Monthly Archives: July 2006


There’s a point in Poseidon not long after the ship has capsized (I hope that didn’t come as a surprise) where the camera focuses on a pair of corpses apparently rising up from the dead. It turns out that there’s survivor beneath them, pushing them up and out of the way, but for a moment, I thought: wow, there’s going to be zombies in the film. How awesome would that be? Not only would the heroes have to make their escape from an upside-down sinking ship, they’d also have to avoid legions of the living dead, eager for human flesh.

And from that point on, whenever the camera would move through a corridor, panning past the bodies of passengers and crew, I couldn’t help but think…and now they’ll rise up!

But no. No zombies. Just a well put-together disaster movie remake. I like Josh Lucas. We need to see more of him.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

I haven’t been keeping up with my film news, so I walked into this film not realizing that it pulls a Matrix Reloaded at the end, i.e. it doesn’t end. It’s two-and-a-half hours of lead-up to a big cliffhanger. They don’t actually roll “To Be Continued” ahead of the end credits, but they might as well have done.

I DON’T LIKE THIS STYLE OF FILM MAKING. If you’re going to tell a story in that way, make it into a big-budget mini-series for TV, or string it out for a whole season. A week between episodes, I can just about handle (although I’m much more likely to watch it on DVD). But don’t make me wait a whole fucking year to find out how it ends. I don’t have that kind of patience. I’m happy to come back to the cinema again and again for more stories about the same characters (e.g. Bond, Mission Impossible, Harry Potter), but give me a nice self-contained story with a beginning, middle, and an end.

That said, the film is amusing enough for its duration. The word I couldn’t get out of my head while I was watching it was “spectacle”. The production values are astounding. The action sequences are brilliantly staged, combining thrills and laughs in equal measure. The make-up and effects for Davy Jones and his crew are grotesque and seamless. This is what a big-budget film should look like: absolutely fantastic.

But to counterbalance that, the script is lacklustre, and the characters are weak. The separated lovers are bland and devoid of on-screen chemistry, and even Captain Jack Sparrow with all his swagger isn’t as engaging the second time round. The themes driving the story are greed and desire, and it’s only towards the end that other elements such as honour, duty, and an emotionally significant betrayal start to creep in around the edges. It’s a good thing that is such a spectacle, because otherwise it would be a pretty soulless affair.

I only hope that the next episode (Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End, due in 2007) will somehow justify having used all of this one as an extended opening sequence.

Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy

It’s the 70s, and Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is San Diego’s top news anchor. He has it all, women, friends, respect, women… But his world is turned upside down when Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), an ambitious journalist joins the news team and starts pushing for his job. It’s silly fun; full of laughs but not quite bursting with them. The focus is too strongly on Will Ferrell as Ron, when the other characters have huge reserves of comic potential. The best of the secondary characters is Brick the clueless weatherman (Steve Carrell), who catches many of the funniest moments. It’s not a classic, but highly entertaining nevertheless.

The Edge

While on a fashion photo shoot in remote Alaska, photographer Bob (Alec Baldwin), billionaire Charles (Anthony Hopkins), and Bear Food (Harold Perrineae) find themselves stranded in the wilderness after their plane crashes. Charles suspects Bob of coveting his fashion model wife, and Bob suspects Charles of being a rich asshole. They’re both right, but they must work together to survive or die. There are bears, and Bear Food (odd name, but an appropriate one) gets eaten. There is hunting. There is rivalry and shouting. There is male bonding and betrayal. It’s massively contrived, and fails the suspension of disbelief test. Hopkins’ stuffy and reserved gentleman shows a decent transformation into Man Of The Wild, but Baldwin’s performance is hammy enough to be served by the slice. Everyone involved can do so much better.