Friday, August 15, 2008

Ride For Ruin!

You know how the events in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil are sent spiralling out of control when one of the Information Retrieval, Subjects For Detention & Interview forms prints Buttle on a form instead of Tuttle? I sometimes worry that when the time comes for the appointed lynch mob to drag twat filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson into the street for a brutal day-long beating, broadcast live to cheering cinephiles around the globe, the yarps will accidentally grab Paul Thomas Anderson by mistake.

There seems to be a raft of youngish directors nowadays that are gleefully making films that have no artistic merit, are quite frankly thoroughly repellent, and cater only to the baser human instincts. Their audience are the sort of vermin who are probably unhappy that they missed seeing Kitty Genovese get what they obviously think she deserved; the nasty pieces of work bubbling under the surface of society who need a fast introduction to either chemical castration or a bolt gun.

Anderson’s films primarily suffer from braindead idiocy, something that strangely never seems to be a problem for him. Coming up is Death Race. I’m sure the crowds will go absolutely wild with glee. I never bothered to catch Death Race 2000 because I’m not a great fan of Roger Corman’s oeuvre. I suppose it had satire going for it with the whole extreme sports parody that put it in the same category as Norman Jewison’s Rollerball.

While the original followed a morally bankrupt race across the United States, with the drivers garnering points by mowing down civilians, the remake confines the race to within the walls of a “notorious” prison, with the warden forcing inmates to drive against each other. I suppose that’s an idea that we could probably live with. Except in this prison the cars are decked out with an array of weapons and the drivers have a navigator that has been bussed in from the nearby women’s prison.

Let’s just run by that again. The prisoners drive cars loaded down with weaponry, with some hot chick in the seat beside them. There’s suspension of disbelief and then there’s taking disbelief and booting it so hard in the nuts that it ends up in orbit. Judging from the trailer, which is primarily a hodgepodge of scrappy race shots and Ian McShane hopefully being paid a princely sum to recite the most clichéd dialogue imaginable, you get the impression that this is going to be a bad idea for the characters in the film and the audience who foolishly puts down good money to watch this twaddle.

Six years ago John McTiernan remade Rollerball, which pretty much put a stake through his career even before the whole business with Anthony Pellicano came to light. I suppose we can hope that Death Race finally helps puts paid to Anderson. Jesus, it looks shocking. Can you actually think of anything worse?


At 3:52 pm, Blogger qrter said...

No, he'll survive. Because Anderson is invincible. I mean, if anyone can make something truly, horribly dreadful like Alien vs. Predator and not get their innards ripped out by mobs of seething film fans in the streets, they've attained a level of invincibility that would make God cry in envy.

Yes, the Alien franchise went slowly down the drain with each consecutive film. And the fourth, Alien Resurrection, really did seem the lowest you could go with the Alien-universe (eventhough Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a great director, I think).

Along comes Anderson. He basically did to Alien what Russell T. Davies did to Who. He mangled the source material into what a 13-year-old fanboy would do with it, apparently leaving all sense and logic in his other pants.

Poor Ian McShane. He more or less rehabilitated himself from the dark, dark Lovejoy years with the wonderful Deadwood and then he goes and does something like this..

At 5:21 pm, Blogger lulu said...

What should Ian McShane do, lie around bathing in rose petals until he's offered a part film snobs approve of? Eff dat. He wants to work and he wants to make money, and that's exactly what he's doing these days. I give him props for surviving in the business for 45 years.

At 7:01 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

I got as far as Alien 3, which I think is a terrific movie and the one I return to more times than Scott’s original and James Cameron’s war movie.

Jeez, pretty much the whole of the animation studio trooped off to see Alien Resurrection when it was released. It was tolerable until the freaking albino monster made an appearance and we just pissed ourselves laughing. The whole series seems to have the directors battling idiot producers just as much as the characters battle the damn aliens.

I didn’t even bother with Alien vs Predator, although I saw maybe the first ten minutes when it was on the box and that was enough. It was just fanboy wank. I think you’re spot on putting Anderson in the same category as Davies. If there is ever another Doctor Who movie, Anderson will probably be on board as director.

I could never understand how the Emmy nominators and voters would dive onto The Sopranos, as good as it was in the beginning, and greedily sucking away but almost completely ignore Milch’s Deadwood. Swearengen was an absolute force of nature that made Tony Soprano look like a country vicar. I bet he has an absolute hoot doing things like Kung Fu Panda

Oh qrter, me old mate, we’re a couple of film snobs! Who would have thunk it? Well, if being a film snob means wanting wanting well made movies rather than this crap which insults the intelligence and is watched by fucking morons too fucking thick to realize, then... yeah, lulu, I’ll take a fucking tee-shirt, thank you very fucking much!

At 7:13 pm, Blogger lulu said...

Hey, I wasn't defending Death Race; I was defending McShane's need to work and some people's judgment of him for taking what's offered him.

Death Race was made for teenage boys and men who still think like teenage boys (or as you better put it, "fucking morons too fucking thick to realize"). I'm sure Death Race will be exactly as promised: a suckfest. But it will have Ian McShane in it.

At 8:10 pm, Blogger qrter said...

You know, I'm quite sure Ian McShane couldn't give a shit what anyone on the internet thinks of him or which roles he chooses for whatever reason and quite rightly so.

But I still can think it's sad to see a good actor turn up in a (probable) piece of crap like this. It's a bit like Ben Kingsley in the last few years.

I have no problem being called a snob, since it generally seems to mean you seem to have realised you have a choice in what you read/watch/listen to/eat/drink/whatever, you have a computer and an internet connection.

At 3:25 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

There were obviously crappy films when I was a teen, but I’m damned if I can remember any of them. They were no doubt cheap and perhaps not terribly well made, but they tried their best to tell a decent story. I’ve never been taken in by all the empty razzle-dazzle.

As the production side improved, I always thought these films would get better. But there are still the poorly-educated masses to contend with. I suppose they’re the contemporary take on the plebs who would crowd into the Colosseum, braying at the barbarism on display. This lot that trot off to see these torture porn films really should sit down, alone, and take a long look inside themselves.

When it comes to actors appearing in films we wouldn’t expect to find them, there’s always the business side to consider. Nigel Hawthorne appearing in Demolition Man seemed strange until you realise it was a move to getting The Madness of King George made. But not all actors need to up their profiles.

Sometimes they obviously want to show a different side, which was why Ben Kingsley was so remarkable in Sexy Beast, which also reintroduced Ian McShane in some respects. Maybe other times the cheque helps them through a messy divorce or simply pays for a new bathroom. Or maybe it just seems like a laugh, or just a good idea at the time.

After all, at the time they sign up, all they have to go on is what’s on the page. Even if it doesn’t hold up in the end, at least for a few weeks they got pampered, said a few words in front of camera, and then went home for the night, safe in the knowledge that they’d trousered a decent fee.

It’s not like they’d been made to break their backs at a rockface. And if their current film doesn't work out as expected, there's always the hope that the next one will be better.

And in the end, I suppose there should be a rule that crap films must have at least one decent actor who can transcend the material so that, if you have to watch it, there’s someone interesting to watch. Gene Hackman always used to be good in that role, as is Michael Caine. I suppose Ian McShane should be added to that list because the presence he has is something else.

And the same could be said for Joan Allen.

At 10:00 pm, Blogger qrter said...

Judy Davis gets my vote in that regard. Always very watchable, whatever she's in.


Post a Comment

<< Home