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So, Podcast 85 then. Not 84, as we inadvertently agree on calling it towards the end of this. Pobodys's nerfect.
This time around we cast our withering gazes on the combined horrors of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Cowboys and Aliens, The Guard, Conan the Barbarian, One Day, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Which will emerge unwithered? Find out in this thrilling withers ode!
Rise of the Planet of the Apes sees a cure for Alzheimer's go badly wrong, creating a race of super smart monkey fuck. In this world gone mad, we won't spank the monkey — the monkey will spank us. While the film shows an unhealthy disregard for scientific method, it's an entertaining summer tentpole movie with more thought behind it than most others of the ilk.
Certainly more thought than in Cowboys and Aliens, for example. Starting off in at least the same ball park as traditional Westerns, it gets a good bit stupider when the alien gunships show up, causing havoc and kidnapping townsfolk. It's up to Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig to get them back. While it's a quite breathtakingly stupid premise, the above average cast and director lets it get away with most of its excesses.
The Guard also takes things to excess, mainly racial tolerance, as Brendan Gleeson' off-colour Guarda pals around with bamboozled visiting Fed Don Cheadle to run down a cocaine shipment. It's a very slender thing, with the plot taking a back seat to the dialogue, and with any less than the performance Gleeson offers it would probably be disastrous. Thankfully he's on the case and is hilarious. One of the funniest films I've seen this year.
Time to swing around a broadsword with Conan The Barbarian, to the exclusion of all sense and reason. While there's plenty of action, that's part of the problem. The pacing isn't conducive to a satisfying watch, and the plot has holes you could sail a galleon through. There's worse films, to be sure, but there's also a massive number of better films. Give this a wide berth.
One Day is, depending on how you look at it, either a relationship drama with unsatisfying relationships, or a character drama with annoying characters. Either way you look at it, it's a film that doesn't reward you for looking at it.
The exact opposite is true of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which is the best film of the year so far. Gary Oldman tries to track down a Russian mole in the heart of Blighty's secret service, and while the detective story might not be quite as clever or complicated as it seems to think it is, it's a barnstorming character piece with pitch-perfect period detailing. Brilliant.
If we're very luck we'll have something of similar quality for our next podcast in a few weeks.