Posted tagged ‘toilet’

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Some kind of high-powered mutant

September 5, 2009

I’ve been meaning to watch this film for some time. I have a lot of trendy friends who often discuss important issues like Gonzo journalism. Dicks. After watching the film I can’t say I have a greater understanding of the subject. But from the all knowing Wikipedia, I understand it to mean when the journalists own life comes to be the story rather than what they were reporting.

If you watch the film, with no knowledge of the king of Gonzo – Hunter S Thompson, none of that will come across. Instead you have a film about drugs that is so potent in its delivery that it makes you feel intoxicated. My sister was so moved by the film that she had to stop watching it when our two heroes stumbled into a circus/casino.

fear and loathing

I need to stress something. Stumbled does not do justice to just how they two men walked into the venue. High on ether, a powerful anaesthetic, they inch their way to the entrance. Raoul Duke (skillfully played by Johnny Depp) walks with bowed legs at the best of times but in this scene he challenges gravity as best he can.

What Raoul Duke cannot do as an able-bodied biped, he makes up for with ingenious inner monologues. Raoul’s inner monologues are the motor of the film. Which is impressive for a guy who has a cigarette in his mouth at all times. Almost all the dialogue in the film can be attributed to Raoul, but that is in no way a bad thing.

As much as this film is the story of Hunter S Thompson, it is through the distinct lense of Terry Gilliam. I’m not going to lie to you, I love Terry Gilliam. Brazil and Monty Python and the Holy Grail are two of my favourite movies of all time. Whilst Fear and Loathing won’t earn such a high honour, it is never the less a good film.


Gilliam brings his usual richness to the visuals of this films. The lizard monsters (yes, lizard monsters) look incredible. The hotel suite the two men stay in as a terrifying mix of war zone, marsh and opium den. And not one actor looks savoury or wholesome in the whole film. They are all very sweaty too, it’s a bit like porn.

Where Gilliam falls short, in my opinion, is his editing. The scenes often seem to begin and end at very arbitrary points and don’t quite gel together. Granted, Raoul tries to describe how he keeps blacking out and this may be part of showing that. But, I’ve noticed this before in some of his films.

My favourite moment of the film came as a complete surprise. A man walks into a restroom and is horrified at what he saw. We are then treated to one of Raoul’s many musings on what was to become of this man. It was a tiny scene, with no significance to the plot, but it was also brilliant. I’d happily watch it as a one minute short.

In some moments of the film it was eerily similar to the 2000 film, Requiem for a Dream. Requiem is a far darker tale, but Fear and Loathing does take a nasty turn at the end of the second act. Raoul takes some drugs given to him by Satanists. This film obviously received an 18 rating. It cites its sole reason as “drug use.” The next time I see someone smoking a joint I will tell them to take some adrenochrome and stop misusing drugs.

This film has no problem keeping its head above water, but it’s not about to swim the channel. I’d recommend you see it just to hear this quote I want to use. We can’t stop here. This is bat country.


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(500) Days of Summer – A romcom for quirky guys.

September 3, 2009

I shouldn’t have complained about the Inglourious Basterds screening being so empty, when I went to see (500) Days of Summer I had to queue 20 minutes for a ticket. I was bursting for the loo so snuck under the barriers to relieve myself. Instead I was met my a rather short security guard asking what I was doing.

I explained my position to him and asked where the nearest gents were. He was having none of it and insisted I ask the ticket lady where they were and if I could use them. Whilst he talking at some length, I managed to spot where the loos were all by myself.

I wandered over there casually as he was still talking to me, I didn’t like his tone. I was happily minding my own business when a security underling, not even the midget himself, came in to check on me. He found me washing my hands and that satisfied him that I was after was a wee. After all that I got back in the queue and got my super cheap ticket. Hooray for Orange Wednesdays.

Because of the queueing ordeal my sister and I got into the theatre late. No biggy, they always show 30 minutes of ads. Not this time. We were 15 minutes late taking our seats but to my complete surprise the film had already started. I’m all for making the adverts before a film shorter, but a little warning would be nice. After we sat down another 20 or so people trickled in, all flabbergasted that the film had started.

500 days of summer poster

We sat down and heard a narrator, who sounded just like the one from Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, tell us “this was not a love story.” This is one of the very few places the script slipped up, (500) Days of Summer is a story more about love than any of the other rom-coms out this year.

Most films feature on the beginning of relationships. Two characters who are polar opposites in some way. They meet once and don’t get on, then fate keeps slamming them back together. Eventually they are worn down by the situation and fall for each other, submitting to the writer’s lack of talent. Not this time.

From the first moment Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) sees Summer (Zooey Deschanel) at work, he likes her. There is a moments hesitation when she says “hey”, which everyone knows is code that she is lesbian. But he gets over it. They have lots in common and strike up conversation around the office. No unbelievable meetings, just ordinary days at the office. Then as the tag line aptly puts it: boy falls in love, girl doesn’t.

There is a lot more to Days of Summer than just the way they meet. This film follows their relationship as it deepens into something beautiful. The two leads have a good chemistry and the fun they are having is infectious. This makes it all the more painful when you see Tom destroyed by losing the girls of his dreams.

He doesn’t lose her once. Instead he is constantly reminded of her. Hoping every time he sees her they can get back together, work something out, go back to the way things were. Each time he doesn’t make it he goes deeper into depression.

The mood of each scene is beautifully captured by the cinematography. The colours and lighting are a just as much a part of the film as the characters and the brilliant soundtrack. Each scene is introduced with a small title card that tells you which of the eventful 500 days we are observing. They are all colour coded and give a taste of what you can expect in the next 3 minutes.


(500) Days of Summer does a brilliant job of fulfilling expectations. It has a very natural set up, and then a gentle pause before the pay off. Each time a big moment is about to happen you get a beat to hold your breath in excitement. Some of the jokes you can see coming but they are delivered so well that it adds a little more than what you thought you were going to get.

You get more than a film here, you see the world from Tom Hansen’s eyes. His jubilation after the first time he has sex, the nausea induced when he hears a song that reminds him of her and the pain he feels everyday. He is so helpless that he often turns to his 10 year old sister for advice.

Tom’s sister (Chloe Moretz) was a real highlight of the film. Her advice was far beyond her years and always of far greater help than that offered by Tom’s guy mates. I watched this film with my sister and it reminded me how helpful it is having a spy on the inside to help explain how the other side thinks.

Men don’t really know how women think, and that comes across in the film. The character of Summer is not as well developed as Tom, but she isn’t supposed to be. We see everything through Tom’s eyes and often only have his memories (rose tinted as they are) to put Summer together. Zooey Deschanel does a great job with what she is given, presenting a woman you could very easily love.

This is a modern love story for the 20 somethings. As a 20 something, heavily embedded in pop culture, this film really spoke to me. Its about how exciting love is the first time around and how it only makes sense once you’ve felt it. And lost it.

Walking on water. If I was any younger or any older this wouldn’t be right for me, but right now its perfect.


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