Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Case for Catching Up

I have been a bit remiss with my blogging the last few weeks. There have been movies seen that I have not reviewed; insights gleaned that I have not shared; and judgements that I have not rendered.

The first step in rectifying this is the first that I shall rectify - on to the films!

The first of two (in chronological order) is Razzle Dazzle. Australian mockumentaries always make me want to sit up and take notice. Kath & Kim, The Games and Australian of the Year all spring to mind as excellent televisual examples of the Australian ability to poke fun at themselves in a way that New Zealander productions never really seems to be comfortable doing (though we are getting better). And Razzle Dazzle follows on in that fine tradition, tackling the pressing subject of child dance schools and the desire of them, and their parents, to win the competitions that always spring up around these kind of activities.

And the movie succeeds wonderfully. The adult characters are all stereotypes (the insanely driven mother; the ultra-PC activist choreographer squaring off against the traditional, take no prisoners dance teacher; the childless woman who fosters children for a number of weeks until she determines how proficient they are at dancing) and the children are all uniformly excellent. The laughs don't come from the belly all that often (though the grannies in my session had a whale of a time), but the smile barely leaves one's face as one recognises the reality and mild insanity in what is being portrayed. Definitely worth it if you are a fan of the genre.

The other film to review before I am up to date is Knocked Up, from the creators of 40 Year Old Virgin. Actually, a lot of the 40YOV cast show up in the film, though mainly the movie features as a reunion for a lot of the cast from that excellent (and cancelled) TV series Freaks & Geeks, though, to my bitter disappointment, Linda Cardellini does not attend. James Franco does, and unfortunately, his appearance in Knocked Up seems to have come at the price of shameless plugs for Spiderman 3. Urgh.

It's a long film though it never really feels it. Unlike 40YOV, this one is a fairly mainstream romantic comedy, so the laughs are there but smaller and tamer. I am a huge fan of the leading man Seth Rogan (the voice; his dry style), and he is wonderful in this film, but the standout in the film is Kirsten Wiig who (IMDB tells me) plays Jill, the unbelievably scary television executive off-sider to Alan Tudyk's Jack. Her slow burning, psychotic intensity had me yearning for more, and she completely dominated the few scenes she is in (in my opinion anyway).

Not much else to say about Knocked Up, except that I did enjoy it (I am not sure if I would give it 5 out of 5 as most critics seem to have, though) and will probably get the DVD to see all the extras - I am sure there will be a whole lot of them!

Verdict Part 1 (Razzle Dazzle): an 8 out of a possible 10

Verdict Part 2 (Knocked Up): a 70% chance

No comments: