Because you asked for them (and didn’t understand the title) … DVD reviews:
I probably shouldn’t have watched Wedding Crashers; the central premise is something I find objectionable, so why should I enjoy the film just because it has the comedy talents of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan? I realise this makes me sound like a killjoy, dull, boring fuddy-duddy, but crashing a wedding for free food and a party is unpleasant. People who do it are unpleasant. People who get things for free from other people are unpleasant. So making a film about them and trying to make them characters we care about is quite tough. This is done by making one of them slightly deranged (Vaughan) and the other one fall in love but not get the woman he loves, so loses it a bit (Wilson). It is quite a standard romcom plot of having two people who should be together being separated by a central blocking idea, and having them come together in a romantic last-moment expression of love in a public or emotionally open place. But where this film fails is that it is not funny. At all. I think I might have managed a smirk here or there, but that was all. I can’t believe that this was a sleeper hit. How did that happen? Was it a bad summer or something? The only appeal possible is that the Wilson–Vaughan double act is engaging; I found it tiring. The highlights were Rachel McAdams as the love interest, Isla Fisher as the manic girlfriend and Christopher Walken as the dad, bringing some class to the project. Even the Will Ferrell cameo wasn’t funny; now that’s a bad sign.
I shall have to be wary of films with the word ‘crash’ in any form in the title in future. How did this win best picture? I mean, apart from appealing to the overly sentimental core of the working actor who thinks that a film that has racial issues in it is worthy of best picture, as long as it has a lot of actors in it as well. The film is a meandering piece, linking a variety of characters in a short period of time in Los Angeles, through the normal gamut of human existence (death, sex, robbery, belief, mistrust, families, etc.) with a nod towards the racial complexity of the city. Charlie Brooker summed it up best: ‘the characters might as well be walking around wearing sandwich boards with “RACE IS A COMPLEX ISSUE” printed on them in massive, flashing letters.’ The acting is fine and the film is shot well, giving an outsider like myself a different view of LA. However, the film doesn’t add up to much more than an ordinary selection of slender tales which happen to involve different ethnicities, something the rest of the world is painfully aware.
Wallace and Gromit in Curse of the Were-Rabbit
I may come off as a flag-waving patriot, nay, jingoist, but this film was one of the best films I have seen in a long while. Engaging, charming, entertaining and nothing wasted, this is an hysterically funny film for all ages that doesn’t pander to the kids or the adults. Admittedly, Wallace and Gromit are an institution in the UK (even if the short films won Oscars, it doesn’t mean anybody saw them), so there is a soft spot when it comes to the characters. However, this is equal to the affection we have for them, with chases, colourful supporting characters, a playful attitude to film, very funny jokes and passion in every frame of carefully constructed plasticine. The story involves the creation of a were-rabbit, feasting on the potential prize-winning vegetables being grown by the locals for the annual award, with Wallace and Gromit as the local humane pest controllers, allowing for all sorts of silliness and joy that is associated with the previous short films. A film that leaves you smiling from start to finish and beyond, and has the greatest and funniest use of the phrase ‘May Contain Nuts’ I have ever seen.