Award-winning actress Sharon Stone (“Sphere”, “Casino”, “Basic Instinct”) and Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files”) star in this uplifting motion picture that’s received overwhelming critical acclaim. With his loving and supportive mother (Stone), 13-year-old Kevin (Kierin Culkin) moves in next door to another teen, Max. Though both have problems that label them as outcasts, Kevin and Max discover that by proudly combining their strengths and uniting as one, they can overcome their individual limitations and triumph over any adversity. As this pair sets out on a series of courageous adventures, they find the mightiest treasure of all: friendship. With Gena Rowlands (“Playing By Heart”) and a stellar supporting cast.
1998 – Certificate: PG – American Film
Rating Details: Threat of violence
8.0 out of 10
Had a bit of a scare this morning, when I woke up to a cloudy sky. Was that the end of summer for another seven years? Fortunately, things have got sorted out this afternoon and it’s now lovely and sunny again. We seem to have temporarily lost our Level 3 Heat-Health Watch status, but it’s still managed to get to 32C in my living room this afternoon. It was 33C in here yesterday, a new Cactus World record and a long way from last winter’s ghastly low of 14C. This film has inspired me to reach for new heights too.
Almost everything about this film annoys me, from the entirely unrealistic plot, through to the emotionally manipulative ending. You’ll find more realism on the front page of the Daily Mail than in this movie. It even manages to ‘Disneyfy’ two characters from “Mad Mad: Beyond Thunderdome” and turn them into two ‘kids with issues’. Even the ‘bad guy’ gets a Disney-like make-over and ends up about as threatening a red traffic light. It’s also got Sharon Stone, Gillian Anderson and Meat Loaf in it too, yet fails to turn in a single, sexually provocative scene, alien or overwrought rock anthem. What a waste; that latter lot would make a great film. Now I’ve trashed it I will say that this is actually a really nice and enjoyable movie. You know how when someone complements you and you know they don’t really mean it, but somehow you still like the fact that they said it anyway? Well this movie feels a lot like that. It’s like they vivisected all the great family movies to identify what makes them ‘work’ and then injected it into this one. You know it’s not really that good but you still secretly like it anyway. The two youngsters at the centre of the story manage to be the heroes they’re destined to be, without being too annoying in that ‘Hollywood way’; I found myself wanting them to succeed, despite the stupid plot. What’s worse, the film borrows from Arthurian legend and I found myself thinking, why do I watch Batman etc when I could be lusting after the original superheroes? And they’re Brits too. Never mind the Justice League or The Avengers, here’s King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; questing and kicking bad guy butt hundreds of years before Captain America had even been conceived. Suitably horrified by my own lack of patriotic pride, as soon as I’d finished watching it I went and bought myself a copy of T. H. White’s “Once and Future King”, the definitive version of the story of King Arthur. It’s a book (well sort of five really), that to my shame I’ve never read. I’ve also burnt all my Batman and Superman DVDs too. (Okay, so I made that last bit up.) At work, I will no longer do funding-raising. Instead, I will go on quests, to seek wisdom, resource further adventures and bring clarity of mind to the unbelievers. True, it’s exactly the same thing, but it sounds a hell of a lot more exciting this way. I will cease to fill in application forms; instead I’ll become a seeker of truth, enlightenment and the pathway to justice. My armour with protect me from the blows of my enemies, whilst my heart will vanquish over adversity, as I rise a hero from the flames of battle. I will walk to the office no longer; instead I will ride into combat! A knight proves his worthiness by his deeds! Or something like that anyway.
I have to admit I do like the soundtrack, despite Sting’s presence. It’s a combination of the restrained and the epic, with some sub-Irish folksiness thrown in for good measure.
Recommended for King Arthur, trailer trash with a heart of gold and over and under-achieving kids.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? In a film highlighting the actions of two kids fighting adversity, badass moments abound. But the most badass of all is Max ripping the radiator off the wall, before telling his father ‘the truth’. After a lifetime of shit, turning on ‘the beast’ is pure badass. Well done Max!
I’m vegan. This makes me better than most other people. I’m not being big-headed or stupid or anything, that’s just the way things are. (See “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” for more details.) I’m lucky, in that the whole population of Cactus World is vegan, which makes things a lot easier. However, the same can’t be said for some of the neighbouring areas. My flat has a couple of air vents in it with built-in fans. These appear to be connected to all the other vents in the building, via a series of pipes buried in the walls. They’re the sort of vents you can use to ‘enjoy’ a ‘domestic’ going on next door. If I lived in a Hollywood film in an old apartment in New York, I’m sure I’d regularly hear murders being committed through them, (which there’d mysteriously be no evidence for when the police arrived to investigate things); or perhaps a major terrorist attack (with a nuclear bomb of course) being planned. I suppose I should be thankful that the vents are in the kitchen and bathroom, as they don’t seem to pick up the sound from other rooms of happy couples em, coupling. So anyway, a little while ago I went to the aforementioned bathroom, to do some ‘bathroom things’. As soon as I opened the lounge door, my senses were assaulted by the smell of cooked fish. I doubt the world’s oceans smell as fishy as my flat right now. Unfortunately, the vents transport smells as easily as they transfer sounds. Four emergency incense cones have now been lit, in an effort to neutralise the insidious odour. (High-powered ones obtained from the US military, through a special arrangement with the authorities in New Mexico. They have “the fragrant aroma of smouldering Piñon firewood that is characteristic of the whole Southwest and the foothills of the Rockies.”) We’ve yet to hear any announcements regarding whether this is a deliberate chemical weapons attack on Cactus World, the result of a massive industrial accident, or simply the outcome of dinner-time for one of my neighbours. For a vegan however, it’s pretty crap; and annoying. The last time my flat smelt this fishy was the day I first came to see it prior to moving in. This was later determined to be a deliberate ploy by the previous inhabitants to disguise one of their leisure activities; it was about a year before it ceased to smell of dope; my predecessors were apparently keen on a joint or two. This film doesn’t feature any of these things. In fact, it couldn’t ‘unfeature’ them more if it tried.
2004 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Moderate sex
I need to go on a diet, (even more than I normally do). This film was so syrupy and sweet that just watching it has made me put on about 5kg. The plot twist at the end is also so obvious that it probably shouldn’t really count as one at all; it’s like one of those weakening fronts you see on weather maps, which by the time they arrive only consist of a few clouds, so if they weren’t pointed out to you you’d probably not even notice them. I’m not much of a fan of period dramas, so a movie set mostly in the 1930s and 1940s isn’t the sort of thing to really excite me. The chances of there being many big explosions, spaceships or gratuitous violence felt slim. Then again, any film with Ryan Gosling in is worth checking out. James Garner’s in it too, who was already old even when I was young. So anyway, okay, this is actually a great film, with the most romantic/tragic ending it’s probably possible to have. As a fan of Thomas Hardy, I’ve always had a soft spot for relationships that get fucked-up by families, class, money, etc. This film delivers a classic Hardy class-barrier storyline, rich city girl and poor country boy; (sounds awful doesn’t it)? Fact is, this film doesn’t really do anything very much else and it certainly doesn’t break any new ground, but what it does do it does really, really well. In fact the only part that felt a bit weak was the Mother’s ‘revelation’; it did feel a bit of a plot contrivance rather than something that fitted into the overall narrative. As a romantic period drama, this does deliver; and yes, it is, especially the ending, tissue-friendly.
Recommended for true romantics. In the perfect world, we’d all end up with our first loves forever. (Aw, see, I can be romantic too.)
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? I have to give this to Lon Hammond. He just goes to prove that even if you’re handsome, a war hero, successful, attentive and an all-around nice guy, you don’t always get the girl. Being a good loser is badass and he manages here to be a top bloke about everything, when he probably had every right to be really, really pissed off.