I love Sunday double bills. Your life is empty and there’s nothing to do so you indulge yourself and see two films. And then, after the event, you stop and think… That was a double bill. Ok, not really. Not in the old fashioned sense when you’d pay once to see two films shown one after the other…
Quick diversion. I’m a student in Manchester in 1980. I’ve never seen The Exorcist. When it came out I was only 11. And now it’s on in a double bill at the lovely sleazy old cinema that used to exist on Oxford Road. And I’m only just turned 18. How exciting. Two “x” certificate films! I guess I may as well see the two, after all they are “x”; so much better and darker and forbidding and foreboding than the feeble “18” certificate presented to kids of today. So, before The Exorcist I watch a film I’ve never heard of; Taxi Driver. That’s a double bill.
Back to today. With my double bills I always like to have a connection. Sometimes I forget and have to work hard afterwards. For example, a few years back I went to the Peckham Premier and had a double bill of the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Finding Nemo. Connection? They are both deeply disturbing films that will scar you for life.
Todays’ connection; words that are similar but not the same: goats and ghosts. First up, The Men Who stare at Goats.
I was looking forward to this. Keen to enjoy it. And so I did.
It’s based on Jon Ronson’s TV documentary. Sort of. I guess that’s the problem.
Jon made a great documentary about these psychic warriors; soldiers in the US, funded to look into such things as remote viewing, and warfare free from weaponry and death. Jon’s style made it a joy. He belongs to the Louis Theroux camp of investigative journalism (or Louis belongs to his), where a faux naivete results in astonishingly frank and uninhibited responses from his interviewees. Try and see the documentary, part of a series on Channel 4 called The Secret Rulers of the World.
The documentary was a crazy as anything in this film. But the documentary had Jon Ronson. The film’s got Ewan McGregor.
If you like the likes of Clooney, Spacey and Bridges gooning about (and I do) then you’ll enjoy this film.
That’s that. But see if when you click on the trailer the same thing happens to you as to me. Does an advert pop up? For Ronson lighters? Mr Jon, shame on you!
Next up, and I can’t write for long or I’ll miss my train home (I’m bashing this out over a pint of Theakston’s and some wasabi nuts in the foyer at the Royal Festival Hall) is the ghost film. It’s A Christmas Carol!
Well… this film is downright freaky.
That must be why they’ve released it so early. I don’t know about you, but I try not to think about Christmas until at least the 17th December. But this one- they’ve brought it out in early November. It’s a Guy Fawkes movie! It’ll have been and gone by Christmas, only to be replaced, no doubt, I hope, by some whimsy involving Steve Martin and The Rock pulling a cracker and seeing who gets the hat and who gets the joke.
You know the story. For those who’ve not read the book (me being one), it’s Scrooge. And it’s Jim Carrey as Scrooge. And the ghosts. And it’s a cartoon. And it’s in 3D.
That’s it. Except…
It’s that weird animation. Like in Robert Zemeckis’ other goes- The Polar Express and Beowulf. All the people look like waxworks and it spooks you out.
But Bob’s good at the 3D stuff. Scrooge flies around Victorian London. He’s big, he’s small. He slides off rooftops, he hides in drainpipes. If you want to go crazy in 3D London, Bob’s your man.
Oh, and know your story in advance.
I’m sure Robert Zemeckis has written a good script. Surely. It’s just that Jim Carrey… well, he loves those voices. one minute he’s the cast of Eastenders, next he’s Roy Cropper in Corrie. Honestly, I enjoyed the film, but I could barely understand a word he said.
Right. That’s that. Got to go and get that train. To Hither Green, not the North Pole. Sadly.
If it hasn’t come across, I did enjoy both of today’s films.