Monthly Archives: August 2015

Paul Currie – Re-Release the Baboons

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Now on Tour with ‘Re-Release The Baboons’ in Edinburgh for the rest of the month at Heroes at the Hive, is Paul Currie performing a culmination of everything he’s done so far plus a few new ideas, and some intense non-Gluten Free comedy like I’ve never experienced.

I saw Paul Currie at the Black Box in Belfast when he was put in front of an audience after Tony Law was delayed for getting into a fist fight in an airport and missed his plane. A thirty minute ‘bonus’ show took place that had everyone shocked and laughing so hard that they became insensible, and Paul had not spoken a word for most of it.

I have never felt so childlike and carefree while at the same time laughing until I sweated. I have laughed until I cried, and laughed until I choked but constantly having the feeling that I may be being held hostage by an outrageously funny/mentally ill genius/psychopath I was burning calories out’ve confusion and an undeniable energetic joy.

Stewart Lee loves him, and that may lead you to assume he is a certain kind’ve comedian, and whatever that comedian is that you’ve assumed is incorrect. The mixture of muppet->fruit rape, penis metronomes, luck dragons, ironic digs at Amazon, references to KISS, Hovis and the most refreshing ‘airport’ material I have seen since the first time I heard any mention of airports, had me and everyone else feeling like part of a commune of enlightened beings, I was one step away from realising there was no reason to work, hate, or pursue money. Any attempt at trying to ‘get it’ will result in some accidental implosion as Paul Currie is essentially a Children’s Entertainer for adults, in that if anyone attempted to entertain children with any of this material they would soon be taken away and electrocuted on the bollocks.

Inner-child entertainment like this, does not exist. I found myself comparing Paul Currie to Vic and Bob, Monty Python, The Mighty Boosh, The Young Ones, so many surreal comedians that I had to eventually admit he was a genius, glorious to watch and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The only thing I would say is that Vic Reeves and The Mighty Boosh had a very intense and strange live performance before they got polished onto radio and television, and Paul, if anything is akin to Vic Reeves Big Night Out in it’s original format, and that’s something you regret not seeing. I know you do, because you have to regret that.

As his performances would never translate to DVD with even a percent of the satisfaction of seeing him live, this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for you, so if you are in the northern hemisphere head to Edinburgh and go see Paul Currie live before he becomes famous or old.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E, another in a series of the rebootathon that has been 2015. In a year that has brought us the return of the Terminator, Jurassic Park and a somewhat Australian apocalypse this delightful spy romp headed by the man from the Vinnie Jones movies, is a reboot that is less a modern update than a delightful love letter to those spy adventures we lapped up as kids. Watching this movie felt much more like the fun filled tongue in cheek earlier Bond movies of the Moore and Connery days. Something that has been missing since his gritty, post Baleman Begins facelift.

Being one of those pesky millenials I have to admit that my knowledge of The Man from U.N.C.L.E is limited to my dad’s nostalgic rants and a quick wiki search so I can’t exactly attest to loyalty of source material in the movie. What I do know is that it was an espionage series from the sixties that shared airtime with that campy and lovable Adam West vehicle loosely based on Batman and that it involved the penmanship of Ian Fleming. The man we have to thank for everyone of us saying shaken not stirred, just to be told that a sex on the beach gets neither and “no sir, you cant have a little umbrella.” This undoubtedly led to the James Bond elements of gadgetry, espionage, pithy one liners and casual female objectification. All things that this movie stays true to.

The movie much like the show follows the adventures of the American James Bond played here by the British Superman, Henry (this superman kills people) Cavill. He goes by the unlikely name Napoleon Solo and is joined by the (you guessed it ) Russian Illya Kurykin. A KGB giant with Mommy issues played here by Armie Hammer. Hammer brings a surprising amount of comedic timing to his portrayal, assuming you don’t mention The Lone Ranger. Together they join forces in a way only sensical in comic books and dirty cold war fan fiction (have a google I’m sure they exist). Also in the mix is the placeholder female character Gaby Teller (played by Alicia Vikander), a genius mechanic stuck on the wrong side of the iron curtain and brought into the spy life because her father is an ex-Nazi rocket scientist or something equally evil. Gaby takes to the murderous and dangerous spy lifestyle very quickly for a civvie, but then again when faced with Henry Cavill’s blue eyes and dimpled chin, who wouldn’t?.

Anyway on with the plot. Spy stuff happens. Plot to take over the world or destroy it or to win the cold war for……someone? I’m sure it makes more sense than how I make it sound but truthfully the plot is very forgettable as are the bad guys of the piece. Not to mention riddled with plot holes. What I will say is that it’s a fantastic vehicle for a PG-13 rated self aware Archer-athon, complete with tactlenecks (the elegance of the turtle-neck combined with the usefulness of stealth apparatus) and spy on spy chest puffing. Comparing safe cracker gadgets, to fence cutting gadgets to penis metaphor to penis metaphor etc.. Perhaps the most delightful and the closest to progressive instance this film has to offer is when the two male leads get into a masculine pissing contest over women’s fashion. It was a particular delight seeing this typical demonstration of masculine one-upmanship being unashamedly decided on who had better taste in women’s footwear. Reminiscent of the “manners maketh the man,” philosophy of this years other spy comedy, The Kingsman.

There is definite humour and charm within the two male leads, surprisingly so from the relatively unknown Hammer and refreshingly so from the otherwise gloomy Cavill but where the film also shines is in Ritchie’s signature visual style and choice of soundtrack. A style which he still manages to keep current by adapting and making more subtle throughout the years. With a “you get the idea mentality” he doesn’t linger on gunfights but creates a thumping pace and moves on before it gets old, reminiscent of the hour and a half’s worth of sexual tension in Rock n Rolla that culminated in a four second sex scene. Many of the best laughs include little to no dialogue and are down entirely to the visuals and by contrasting relaxing music with hectic action. While at other times the rising drumbeats substitute the sound of the gunshots that are seen rather than heard on-screen.

So the film has it’s charm, hilarity and a modern cinematic flare whilst still being an ode to those romantic days. However it does have flaws as obvious as it’s leading men’s sex appeal (or so I’m told). Much like Ritchie’s other Hollywood indulgences like Sherlock Holmes and the other Sherlock Homes movie. It may be a fun ride but is in the end somewhat forgettable. By no means a bad movie but also by no means a great movie. You’ll forget the villains, the plot, half their damn names and some parts will make you outright question the logic. It is certainly worth watching for the back and forth of Cavill and Hammer and the swarmy charm of that Hugh Grant fella who just lives to make other men look bad.

You’ll notice one person I have yet to discuss is the female lead. Which is perhaps one of my greatest gripes with the movie. While one of my favourite reboots of this year Mad Max has some strong, interesting and down right badass female characters, to the point where you could call it Furiosa feat. Mad Max (that actually sound like a decent R n B hit), this film did not. Which is disappointing. They fall into typical action movie mentality of saying “look guys strong female lead!” by making her one smart cookie and tough which sounds great but it’s very apparent that less time has been put into developing her character, giving her as many fun lines or scenes as the boys, making her love interest/eye candy and you guessed it she still needs saving in the end. Couple that lacklustre and predictable femme fatale, double crossing stereotyping we are left with a movie that more acknowledges gender roles in movies than rises above them. But hey for a simple popcorn flick what do you expect?

To sum up. You’re not going to be upset that you spent an hour and a half on this charming spy adventure but you’re also not going to be in a hurry to re watch it either. This is the kind of movie that will be relegated into constant rebroadcasting on ITV2 in some not too distant virtual reality laced future.

3/5

 

By James Ward