Good god I want to delete that last post! Even a little alcohol can create moments of madness it seems... Anyway, back to normal from. . . . NOW!
Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
This one surprised me, I have to confess... I expected to like it even less than I expected to like Corpse Bride, but it made a convert out of me. Aardman Animation's 'claymation' feature film marks the debut of the characters of Wallace and Gromit on the big screen - they've been in a bunch of short films before. Wallace is an inventor who runs a pest control business in a small English town that is obsessed with growing vegetables. Gromit is his dog and business partner / butler, and the more pragmatic half of the duo (Gromit doesn't speak, but communicates through expressions and body language). The plot revolves around a giant 'were-rabbit' that threatens the precious vegetables of the townspeople just days before a major vegetable growing contest. It's ostensibly a children's film but it features beautiful animation, boundless amounts of charm, many cinematic references and nods to Hollywood cliches, and a fair bit of innuendo, all of which should appeal to adults. It's great stuff, and you'd have to be downright curmudgeonly to not enjoy it.
Tristram Shandy - A Cock and Bull Story (2005)
This is a strange film to say the least. It's an adaptation of a book - "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" - well, sort of. It's actually an adaptation of a book that is apparently unfilmable, so the film itself is actually a fictional account of the making of an adaptation of the book. Got it? It's a film about the making of a film, but it also presents chunks of that film as parts of itself. It's a British comedy. Hopefully that mangled explanation provides some context. Most of the film is about the behind the scenes goings on as seen from the perspective of the star, Steve Coogan (played by Steve Coogan) - the filmmakers struggle to get funding for an 'action scene', discuss the script and it's lack of fidelity to the novel, and contend with historical accuracy (it's a period piece). Coogan himself must contend with not flirting with his attractive assistant while his girlfriend and child are on location with him, while also trying to ensure that his part isn't dwarfed by his 'co-star' Rob Brydon (played by Rob Brydon). The film's very dry humour is always chuckle worthy and on occasion laugh out loud funny - Coogan and Brydon work really well together. Worth a watch - although I can't honestly say that I'm fond of it or a fan, I did enjoy it and it is quite memorable.
Arrested Development (Season 2)
Arrested Development is surely one of the funniest sitcoms ever made - no surprise then that it was canceled after the third season. I don't know how any explanation I give can do it justice - I recommend reading the introduction to the show from the Wikipedia article. Or from my own thoughts on the first season, which I just remembered I'd written! Freakily, I seem to have repeated myself with this entry- perhaps I'm merely parroting what I wrote the last time, or perhaps my sentiments on the show haven't changed. It is one of the funniest shows ever, it was unjustly cancelled, and my words cannot do it justice. Suffice it to say, the second season is at least as good as the first - hilarious and brilliant. Watch it. That is all.
Life of Pi (Yann Martel, 2001)
This book won the Booker Prize in 2002 and was very well received, so you expect something special when you read it. Colour me unimpressed though. It's a good book, and certainly well written, but I can't see what all the fuss was about. Yep, this probably confirms that I am indeed a philistine. Divided into three parts, the main part recounts the story of 'Pi' Patel, an Indian boy who survives a shipwreck and winds up stranded in the ocean on board a lifeboat with only a Bengal tiger for company. Interesting premise, and much of this part of the book is fascinating - Pi recounts in detail his experiences and what extremes measures he has to take to survive. The thing that drags the book down for me was the character of Pi himself, who comes across as smug far too often for my liking, particularly in the first part of the book. His mopiness doesn't help matters either - while I realize that he endures a hell of a lot, it gets a bit tiresome to keep reading about how much he suffers. The ruminations on religion, animal behaviour, and life in general are both interesting and heavy handed in equal measure. I guess at the end of the day the book rubbed me up the wrong way and I just don't much care for it. I can't honestly, objectively say whether I'd recommend it or not.
And there you have it. The end of the post. I know, I know - the post is too long. Sue me!