Quartet, The Raid, and American Pie: Wedding

The Old, The Fit, and The Expired

Another week passes by, and looking at the calendar I cringe at the big letters in red on Friday “FIRST EXAM”.

As to keep concentrated on these exams, my next written post won’t be until 28th June, so consider this as a hiatus of sorts. However, I do have something in the mix that I might post before that date, if all goes well.

So, thanks for putting up with all the setbacks so far, and let’s get on with the reviewing!

Quartet

THE PLOT: Beecham House is the retirement home for musicians. Reg (Tom Courtenay), Wilf (Billy Connolly), and Cissy (Pauline Collins) are all opera singers who made a very good recording of one of the songs from the opera Rigoletto. With the annual gala drawing nearer, the retirement home’s future and risk, and the arrival of the fourth member of the Rigoletto piece and ex-wife to Reg, Jean (Maggie Smith), we are sure to be in for some musical madness.

Well let’s start off with the element in the room: the music, which was spectacular. When the end credits roll, you see each performer as they were back in their youth, and you’re not at all surprised by those from the Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, as well as Andrew Sachs in his golden days of Faulty Towers. The film doesn’t let you forget that these people are musicians, and it keeps driving the message of how music revives each and every one of them.

The film itself wasn’t too bad. Pauline Collins plays a very convincing senile patient, Billy Connolly is his old rascal-y self, and the married duo convey their conflicting feelings for each other very well.

The one big thing that I wanted this film to be was grander. We get bored of all the hallways of Beecham House, and the gala’s gravatas is on a level of a primary school’s play. What shattered everything, however, was the ending. SPOILER LIES AHEAD, SKIP TO THE VERDICT. When we finally see all four of them ready to sing their song to the crowd, lapping up the crowd’s applause, what a surprise it was to cut to the credits without even seeing them hit a note. Yes, they can’t sing, but we saw half the other people lip-syncing, so I don’t see why not Connolly can’t stretch those Glasgow lips!

VERDICT: 6/10 – We want opera, not school concert.

Jean: Oh Reg, please, this is the first time we've seen each other in God knows how many years.
Reginald Paget: Ninety-seven.
Cissy: [gasps] Is it really that long? God, how time flies.

The Raid: Redemption

THE PLOT: Bwahahaha, plot? A team of Indonesian police go into a crime lord’s den, are hopelessly outgunned with no backup, and all hell ensues.

And you know what? That was absolutely perfect for this film.

Actually, one gripe before I do start, there was some sort of lame story-line about corruption in the police, but it really doesn’t matter. Honestly. You will not notice it in this film.

If you want a good action/martial arts film, you have one right here, because it was brilliant. The mood is fantastic, creating the hopelessness of the situation, and the tension of it all, as the remnants of police from the first assault try to escape and hide the vicious machete-wielding gang.

The martial arts are also unrelenting, as fights are innovative, and equally brutal. A shout-out to the actor of Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) who created a sadistically violent, skilled character.

While there isn’t much plot per-say, I somehow started to care for some of the characters. Of course, the pregnant wife waiting at home was a low-blow, but you did feel a little saddened when various characters were dispatched, but equally fist-bumped at each fallen ‘baddie’.

I know this film won’t resonate with everyone’s taste of film, but this film set out to be a heart-stopping martial-art action, and did so with flying colours.

VERDICT: 10/10 – I’m pretty sure this is the first 10 I’ve given for a movie so… yeah.

Jaka: Our mission is simple. We go in, and we take him out!

American Pie: The Wedding

THE PLOT: Awkward Jim Levenstein has final popped the question to band-camp geek Michelle Flaherty. They start to plan the wedding, only for Steve Stifler to crash the, well, planning-of-the-wedding. What mischief can he get up to this time?

Going into this film, I pondered over my last experiences with the American Pie franchise, and I was beginning to think whether the series had finally reached the end of its life-expectancy, and I have to say it was pretty much there.

For starters, Stifler takes the spotlight in this film, which is good considering how much Jim has been through. However, he really is an annoying son-of-a-gun, so I wanted to shoot my TV screen quite a few time during the film. Also, some of the characters really do fade into the background of the film. Kevin has little/no reason to be in the film at all (which is probably why Oz isn’t here either) and Michelle didn’t really stand out for me either, despite it being HER WEDDING.

The jokes weren’t bad, and it wasn’t that they were treading over the same path but… it most certainly felt like they were treading over the same path. The gags all hinder the plot, as they always did, embarrass Jim, as they always did, and have other elements of gross-out, as they always did.

I didn’t find anything new in this movie, but I guess it was a nice way to wrap off the series, well, at least until American Pie: The Reunion came along.

VERDICT: 5/10 – The old pie-to-the-face gag; funny, but a little dated.

Michelle: Wow, Steve Stifler just gave a rose to a girl and meant it. It's like, monkeys learning to use tools for the first time.

(Wow, trying to find a quote that isn’t excessive swearing was fairly hard.)

Vinci

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