Archive for December, 2009

The Dark Knight 2/ Batman 3 – SPOILER ALERT

December 12, 2009

The current economic debacle has taught us one valuable lesson, and that is that immoderate speculation will leave you destitute. Yes, over-speculate and you will wind up living beneath a bridge, performing unnatural acts on your former colleagues for loose change like a sad gigolo troll. The same applies to non-economic speculation. Take the mooted Dark Knight sequel. Some young men have worked themselves into such a fury of blind hypothesising regarding the content and casting of this film that they have lost all sense of perspective. Try engaging one of these poor specimens in a conversation about the best time to plant geraniums or whether the archaic practice of wrapping babies in swaddling clothes has had a bad press and he will stare at you blankly, mumbling something about Robin being ‘a pussy’.

There is hope however. Yes, the world may cease its fruitless speculation. For I have a definitive and unimpeachable account of what The Dark Knight 2/Batman 3 will involve. Hear me friends, for I am the oracle. These are Christopher Nolan’s notes for the film, which one of our agents liberated from his pockets:

Batman 3. Notes for.

More onomatopoeia (dark, realistic onomatopoeia such as ‘bang’, ‘crunch’, ‘wham’. NOT repeat NOT unrealistic, Joel Schumacher-esque onomatopoeia such as ‘bingle’, ‘whimmy’, ‘squoosh’, ‘whizzup’, ‘grammies’.

More exploration of the bat analogy. Bats like: fruit, whistling, rabies. Remember to ask Bale if he can ‘do fruit’.

Batman needs to grow as a person. He needs to let someone in. He needs to realise that you can’t always make it on your own (idea for script: ‘can’t….. make it….. on…. own… need friends….’ – important to stress pauses)

More jokes and light relief. Alfred could say something like ‘Don’t bloody break the bloody Batmobile again. I’m tired of filling out bloody insurance forms’. Bloody. LOL.

More dark stuff. Batman needs to do something really bad, like stab a dog. NB should the dog be bad? Moral dilemma.

Catwoman casting: Angelina Jolie OBVIOUSLY.

So that you don’t all get too excited I shall pause here. Keep your specs peeled for further snippets!

The Tramp

December 11, 2009

Being a contemporary sort of fellow, I tend not to watch the films of yesteryear. ‘But’, some of you might protest, ‘you don’t watch the films of thisteryear either’. ‘Alright’, I reply, ‘you win this round. But watch your back, see….’. Here is my review of The Tramp.*

Everyone loves a short man with an undersized moustache and oversized trousers. Herein lies the explanation for the public’s unfading affection for Charlie Chaplin and MC Hammer**. Like old soldiers, little silent movie stars don’t die, they just fade away. This is outrageous. After everything that those brave old veterans have done for this country, it is shocking they can just disappear into thin air while the younger generation sit around flashing each other facetious peace signs and failing to get shot at. Do any of those young snipperflappers care that the veteran community is in the grip of a dematerialisation epidemic? No. They just smirk and urinate on poppies. How would they like it if an old soldier burst into their bedroom, urinated on their Xbox and, seemingly in defiance of the laws of physics, faded away before their very eyes? They would like it not very much. Not very much at all.

Moving on, when Charlie Chaplin mysteriously disintegrated into atoms and wind at the age of 78, he bestowed upon the earth a golden filmography. I’m here today to talk about one point on that filmograph: ‘The Tramp’.

When we watch ‘The Tramp’ we realise just how superfluous and redundant human language really is. Hundreds of pounds get spent every day on telephones and loudspeakers so that people can share their precious little words with one another. But among those words, how many really communicate something? Three at most. Maybe four.

Chaplin reminds us that all we need in order to express the subtlest emotions or the grandest of metaphysical concepts is a bowler hat and supple knees. In one scene we see him scuttling up and down a street without seeming purpose (no one scuttles up and down a street without seeming purpose like Chaplin). A fat capitalist wearing a monocle stops young Chaplin and remonstrates with him, as an imperious swan might remonstrate with an uncomprehending peasant. Chaplin crooks his left knee by 32 degrees, lifts his left eyebrow one and a half centimetres, cups his right hand, puts his left hand on his right shin and cries tearlessly. BANG! The fat capitalist is stunned, as if someone had just uploaded the complete works of Schopenhauer into his mind. Chaplin twizzles, un-cocks his snook, puts his snook in a satchel and winks at the camera. In the beginning was not the word. In the beginning was Chaplin and his expressive knees.

The remainder of the film involves Chaplin running up and down a plank and gawping at some exasperated flappers. This movie is a masterclass in economical storytelling. Forget your Tim Allens and your Bill Cosbies, Chaplin is the future of comedy.

Best wishes and a Merry Christmas,

Barry Norman

c/o John Le Baptiste

*Astute readers may have noticed that the version of this review posted earlier was titled ‘The Little Tramp’ and that I have subsequently corrected it to reflect the actual title of the film: ‘The Tramp’. I cannot abide inaccuracy or misrepresentation in any form. 

*MC stands for Michael Crawford. Mrs Hammer was a keen ‘Some Mother’s Do ’Ave ’Em’ fan.

Mad Max

December 6, 2009

The Mel Gibson-bashing continueth! Maybe I’ve seen Mad Max. Maybe not. I can’t tell the difference anymore. Here is my review.

Mad Max is a cult hit. That is to say, Mad Max is a film starring a high-profile member of a global religious cult who should be hit with heavy objects. The eponymous hero is a confused loon who drives his rumping automobile up and down the highway in search of justice, and, while he’s at it, some wild Ballardian autoerotic automotive action. Sadly, young Max achieves neither and instead moons around the Australian landscape like a fat, unloved pubescent at a high-school prom.

One day a gang of hooting spanner-jackals who call themselves ‘The Devil’s Mufftops’ butcher Max’s special lady. He howls at the clouds and punches himself in the pockets. He picks up a hare and screams into its alarmed face. He points at the viewer and scowls, unsettlingly. He climbs inside a wind tunnel and is blown about like an angry flannel. Sadly, none of this provides him with a sufficient degree of catharsis. So Max gets mad. Awful mad. Or, as the Aussies say: ‘cobbin’ bladdy looners, mate’, on account of their under-developed capacity for producing meaningful utterances.

The film ends with Max firing himself, in the manner of a human cannonball, into the eye of the sun, in a last ditch attempt to obtain some spiritual quietude. Despite being sizzled up like an old marshmallow, this extreme measure fails to achieve the desired result, and so two sequels are promptly commissioned.

I found this film tiring and distracting, like an unbidden and excessively voluble dinner-guest. I give it nothing, send it home without dessert and promptly move house.