Category Archives: P

Pirates of Langkasuka

Pirates of Langkasuka is a rather schizophrenic movie. You’ll have to watch for a good half hour before it makes much sense who is who and who is supposed to hate who, and who is going where. Once you have it worked out though its actually relatively simple, there is a bad pirate, and he wants to destroy a big fort where the Queen lives. Everyone helps either defend the fort or attack it, apart from one guy who does both because he is two people and magic. Following? Good, the fish are on the good guys side, and there is two good guys but they don’t ever meet. There is a princess because I said I was only reviewing movies with princesses in now. Also there is a man who makes big cannons, he is British or American or something. You get the picture, its a bloody confusing film! Its good though, not especially pirate heavy, given the name, and its more about mystic fish powers than swashbuckling. The characters are likeable though and despite the storyline being just as silly as all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the acting is actually rather good. There is an entirely believable love story stuck in the middle of all the silliness. You know love stories are important because of the new girly direction of the site yeah? Check out Pirates of Langkasuka in the same way you read grown up books when you are young, its not all going to make sense, but you’ll get to the end and feel pretty satisfied all the same.

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Prometheus

This is actually the second time I have written about Prometheus on efihr.com, if you check out the first attempt you’ll see that it was slightly more enjoyable the second time around. Prometheus begins with a huge blue dude drinking a shot of toxic Sambuca and disintegrating into a waterfall as a giant oval space craft maneuvers overhead. Quite why the giant blue dude does this is anyone’s guess, but the subsequent close ups of DNA type stuff, multiplying in the water makes one thing extremely clear, the blue dudes shot antics have led to some sort of life. Prometheus is full of moments like this, on the surface entirely nonsensical, but ultimately making some sort of sense. The thing is, the strands that knit these moments together are not strong enough to make something like a coherent whole. There is the giant blue dude storyline, the aliens storyline, the cyborg storyline, then there is a whole bunch of things which I guess might serve some sort of purpose for character development, but that actually don’t mean much at all. The things people (and cyborgs, and alien dudes) do in Prometheus quite regularly make no sense. I think the aim might be to make the watcher go ‘well why did they do that?’ then think really deep meaningful thoughts about life, the universe, faith and our place in this big scary world, because, you know, that’s what this is all about, but really it just feels like everyone is doing silly things for no reason. The coolest character is a cyborg, one assumes, given Scotts obsession with cyborgs that this has some sort of link with Blade Runner, and indeed the whole ‘being human’ theme is well explored here – but the coolness really stems from the cyborg being the only character whose actions actually sort of make sense, plus he is pretty sassy with his non human-ness on top. It’s a worthy Alien predecessor if just for its good looks, but in trying to answer too many of lifes deepest questions at once Scott has rather taken all the fun out of it.

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The Piano

I felt a forceful dislike for The Piano grow within me as I watched it. An overwhelming, passionate hatred. Ostensibly a tale of repression, desire and ultimately love it is in reality an unsavory depiction of a love triangle populated at each corner by a person with, at least, severe mental problems, and more likely acute psychosis. One cannot honestly give a synopsis of the film, such is its downright preposterousness, needless to say it focusses on Ada, voluntarily mute, her violent husband through arranged marriage, and the illiterate man next door. In the center of this foolish trifecta is the piano. Set in a wet, muddy New Zealand wilderness the only aspect of the film which works is the juxtaposition of the ridiculous, inane, pompous, hateful whites with the native Maori, who, though showing signs of assimilation have retained a wisdom and honesty that marks them as the only truly likable characters in the film. We learn at the outset that even Ada herself doesn’t know why she is mute, aside from the fact that the film would ultimately not work if she chose to speak (or indeed, if George, the neighbor could read). Herein lies a problem which is indicative of the film as a whole, it relies fundamentally on its main characters simply deciding to not only do frankly reprehensible things, but also to carry them out in ways which would never occur to any normal person. One supposes this is the point, this, it seems is what love or sex, or lack of sex, or lack of love does to a person. But what are we if we are not perpetually not in love, or in love, or having sex, or not having sex. And yet somehow one makes it through entire days without doing unexpectedly deranged things to those around me and myself. One could argue that perhaps it is though that one is simply not passionate, or repressed enough, one however must then disregard the passion with which I dislike the Piano.

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Pit and the Pendulum

You’d be forgiven for expecting the mystery bus and the Scooby Doo gang to rock up at any point in the first half an hour of the Pit and the Pendulum. A woman has died and her brother, months later, has only just been informed. He needs to get to the bottom of it and everyone is acting a little wonky, from the lord of the manor to the decidedly dodgy servants. The expectation that someone could pull off a mask at any point and decry their guilt in the face of the meddling kids wanes towards the end of the film though, and director Corman does an amazing job of replacing itwith a real sense of menace and tension, all the more surprising given that there is so little scenery left after Vincent Price has chewed his way through it. The setting helps a lot, a creepy haunted castle with a labyrinthine basement full of torture equipment left over from the Spanish inquisition. Nicholas Medina (Price) is grappling with the death of his wife in the face of her brothers questioning (John Kerr) when it all goes awry, which basically means lots of people wandering around in period costume (even when they were supposed to be in bed), knocking on each others doors and calling each other sir even when accusing each other of heinous crimes. This is all cut together with menacing shots of the waves crashing against the shore below the castle and outrageous becobwebbed secret passages. What I am trying to say is that its all brilliantly good fun and about as scary as a kitten. It will keep you guessing though, for about three minutes, and as I said, the climax really is something, especially as it really is predicated on a plot that honestly wouldn’t seem out of place with a visit from the Mystery Bus.

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Pistol Opera

Pistol Opera is a sort of quasi sequel quasi remake of Branded to Kill. Whilst that film lost director Siejun Suzuki his job at the studio where he was busy churning out b movies for being too off the wall, Pistol Opera was made a good deal of time later, when the classic status of the first film had time to become recognized. The formula, if these films could ever be said to be formulaic, is much the same here, its a hit man heavy hierarchy of killers. Our hero Miyuki is vaguely helped out by the lead from the first film (who shows up as a sort of mentor figure) as she works her way from number three in the mysterious assassins guild to number one. We get to meet more of the other assassins than in Branded to Kill, and they have much more clearly defined styles – one of them kills people in such a way that they always leave a smiling corpse. Suzuki is basically re-doing something here that was innovative and forward thinking fifty or so years ago, that he manages to pull it off without making it a pastiche of his own work is impressive. It is good fun, but basically you could go back and read my review of Branded to Kill and just replace the title.

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Psycho

Ah classic Hitchcock. It is an issue. Virtually the whole world, even people who have not got televisions and are struggling to find something to eat have seen all the Hitchcock films, most of them twice. It is not that the films are undeserving, they are pretty good fun and all, but too often reviews of the hitch (I put that in there to see if I could get some google hits from people looking for that film, only to find this outpouring of rubbish) are written with a sort of vaguely tongue in cheek air of superiority. See what I did there, I called my own review an outpouring of rubbish so no one could accuse me of the same thing. Anyway, these critics, and, well, everyone, they might as well be saying: “we are in the club, the thinking Hitchcock is awesome club, you know. Its a very exclusive club of people who are in on the joke. You see his films are pretty old and all like, sexist and that, and most of the time there is loads of crap in them which is absolutely hilarious, we think they are great anyway. We are going to use words like ‘master of suspense’ and ‘mcguffin’ instead of words like ‘sexist’ and ‘hilarious’ just so people want to be in the club more. We were worried that laughing at sexism made it seem like we didnt really care about it very much. So far the club has about six billion members, the only people who are not in it are the extremely young and a small tribe in the Amazon who have no contact with the outside world. Even one of them thinks Vertigo is a masterpiece.” You see? They might as well just be saying that. The dicks. So here is my review, and I wont give away the ending, because Hitchcock specifically requested that no one did, and then all those dicks went and did it, because they thought everyone was in the club. Poor Amazonians. Psycho is a rather silly story about a woman who commits a crime then gets murdered. Its silliness does not detract from how entertaining it is though, you’ll have a good time trying to work it all out, and if you are seven years old you might be scared next time you have a shower. Watch out for the shots of stuffed animals, they really add to the creepiness, and incidently are integral to the story. Fin.

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Pacific Rim

‘Monsters! Robots! Other Stuff!’ ‘So what actually happens in Pacific Rim?’ ‘Monsters! Yeah! Robots! Awesome! ….erm….mumbles…some sort of…nations coming together…story…overcoming all odds…pretty lady….erm….mumbles….but…MONSTERS! and, and! they fight, get this…ROBOTS!’ – Here you have it, an actual transcription of the pitch for this film, right from the mouth of the seven year old that came up with the idea and told it to some eager Warner Brothers exec. The same seven year old was consulted for the marketing too, he was pretty excited about the monsters and the robots so he put them all over the place and didn’t really bother with anything else. No one knows who this seven year old is, or why Guillermo del Toro replaced him as director of the film, but rumour has it the child wandered off set making transformer noises when he saw a fire truck. Warner were not especially impressed with his plan to make “the robots bigger than the sky” and the monsters “look like their eyes are made of pizza and have burning willies” either. Del Toro (are you supposed to put the del there, or should he just be referred to as Toro?), taking the reigns from the unknown seven year old was supposed to instil some normality to proceedings, however his idea of having the robots controlled by some mind meld thing – as an excuse to get two people into the giant robots – was met with derision by studio execs who complained “why cant they just have a pilot and wing man, like top gun?”. Toro countered that his hastily written love story aspect of the film would not function without an “orgasmic mind meld – mid battle” as the final scene – an idea originally thrown out because the seven year old said it was “too yucky” and “what is an organasm?”. So that idea stayed in. They also threw in a load of robot racial stereotypes, the Asian guys, for some reason there are three of them (a subtle dig at Chinas one child policy maybe? Except the guys who played them are Canadian…with Vietnamese heritage) have Kanji like symbols all over their robot. The Russians have the the biggest strongest robot, its a little slow though. The Americans have the best robot, thats not because it is technically better, it just has Americans in it, so it can beat the monsters better. We are unsure as to who is responsible for these parts, logic would dictate that the seven year old, not knowing any better came up with all this crap, but sources have confirmed that he did respond with “what? I dont care…why cant the robots just be robots?” when the idea was put forward. In conclusion, the parts of this film that a seven year old came up with are bloody awesome, who wouldnt want to see huge ass robots beating the crap out of huge ass monsters? The rest however, the stuff the grown ups made up, thats all crap.

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Parker

In his first live action film Parker from Thunderbirds reveals that far from being the picture of stiff upper lip obedience he is actually a rather over the top master criminal. Lady Penelope is nowhere to be seen as he ditches the pink car for something a little less noticable. Well to be honest he goes through about fifteen cars, but all those years as a chauffeur have taught him a thing or two about getting them started without keys, he has no trouble with any make or model. The plot of Parker hinges on the eponymous characters insistence on ‘order’, his particular brand of ‘order’ involves getting revenge on some bad dudes who cut him out of a heist – even though they offer to pay him back half way through. Whilst this slightly warped sense of ‘order’ almost certainly stems from his position in the strangely hierarchical world of the ‘International Rescue’ operation it is clear from the outset why he is simply the butler/driver rather than master of thunderbird 6. The plan he comes up with is so ridiculously convoluted that it is a small wonder he manages to achieve anything at all. His connections do come in handy though in that he seems to have unlimited access to fire department vehicles. Why they chose Parker as the focus of this film is clear, he was bound to be hiding some dirty little secrets behind that Limo screen, and hanky panky with Lady Penelope was never going to do it for an audience weaned on Marina from Stingray, so rather than waste money on another god awful Thunderbirds film they went with this spin off instead – and good luck to them I say – even though they have ruined their chance at a sequel with the rest of the squad because Parker shoots Jeff Tracy in the face at the end.

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Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity is vaguely scary, but I didn’t shit my pants. I have never shit my pants over a film, so that is not the best way to judge scare levels anyway. The ‘how scary’ question almost addressed there we can move on to the primary issue with the film (spoiler) aside from the father figure in the film being a total asshole. The demon actually turns out to be a vilociraptor from Jurassic Park. The evidence is right there in the form of clearly discernable Dino footprints at the end. What has happened is that the raptor has laid its eggs in the upstairs closet, and the children have discovered them. We know from JP3 (aka triceraflops) that if you mess with a raptors eggs it won’t claw your face off. All the other weird things, the duvet removing, strange noises and objects moving can be put down to having a broody raptor in the house. This is why the film isn’t scary, which is an impressive feat, the JP raptors made me nearly poop myself (nearly) when they were running around that kitchen, here their kitchen shinannigans come off more as a cry for help from a busy mother. poor raptors.

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Paul

Ok, I honestly thought this was a kids movie. It was a fair mistake I think, the alien looked kind of comical and I didn’t really want to see it so I clearly didn’t pay enough attention to the trailer. Anyway when the first f-bomb was dropped it was highly confusing (didn’t look at the DVD case either), when the second and third arrived the penny dropped. This wasn’t a kids movie at all! I mean I don’t have anything against kids movies, I watched this thinking it was one, but it was way better because the alien swore his balls off. Paul was pretty entertaining, it made me laugh. What is interesting is that literally as I write it is being written out of the Pegg-Frost cannon, trails for their new film posit it as the third film from the pair, along with Hot Fuzz and the zombie one. This is a bit unfair really, its not as funny as either of those, but its not that bad, maybe in ten years we’ll have forgotten that it existed at all, the people who made it certainly hope so.

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