walter(John Goodman) advise him on how to resolve this issue. And along the way are nihilists, artists, acid flashbacks, kidnappings, beating up cars and a lot of swearing.
If you’ve not seen the film, you may well not like it. Because if you have friends who like the film, they’ve probably forced it on you. If you didn’t like it, you may no longer have those friends – it’s one of those films that people get crazy passionate about. Use this as a test: watch this clip that shows the entrance of Jesus (John Turturro). If you don’t think this is the most magnificent introduction of a character in cinematic history, you may not like the film. And I’ll chuck it out there: what other character entrances are magnificent? (My second would be Ray Winston in the opening of Sexy Beast. Find that one yourself – I couldn’t find it on youtube. You need the full version with Peaches by The Stranglers)
We know the basic story – Hansel and Gretel are led to the woods by their father (for a variety of reasons, depending on the version of the fairy tale) in the middle of the night and abandoned. They come across a house made of candy and are trapped by a witch who wants to fatten them up and eat them. They trick her and throw her in the fire and escape. But what happens next? In this film, Hansel and Gretel grow older and fight witches all over the country. The film picks up on the pair as adults (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) saving an innocent woman from the clutches of evil Sherrif Berringer (the most wonderful Peter Stormare) who is about to publicly kill her as a witch. Eleven children have disappeared from the village of Augsburg, and the Mayor has hired Hansel and Gretel to find them. They discover that they are coming up to the Blood Moon and that many witches are arriving in the area to perform a specific ritual. And then things get really violent – gross and graphic fantasy violence.
I loved it. It’s got loads and loads of action, including some pretty impressive weaponry; the scripting is tight with just the right number of corny one-liners (although the last line from Gretel is appalling) and I was pretty impressed with the variety of different evil witches. It’s rated R, which is appropriate for the high level of violence. I’m glad it wasn’t cleaned up to get a lower rating – sometimes, gross violence is exactly what I want.
I’m hoping for a sequel, but in the meantime, I saw a trailer for Jack and the Beanstalk. It’s got some pretty impressive special effects, including loads of giants. I hope it’s good.