Film Friday #260

Mansome (2012)

Infamous documentarian, Morgan Spurlock, takes on the concept of masculine “beauty” with the help of his good friends, Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. By exploring topics such as moustaches, beards, body hair, head hair… and just really hair in all places I guess Spurlock tries to get to the bottom of what it takes to be a modern man, why men have become more obsessed with their appearance and how this affects traditional masculinity. It’s all pretty tongue in cheek and really quite shallow and silly but potentially worth watching just for the sheer ludicrous spectacle that is competitive beard growing and the inane ramblings of self-named “beardsman”, Jack Passion, who might be the most tedious human being ever to walk the earth. Certainly not the worst documentary I have ever seen but since this doesn’t really reveal very much except that there are a lot of men out there shaving themselves from head to toe and wearing toupees you won’t miss much by skipping it. 2.5/5

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Getting a facial is manly, right? Right???

All Good Things (2010)

David (Ryan Gosling) and Katie (Kirsten Dunst) meet, fall in love and quickly get married despite their very different backgrounds. Initially they open a health food store and live a life of carefree shagging and companionship but soon money worries mean that David is forced to join his wealthy father (Frank Langella) in his rather shady business. When Katie falls pregnant, rather than being excited, David is horrified and demands that she have an abortion, which makes Katie wonder just what has happened in David’s past. As things become strained between the couple they start to live separate lives with David spending most of his time working in the city and Katie continuing her studies. When Katie’s acceptance into medical school drives David over the edge, Katie decides she wants to leave him but not longer after that she mysteriously disappears. Years later David comes under suspicion and a sordid and dark tale begins to surface. Apparently this is based on a true story, which is pretty fucked up especially considering David’s weird behaviour post Katie’s disappearance. Both Gosling and Dunst give good performances and watching the relationship between their characters build and then unravel is pretty compelling viewing but ultimately the pacing feels off throughout and the build up is somewhat rushed. There are so many things that are under explored, especially David’s mother’s suicide and the inner workings of the family business. Less than the some of its parts and you can see why despite the high profile leads this never saw a major theatre release. 2.5/5

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As much as I like this blanket, I would like you to buy me some clothes for my birthday please

Se7en (1995)

In the last week before his retirement veteran detective, William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is assigned a new partner. Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) is a seasoned but naive cop who has relocated to the city hoping to making his mark. Their first case involves the bizarre murder of a grossly obese man which they soon realise is connected to the gruesome death of an attorney known for defending murders and rapists and that the killings are unlikely to stop any time soon. While the weary Somerset initially doesn’t hold much stock in Mills’ abilities when his wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow) invites Somerset into their home the two begin to bond and soon become jointly obsessed with the case, something they will come to deeply regret. Se7en is easily one of the best crime thrillers ever made and unquestionably one of director, David Fincher’s best (after Fight Club of course). By combining a particularly dark and disturbing set of murders, with a truly chilling villain in Kevin Spacey’s John Doe, excellent multilayered performances from the two leads and some outstanding character development all the pieces fall together and it’s hard not to be glued to the screen all the way to the jaw-dropping ending. Although this film is twenty years old I still remember seeing it in the theatre and almost jumping out of my seat at one particular scene, which I won’t spoil for the three people who haven’t seen this. An absolute must-see… just don’t blame me if you have nightmares. 5/5

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Somerset and Mills were really enjoying In the Heart of the Sea

Spellbound (2002)

This Oscar nominated documentary follows eight American children as the compete in the National Spelling Bee. For those who don’t know what a spelling bee is, it’s basically a competitive spelling event where super nerdy kids from around the country compete against each other for the grand prize. In the lead up to the competition we see the vastly different lifestyles of the children, from the daughter of illegal Mexican immigrants who barely speak English, to super competitive children of Indian parents obsessed with education to a girl who can’t understand why her mother won’t let her bring the au pair. We also see the various training methods and the energy and effort that goes into being at the top of your game. While all of this is kind of interesting it soon gets pretty boring and I couldn’t figure out why this documentary was so highly rated. I mean the words these kids can spell and remember are pretty impressive. I would like to think that I have quite a good vocabulary and there were several words that I had never heard before but I mean… eh… it’s competitive spelling… there’s only so much you can say about it. Undercooked. 2/5

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Joe had become horribly stuck on supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

13 Comments

  1. Damn – sorry you didn’t really like Spellbound. I actually enjoyed that one a lot! But I’m weird – I’d rather watch a spelling bee than some sports competition. 🙂 I also liked All Good Things quite a bit but that was because the story, which I knew nothing about beforehand, was quite compelling. But I totally agree they didn’t explore things enough – a documentary on the real case could be better. Seven! So good but I can’t say I’ve ever re-watched it. As for Mansome, it sounds interesting but unnecessary. All I know is that guys who spend way too long on their looks just aren’t for me. Imagine having to share a bathroom with a guy like that!

    1. abbiosbiston

      I totally agree on the idea of a documentary on the real case from All Good Things. I have some recollection from when I was writing the review that the director might have done one too. He seemed a bit obsessed. I have actually seen Se7en multiple times over the years.

  2. Se7en is one of those movies that is just perfect. My favourite Fincher.

    1. abbiosbiston

      I agree. I can’t find a single thing O don’t like. Although Fight Club just edges it for me.

  3. Seven was awesome, it’s number 5 on my Top Serial Killer Films list! 🙂

    1. abbiosbiston

      It’s a modern classic.

  4. I absolutely love Seven…and I watched it when I was much younger and it DID give me nightmares. But now I can handle it. As far as spelling bees go, I haven’t seen Spellbound but I did enjoy Bad Words (it’s not a documentary though).

  5. Seen the last two. Se7en is just astonishing. Can you ever imagine Britain having a spelling competition for kids? More mileage in the idea than you might think. Akeelah and the Bee came soon after. That first film sounds woeful.

  6. Seems like a relatively sad bag… except for Se7en. That is just a slice of absolute perfection!

    1. abbiosbiston

      It was pretty lame but Se7en made it worth it!

  7. Seven is a real classic, everything just gels together perfectly.

    1. abbiosbiston

      It is indeed. I never get tired of it.

      1. I love the way that it captures such a dark sense of ambience.

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