Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tosh times two

I've mentioned before that we've been getting quite a few DVDs from the Public Library, and that often we turn up a gem that's not previously been known. Not always.

I was in a bit of a hurry the other day , so I grabbed two films that seemed to hold some hope of being worth watching. Piffle. Both of them were twaddle. The first was a 1989 TV movie called The Shell Seekers, which was based on the very popular book of the same name. Angela Lansbury starred as an older woman who'd just had a minor heart attack and wanted to get back on with life while two of her three adult children seemed to think it was about time she sold off her prized possessions and gave the dosh to them. Lansbury, who was hardly old at the time the film was made (63 or 64), was at least twice given the line, "I'm sixty-three years old...etc" as though this was something of importance. So what, was the audience reaction. The film was otherwise notable for some weakish acting, particularly from the girl playing the teenage having her first love affair; she wasn't helped by the young man playing her opposite - he was required to be as dull as ditchwater by the script, it seemed. The character motivations were suspect throughout - poor Patricia Hodge, now playing the manic mother in Miranda, was the middle child of the family, the one supposedly loved more than the others. She was written as a sympathetic character throughout, until the final scene in which she suddenly seemed to have a change of heart and became almost as grasping as her brother and sister.  More than enough said.

The second film was such a piece of nonsense that it's not surprising it took five scriptwriters to try and cobble it into some sort of shape. Cowboys and Aliens concerns a man (Daniel Craig) in the Wild West who wakes up with a solid metal cuff around his wrist that does strange things when he's least expecting it. He's lost his memory, for the most part, so he can't explain where the thing came from. Arriving in the nearest town he and the townsfolk, including Harrison Ford as the local bully rancher, are attacked from the skies by some weird flying things which lasso various characters and haul them off behind their planes. Surprisingly this doesn't kill any of them, though it does leave them a little stunned. The remaining townsfolk go after the aliens who are eventually found holed up in a massive rocket-like ship in the middle of the desert. They're pulling ground out of the ground, literally.

The humans include Craig and Ford, but also a strange woman who seems to know more than she lets on (she turns out to be some sort of alien too, though rather more friendly than nasty, animal-like ones). There's the obligatory 'Doc' who can't shoot a gun, but learns to; the boy who has to become a 'man'; the preacher, who plainly never went near any decent seminary, if what he spouts as Christianity is anything to go by; the half-breed who hero-worships Ford from afar, as it were, and turns out be more of a son than Ford's real boy (his opening stunt is to shoot the windows out of the saloon). Then there are a band of rustlers/hold-up men, and a band of Indians. Somehow they all come together for the big piece at the end, by which time we're laughing our heads off at the absurdity of it all.

Craig plays 007 with a Wild West accent, and a terrible hat, and burning eyes. Ford chaunters around the place barking at everyone, getting particularly annoying when he won't wait for the half-breed to translate from Indian into English, and consequently having to have stuff repeated to him. Olivia Wilde plays the helpful alien, and a bunch of other well-known faces have appearances of various lengths. Total Tosh.

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