The Minimum Effort Podcast Episode 5: Best British Comedy

Standard

Combinedpic

Ben, Lewis, Ben and Pete all argue and bicker over the ‘Best British Comedy’. Friendships are broken, tears are shed, and at least one tantrum is thrown. Enjoy!
(Apologies for the quality of the Ben/Pete camera, something terrible happened)

Also, there is an explicit language warning for this one, so if that’s not your cup of tea please feel free to check out our other content.

Video-

Audio-

“You Know What They Say, Human See, Human Do”

Standard

self portraitYou may, or may not, remember when I started a list of my seven favourite films. I began this endeavour at the start of October, and lost motivation after my fourth article…

However! I’m back in action now, and this is the fifth film on my list of movies (which are in no particular order, expect the last one which is, of course, my favourite). So I hope you enjoy the read, and all I can do is offer an apology for taking so long to get back to this series.

“Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”

takeyourpaws

Those of you who have read my review of ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ probably know that I have a lot of love for this franchise. But I’m not talking about the franchise as a whole this time, I’m talking about the original (and arguably the best) film that started it all.

‘The Planet of the Apes’ was based on the novel of the same name by Pierre Boulle, the same guy who wrote ‘The Bridge over the River Kwai’. While the film shares the basic, genius premise of talking apes and the struggle of communication, it differs from the novel a fair bit. I’ve read the book and I’ve seen the film and I have to say… I think I prefer the film. This is a rarity for me, because I can never read enough books, and I almost always prefer the written story with all its intricate details and full characterisation. It’s common for a lot of that detail to be lost in the translation to the big screen. However, sometimes a film comes along that not only meets your expectations, but exceeds them. I’m not saying that the film of ‘The Planet of the Apes’ is a whole lot better, it’s just the one I prefer.

One reason for this is the changes in the plot. Tim Burton’s awful early 2000s remake follows the book’s plot a little more closely, but still differs a fair amount (not in a good way), and while it’s still a fairly strong plot with a twist at the end, the original film just can’t be beaten by book or remake. As I’ve said, it keeps the same basic premise, however, there are a lot of key changes. I won’t dive into these as, while it’s an old film, you may not have seen it yet. If you haven’t, then what the hell are you doing reading this article for? Go and watch it!

I joke, please read this article.

It’s a science fiction classic, released in 1968 (the same year as ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, making 1968 a great year for Sci-fi), and while some of the special effects are certainly dated due to its age, it’s very easy to look past this. In fact, the only effects that really look dated are the scenes in the spacecraft at the very start of the film, which are honestly only seen in the first ten minutes or so. Every other effect, costume, set and makeup (especially) are superb, and in fact the make-up artist, John Chambers, won an honorary Academy Award for his work on the film. From the beautifully barren landscapes of the “Forbidden Zone” to the rough, but intricate, cities of the apes, all the scene are iconic in their styles. One particular detail that has stuck with me all the years since I first saw this film is the appearance of the “Scarecrows”. They are some freaky set pieces.

scarecrows

The acting in this film is equally impressive, and while some may laugh at Charlton Heston’s manly-man character and his (admittedly) slightly over-the-top acting, the film would not be the same without him. He is such a quotable, classic character, and the impact both his performance and the character has had on culture is huge. For example, without Heston and ‘The Planet of the Apes’ you almost certainly wouldn’t have one of the funniest comedic characters ever conceived-Zapp Brannnigan.

Kif+funnyjunk+has+released+a+post+about+me+inform+the+_b9de3d8855e60a07d9ff0e146b586478

Props also go to Roddy McDowall for his performance as Cornelius, and Maurice Evans as the cynical, and sarcastic Dr Zaius.

Not to get too pretentious here, but the film does have a poignant message at the heart of it, even if the punch is delivered by a shock twist. Heston’s character embarks on the mission to find life beyond Earth because he is tired of mankind and its faults, and he says that he wants to find a society or life that doesn’t get caught up in petty squabbles or seeks to oppress the individual. However, the society he and his companions stumble upon is the epitome of what he was seeking to escape. It’s also a fairly obvious commentary on animal treatment and hunting, with the roles of humans and apes reversed so dramatically.

Anyway, as I’ve said, it’s a sci-fi classic, a film that will last in memory long after it’s sequels and spin offs have faded in obscurity. The reason for this is that the script, the story and the portrayal of the characters are so timeless that generation after generation can appreciate the film despite the obvious ageing. That’s all I can really say about it, because, as with a lot of my favourite films, songs and albums, it has something about it I can’t really define that draws me to it. I highly recommend this film to you if you haven’t seen it, and if you have, watch it again! Time always lets you appreciate things from a new perspective.

-Lewis

Sea Vampires…

Standard

self portraitLast-last Tuesday evening/early morning, I watched what can only be described as one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. In fact I think it was one of the worst things my eyes have ever seen. I’m gonna use a cliché here, but it was like watching a car crash or a terrible accident. You know it’s awful, and you know you shouldn’t be looking at it, but I just couldn’t drag my eyes away from it.

This film is called “The Beast of the Bering Sea”, and had a rating of one star on Netflix. This should’ve been enough to stop me from watching it, but my housemate, a lover of horror movies (Both B and A grade) put it on and I was mesmerised by the pile of crap being shoved into my skull. In order to give you an unbiased and accurate idea of the movie, I’ve taken this plot summary from IMDb-

Dive into the depths of unspeakable terror as ‘Sharknado’’s Cassie Scerbo comes face to fin with a swarm of bloodsucking sea monsters in this suspense-drenched chiller co-starring Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry Maguire), Brandon Beemer (TV’s “The Bold and the Beautiful”) and Kevin Dobson (TV’s “Knots Landing”). While dredging for gold beneath the Bering Sea, siblings Donna (Scerbo) and Joe (Lipnicki) are confronted by a horde of horrific sea vampires. When their father (Dobson) falls victim to the insatiable creatures, Donna and Joe join forces with a dedicated marine biologist (Jacqueline Fleming, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and a loyal deckhand (Beemer) to kill or be killed by the beasts.

91-uUO2jzcL._SL1500_

Yeah.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I do know that there has been a huge revival of horror B-movies in recent years, and I do know that they are now made to be intentionally bad. But the thing is, I don’t think this film is trying to be bad. It’s TOO bad to be trying to be bad. It seems like it really does take itself seriously, whereas in terms of ‘Sharknado’ or ‘Megashark vs Crocosaurus’ you can tell that, while the actors portray their characters completely straight-faced, they aren’t taking the film seriously, and neither are the directors or writers. In the case of ‘The Beast of the Bering Sea’ or ‘Damn Sea Vampires’, it’s very difficult to tell whether it’s intended to be a straight-faced horror or a comedic tribute to B-movies. The alternative title, ‘Damn Sea Vampires’ certainly implies that it’s meant to be the latter, but it just doesn’t come across that way when you’re actually watching it.

It’s so bad that I’m not sure how much I can actually write here, because I don’t want to be mean about it, and I don’t want to sound like a movie snob. It’s tough, guys…

Let’s just go through some of the key points that a movie is generally made around. I would say that plot, dialogue, direction, editing, acting, characters and special effects are the elements that generally make a movie. So, let’s go through those.

  • Plot… There’s definitely a plot, I’ll give them that. Although, it’s very tough not to have any plot at all, so it’s not that much of achievement. The question is whether it was a good one or not, and I’m gonna say no. It was not a good plot.
  • As for dialogue, I’ve heard more natural conversation come from a man under duress trying to convince his son that the police aren’t at home waiting for him and won’t tackle him to the floor the moment he steps in. Or, as another comparison, Stephen Moffat has written dialogue better than this pile of crap, and you know how much I don’t like Moffat’s writing.
  • I’m not even sure this movie had a director, I think they just did whatever the hell they wanted to do whenever the hell they felt like it.
  • I usually don’t pick up on the editing of film, because I don’t generally delve into the technical aspects of a movie. But it’s nearly impossible not to notice the poor cuts and continuity in the shots. School kids can do, and have done, a better job on Windows Movie Maker.
  • I’ve already mentioned the acting in this film, and for actor/actresses who’ve actually been in films, it’s truly awful to watch.
  • As for the characters they play, are there actually people like this in the world? I’d like to meet them if there is. More out of a morbid curiosity than anything else.
  • And now my favourite, special effects. I’ve always had a fascination with special effects, and I love figuring out how someone has created a certain effect or model. My housemate and I figured out that they must have created the monsters out of a bin bag and some googly-eyes glued onto it. I’m being serious. And to prove it, here’s a picture of the monster-

beastobs1

Now here’s a bin bag in a tree that my housemate Grant saw on his way to university-

10313889_10152947047317013_1795717890_n

A startling resemblance…

 

Just to take it further, here’s one I made earlier-

10968202_10152947047187013_190763012_n

(If you or your kids want to make a Sea Vampire too, then just grab a black bin bag, cut it open down the seam, fold it into a triangle, glue on some crazy eyes, and then glue on a big, grinning mouth with great big shark teeth! You can be a special effects artist too!)

Yeah, so it’s not exactly state of the art special effects, but they could at least put some more effort in.

I said I was trying not to be too horrible about this one, but to be honest I think I failed in that respect… I’m sorry Lipnicki, I’m just in a really cynical mood today. The one positive thing I have to say about this film is that I couldn’t stop laughing the whole way through it, but that’s not down to the film, it was due to Grant and I tearing it to shreds constantly. I guess if you’re as ruthless as us and have some funny friends to watch it with, you might get a kick out of this too.

I hope you enjoyed my bitter rant, please remember to comment if you’ve seen the film and want to defend it, or join me in attacking it. If you haven’t seen it, well, don’t.

-Lewis