Episode 31 : Mr. Badass Coolstick, constantly.

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Added on Thu, 18 Dec 2008 16:08:24 +0100.
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I suppose we'd better review some more films, then? You demanding fruitcakes, you.

The Vince Vaughn Christmas flick bandwagon crashes on with Four Christmases, a supposed comedy charting the bumps in his relationship with Reese Witherspoon as they are forced to endure four trips to their divorced parents and obnoxious families. I believe that said obnoxiousness was supposed to be funny, rather than just obnoxious, but you can't have everything in life, can you?

Latest volley from the remake cannon, The Day the Earth Stood Still sees an alien craft lands in Noo Yawk, with its inhabitant Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) eventually revealed as the guy who's going to pull the trigger on the human race, our years of planet abuse and warring deemed unacceptable by our intergalactic neighbours. It's left to scientist Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) and her inordinately irritating stepson to make the case for our survival, in a remake that stays mostly true to the sedately paced original in theme and spirit but with a chase movie bolted on. Impressive effects, decent performances and a minimum of lecturing and enviro-posturing make this remake, if not necessary, at least not a disgrace to the name.

Okay, Dean Spanley, a hard sell on this one, seeing that in a crass nutshell it's about a sloshed priest (Sam Neill) telling a slightly baffled audience of Peter O'Toole, Jeremy Northam and Bryan Brown that he's been reincarnated from his previous life as a dog. Leftfield, I suppose, but no less excellent for it, with a deeply amusing script, superb performances from all involved, particularly O'Toole, and a genuinely heartwarming story that left me grinning like a big ol' idiot. Easily one of the best films of the year.

In Lakeview Terrace, young multiracial couple Chris and Lisa (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) move next door to cop Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson), who seems to object to the multiracial part of the couple. A mutual dislike starting off as verbal exchanges soon snowballs into something more dangerous, albeit without much in the way of tension to keep it interesting.Jackson's watchable enough and almost carries the film off, but a bizarre structure that deflates tension and throws irrelevant character trivia in lieu of development sort of ruins the pacing of it. Far from terrible, but the yo-yoing between pulp thriller and character study doesn't really work.

We will return shortly with our Best of the Year show fairly soon, until then, enjoy the Wintervalmasanukanewyear!