A loveable loser runs the London marathon all the while pursued by a mad stuntman who believes he’s a star with an overdeveloped sense of smell…
Or how I forgot to comment on a couple of films…
Run Fat Boy Run is encouraging in that it disproves the theory that Americans don’t get British humour. Sure, it’s not quite as sharply sarcastic as it might have been with a British director, but David Schwimmer makes a decent stab at the slightly dingy British comedy that we’ve been pumping out for years. It’s never going to win any awards and is closer to a TV movie in feel (albeit a decently produced one), but it is a pleasant enough diversion and proof along with Hot Fuzz that Simon Pegg is a rising star.
He is however outshone (as is everyone else) by Dylan Moran and more specifically, his arse.
Death Proof is (depending on how you view Kill Bill) either the fifth or six film from Quentin Tarantino and suffers from similar problems to that film, but even more pronounced. Many of the films it references are the sort that only crop up late at night on the Godforsaken channels meaning that much of its appeal may be lost to many. It retains the sharp ear for dialogue of his previous films (indeed, it may have got even sharper given that much of it doesn’t have to propel the slender plot) and the one scene that raises this firmly into the 18 category has the same gut wrenching appeal of the ear slashing in Reservoir Dogs.
Kurt Russell seems to be having the time of his life playing Stuntman Mike; sort of the mirror image of his character from Big Trouble in Little China but everyone must give way to Zoe Bell as the lunatic car surfer who really is indestructible.
Stardust is the first proper attempt at a Neil Gaiman film (Mirrormask being too odd for the mainstream) and almost succeeds. It’s a fantastic little film (once again British) and drops many of the odder aspects of his writing (which I like) and tightens up the rest to produce something more crowd-pleasing. I’m still not sure how I feel about Robert De Niro’s performance (although the comment that all he has is his reputation is telling of his recent choices), but both Michelle Pfieffer and Mark Strong seem to be having a wail of a time camping it up as the respective villains.
Hopefully it will also boost the tourist trade to Scotland the same way that Lord of the Rings did to New Zealand – we have some seriously pretty country.
Lastly, Ratatouille proves once again that Pixar really is the most consistent studio in Hollywood with another fantastically animated film where the animation quality (which is nothing short of superb – the food especially looks wonderful) is secondary to the story. It’s the sort of film that you float off on a high following and an ending that is just so crowd pleasing it could have been written by committee. Along the way we are treated to the usual mild film pastiche (the Goodfellas styled voice-over is wonderful) along with an increasingly absurd sense of slapstick farce that reaches new heights with every joke.
All in all, two and half must sees (Stardust and Ratatouille, with a few provisos placed on Death Proof) and one catch it on DVD. The two must sees being amongst the most crowd pleasing feel good films I’ve seen for a long time.