Tag Archives: Machete Kills

Film Friday #194

The Inbetweeners 2 (2014)

After realising that their lives post school are a bit shit Will (Simon Bird), Neil (Blake Harrison) and Simon (Joe Thomas) decide to join Jay (James Buckley) on his gap year in Australia. Unsurprisingly Jay has bigged up his experience of Australia to well beyond the reality which is that he works in a toilet and lives in a tent in his uncle’s garden. Not that Will, who has no uni friends, Simon, whose girlfriend is a total psycho or Neil, who is too stupid to know any better have anything exciting to come home to. When Simon runs into a beautiful girl (Emily Berrington) that he used to go to junior school with things start to look up and the group join her and her annoying backpacker friends on a trip to Splash Planet but things have never run smoothly for these four and horror, heartbreak and humiliation are sure to follow. I really loved The Inbetweeners as a TV show but I didn’t like the first film. I was hoping this one would be better but I found it just as tedious. I think the problem is that Will and friends are bearable in twenty minute bursts but when you have to put up with them relentlessly for 90 minutes you realise what reprehensible human beings they are. I don’t have to love the characters in every movie I see but if I am expected not to hope that the world would be a better place if they just died in the desert then maybe some redeeming qualities might help. From the volume of the laughter of the rest of the audience, if you are a fifteen year old, you will love this film. Maybe at thirty-three I am just too old. 1.5/5

Will's attempts to give CPR to his laptop were not going according to plan

Will’s attempts to give CPR to his laptop were not going according to plan

Hercules (2014)

The legend tells us that Hercules (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) was a a demigod, the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, who performed twelve great tasks and became a legend of Greek mythology. According to this film he was actually just an exceptionally large, strong man who used a little trickery, an inspiring storyteller (Reece Ritchie) and a group of loyal companions to create a myth. This all works very well in establishing his career as a mercenary, hiring out his services for whoever has the most gold. When he is approached by Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson), daughter of Lord Cotys (John Hurt) offering a massive payday if he helps stop Rhesus (Tobias Santelmann) from taking over Thrace, he jumps at the chance. It’s not long before Hercules and his crew realise that everything is not what it seems and that the past never really stays buried. Dwayne Johnson is certainly big, athletic and very charismatic, which is good and his bants with his crew is fun to watch, which is good and the battle with the Bree (I think) reminded me a bit of Vikings, which was good. That’s about it. The rest was not good. Hercules is only about an hour and a half long but it feels much longer and devoid of any actual mythology, there isn’t anything to stop it from just being a below average swords and sandals romp. I can’t imagine anyone will remember it in a month from now. Rather watch Troy again… even if it totally glosses over Archilles’ relationship with Patroclus. 2/5

Hercules' grandmother was wondering where her leopard skin rug had got to

Hercules’ grandmother was wondering where her leopard skin rug had got to

Machete Kills (2013)

After barely escaping an attempt on his life former Federale, Machete (Danny Trejo) is recruited by the American President (Charlie Sheen) to take down an arms dealer (Demian Bichir) who has a nuclear weapon pointed at Washington. That’s about as much of the “plot” as I can remember. There are some great weird characters though. Mel Gibson plays, Voz, a master villain complete with cape. Sofia Vergara is Desdemona, a mental madam who has not only a machine gun bra but also a crotch gun. Amber Heard is Machete’s handler, who happens to be obsessed with beauty pageants. And several stars including Cuba Gooding Jnr, Lady Gaga and Antonio Banderas play versions of El Cameleon, an assassin who can change his face. It all comes together in a chaotic hotchpotch that is just as mental as its predecessor and packed with Robert Rodriguez hallmarks – you know women with guns, enucleation, women fighting each other, gratuitously sexy outfits, rivers of blood. Machete Kills is not as much fun as Machete because it lacks the “I can’t believe this movie has actually been made” novelty element that Machete had but if you go in expecting brainless B-movie carnage, you’ll have a good time. 3/5

Desdemona's crotch gun had just backfired and it wasn't pretty

Desdemona’s crotch gun had just backfired and it wasn’t pretty

The Birdcage (1996)

Armand (Robin Williams) and Albert (Nathan Lane) have been a couple for years. Armand owns a successful drag cabaret club and Albert is his super-dramatic star. Together they have raised Armand’s son, Val (Dan Futterman), the product of Armand’s sole sexual experience with a female costar. When Val returns from college and announces that he is getting married both his dads are apprehensive. He is only twenty and they have yet to meet his fiancee, Barbara (Calista Flockhart). Barbara is the daughter of conservative senator, Kevin Keeley (Gene Hackmann), who happens to be embroiled in a scandal. Things only get worse when Barbara panics and tells her parents that Val’s father is a cultural attache to Greece and married to a woman. Inevitably the two families must meet and Val convinces his very reluctant father to play along. But who is going to deal with Albert and what will happen when Val meets his mysterious mother (Christine Baranski? There are lots of great things about The Birdcage. Robin Williams is utterly charming as Armand, Nathan Lane is completely over the top as Albert and Hank Azaria puts in a scene stealing performance as Agador, Armand and Albert’s Guatemalan “housekeeper”. It’s hard not to hate Val a little bit for putting his wonderful parents through what can only be described as an ordeal. Despite having grown up in such a tolerant environment he seems incapable of understanding the implications of making his father especially pretend to be someone he is not. Underneath the comedy and fabulosity is a more serious undercurrent exploring the fear and uncertainty a long-term same-sex couple might face with no legal marital rights. So much more poignant following the recent loss of Robin Williams. 3.5/5

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Waiting for the bus was never so fabulous