Knovelties and knick-knacks
|March 18, 2012||Posted by E. Hitchon under reviews|
So, I’m back. It’s been a while; basically I got distracted about halfway through the last however many articles I’ve oh look it’s dark outside! Ha! Made you look… Oh, it is dark?
You get the point. So rather than trying to apply myself to write an entire article on one subject, I’m instead going to try and review all the items I’ve diligently marked as “Knovelties and knick-knacks” in my student budget.
Rien à déclarer
First out of the blocks is a film; three words, first word: “Non, je ne regrette BLANK”. Second word: the indefinite article. Third word… Sod it, the film is Rien à déclarer, a French film, in French, and it’s from French France.
Cast: Benoît Poelvoorde, Dany Boon, Chritel Pedrinelli
Director: Dany Boon
Running time: 118 mins
The year is 1993 and in the small town of Corquain/Koorkin the future of the small customs post is uncertain. The story is centred around Ruben Vandervoorde (Poelvoorde), a hereditary Francophobe and over-zealous Belgian customs officer, and Mathias Ducatel (Boon), a French customs officer who is secretly dating Vandervoorde’s sister, Louise. The opening of the borders by the EU forces the two customs officers to come together, working as the first Franco-Belgian mobile customs unit.
If the plot alone hasn’t got you hooked, I don’t know what will! I saw the trailer to this in a French supermarket and even with my shocking French (I once achieved 2% in a pre-GCSE exam) I knew I was watching a funny film. Upon my return to the UK I tried to buy it, but… Well, I couldn’t, so I downloaded it. I’d give you a link but I don’t fancy a holiday to the United Stasi… sorry, States, what was I thinking? Distracted again! Unfortunately the subtitles I have are rather more literal than the official ones (I’m now buying a second-hand copy from eBay) but even those can’t detract from the fact that this is a solidly entertaining movie. Poelvoorde’s depiction of the absurd Belgian nationalist is almost as wonderfully insane as Cleese’s Faulty, and better yet he exists in a plot which wouldn’t feel far from home in a Goon Show. I won’t lie and claim that it is an intelligent film – it’s puerile and fairly simplistic – but it is funny, and it has subtitles, so it will make you look a little more intelligent when you snort your tea laughing at two men driving over their own stinger.
The Blood Reich
Film number two is crap. It’s so bad I’m going to buy the first and second instalments too. For those of you fortunate enough not to have come across Uwe Boll before I will fill you in, in the form of a limerick:
There once was a man called Uwe,
Who made a number of movie(s),
The movies were shit,
Not much more to it,
I’m out of rhymes, anchovy
His films are of similar artistic merit, but here shall commence the review of just one of them, The Blood Reich… or Blood Rayne 3, or The Third Reich; it says different things on the box and the disk.
Cast: Natassia Malthe, Brendan Fletcher, Michael Paré, Clint Howard, Willam Belli.
Director: Uwe Boll
Running time: 76 mins (mercifully)
None. There is a sort of beginning, then some sex, and then an end. I’ll try to expand on that: Bloodrayne was a fairly popular game series to which Uwe Boll bought the rights, and The Blood Reich is the third instalment of the series, which sees Rayne (Natassia Malthe), a Dhampir vampire hunter that the cover describes as “legendary,” in some sort of Nazi themed blood orgy. There is some fighting, a mysterious lesbian love scene, a fight scene where Rayne fails to properly kill some vampires who play no part outside that particular scene, and then there’s some vague allusion to the enigma code… That might be before the vampires, actually. Then there is a straight love scene in the back of a truck, before it finally all ends with the most entertaining fight scenes ever.
There are some brilliant parts, such as when Dr. Mangler (a tasteful parody of Mengele played by Clint Howard) says anything at all, and the line, “But that means more Nazis than Hitler himself,” (i.e. more than one Nazi) which I have literally watched several time – and then there’s the rest of it. To be honest, as pointed out in the DVD extras (which do go some way to explaining how this happened) Uwe basically sells movies on poor reviews. I hope it’s not meant to be a good film, because it’s very much not – that said, I’d actually recommend seeing it. It’s really bad, but not quite bad enough to be good, which is in itself quite an achievement. I’d give it an overall rating of 10/10, but only where the first 10 is in binary.
I do have more novelty films, but I also have a plan for a mass review of bad movies, so I’ll save them for another time.
Vinnie Jones – Respect
On to music then, if you can call what I am about to mention music. Many have said that music is the sound of the soul. The CD I purchased second-hand for £1.26 is apparently soul too; unfortunately it is “sung” by Vinnie Jones.
Let it be known first that I am a big fan of Vinnie. His acting is always second to most, but in the very best way. I actually have a collection of terrible movies acquired solely because of his appearance in them, but if you are of the (probably correct) opinion that he can’t really act, you haven’t heard him sing! But I am perhaps being a little unfair here: his rendition of (Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay is mostly recognisable, and Mustang Sally could almost be described as music. Bizarrely when Jools Holland plays Bad, Bad Leroy Brown it doesn’t make it any more acceptable, but it does at least have some musical credentials. There are, however, renditions which are almost criminal. I Got You (I Feel Good) is an example of such a track, but the worst musical crime of all is Hi Hi Silver Lining. It wasn’t a good song to begin with but then Vinnie had a go, and, well, words can’t describe. Perhaps this video will explain better:
I’m so sorry about that – I did warn you! I don’t really have anything else to say on the matter. Truly though, Vinnie is an idol of mine. It might be awfully sung but the album has a certain charm to it. I wouldn’t buy it, but if you want to hear what the soul of Vinnie sounds like this is the album for you.
The Gameboy Camera
My final knickknack for now is an interesting piece of photographic history. The Gameboy Camera first went on sale in 1995 and as such is one of the earliest digital cameras. It boasts the ability to take black and white pictures in a bizarre 128×112 size. According to Wikipedia it has a number of claims to fame, its image size number being 4. It was the smallest digital camera according to the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999, and it was used to create the album cover for Neil Diamond’s Silver and Gold. It also features in the game Banjo-tooi (apparently) and featured prominently in the Hong Kong zombie film Bio Zombie… who knew? Anyway, somewhat frustratingly I can’t get the pictures off it at the moment. I haven’t the time or the ancient PC hardware it wants, but it’s still pretty nifty. Considering I paid less that £5 for it I’m pretty pleased.
That’s all folks. I hope you’ve enjoyed a wander through the weirder parts of my bank statements. I might come back and do it again because this really does barely scratch the surface of the oddities I have come to own. Right, that’s one article down – three to go!