Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi, 2016)

What's it about? A juvenile delinquent (Julian Dennison) and his reluctant foster father (Sam Neill) form an unlikely bond after they become the subjects of a manhunt in the New Zealand outback.

Is it any good? *counts syllables on fingers as he goes*

A sweet little film /
It brought a smile to my face /
I had a good time

(That review will make a lot more sense if you've seen the film)

I don't trust you. What do others think? It's the little feel-good film that could of 2016. From humble, low-budget beginnings, strong word of mouth has made it the most successful New Zealand film of all time, with audiences and critics alike falling for its quirky qualities and gentle charm. There has been much acclaim for the appealing performances of Dennison and Neill as the mismatched buddies, but writer-director Waititi has also come in for praise, with high hopes that he can now infuse the upcoming big-budget Thor:Ragnorak with similar heart and lightness of touch. And not content with writing and directing, he also turns in a very funny cameo as a church minister.

Anything else I should know? I was all set to review this as a kind of gently comic First Blood remake, only with an old man and a fat kid going all commando in the woods, instead of a muscled-up Rambo. Only for the the film itself to make that very joke about halfway through! Which means I'm as smart and as funny as Taika Waititi. So why isn't anyone paying me millions to make a Marvel film? Anyway, I had to resort to a haiku instead. 

What does the Fonz think? All good, bro!

Off to the Circus!

So, I'm off to the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards this week, which are being held at Duffy's Circus down in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
But not everyone is pleased that they're on.....

Shakespeare Quadruple Bill

So, just back from Stratford-upon-Avon where I spent the weekend being a sophisticated, cultured man about town by attending a Royal Shakespeare Company staging of King Lear in the famous theatre there (spoiler alert - it doesn't end happily). Since I followed things without getting (too) confused, did the town tour and bought some souvenirs, I now consider myself an expert on Shakespeare, which thus leaves me qualified to review four Shakespeare film adaptations. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.....

The latest version of Macbeth (Justin Kurzel, 2015) is a bit of a mixed bag - so fair and foul a film I have not seen, AMIRITE? It's fair because it's a stylish, well staged and suitably grimy telling of the medieval tale, with committed performances from Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. But it's foul because it doesn't really nail the tragic nature of their fall from grace and inexplicably omits some of the most evocative text (where the hell is 'Macbeth does murder sleep?!'). More unforgivably, it wastes the chance to have a glowering Paddy Considine (as Banquo) shake his gory locks at the banquet. Is this a good film I see before me? Methinks, sort of.

Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon, 2013) is showing off a bit. There's something faintly irritating about a big shot Hollywood director using a few days holiday from one job (Avengers Assemble) to gather together his friends at his expensive-but-trying-not-to-look-it-house-his-wife-built to perform a play and make another film, you know, just for fun, like. Couldn't he just sit around in his pants like everyone else? That said, this is a nice enough modern take on Shakespeare's always fun play, filmed in B&W and with good turns from Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof as the quarrelsome-but-clearly-meant-for-each-other Beatrice and Benedick, although it's a portly Nathan Fillion as the hilarious Dogberry that steals the show. That said, I much prefer the colourful 1993 version, which is sunnier, funnier and altogether chummier.

Othello (Oliver Parker, 1995) is a great story, but this is simplified, rather uninspired adaptation, which relies heavily on several direct-to-camera addresses which are not entirely successful. Laurence Fishburne is suitably brooding and handsome as Othello, but struggles a little with the Bard's verse, whilst Irène Jacob as Desdemona makes for a pretty, but rather insipid lover. Together, they don't really do enough to convey the controversial love of the characters, or to stir the emotions when tragedy inevitably rears its head. However, it does have an ace up its sleeve with the casting of Kenneth Branagh as the villainous Iago, whose scheming underpins all the trouble. He's the best thing in it by a million miles and I couldn't help feeling that having him behind the camera as well might have elevated this to greater heights.

Luckily, he is behind the camera for the epic Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh, 1996), as well as in front of it in the title role. Anyone with even a passing interest in Shakespeare will know this is a feast of a tale, with love, death, sex, betrayal, madness, murder, incest, ghosts, suicide and revenge all on display - this Shakespeare fella sure knew how to throw together a crowd-pleasing potboiler. Little wonder then, that a calvalcade of stars (Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Billy Crystal, Gérard Depardieu, Charlton Heston, Derek Jacobi, Jack Lemmon, Judi Dench and Robin Williams among others) jumped at the chance to appear in it, even if it was just a small role. But even if you've never heard of this dithering, blithering idiot Hamlet and haven't a notion what's going on, this is still a feast for the eyes. The costumes and the art design (both Oscar-nominated) are incredibly lavish, all captured on 70mm film format, which really does deserve to be seen on the big screen. But it's Branagh who deserves the plaudits, not just for putting it all together in an accessible fashion, but for a striking, immaculate performance as the peroxide-blonde prince struggling with his personal demons. Yes, it is 37 hours long (actually, just over 4 hours), so you'll probably need a toilet break, but it's worth the effort for a great screen adaptation. Incidentally, my original review of this film was written with a pencil. Can't remember if it was 2B or not 2B. BOOM!! What do you think of that joke, Shakespeare??

“Methink’st thou art a general offence and every man should beat thee.”

Sausage Party (Vernon & Tiernan, 2016)

What's it about? Frank (voiced by Seth Rogen) is a sausage in a packet of sausages on a supermarket shelf. Brenda the hot-dog bun (voiced by Kristen Wiig) is his girlfriend. Along with the rest of the foodstuffs they await the glorious day they are 'chosen' by customers and go to a better place beyond the front doors. Until one returned jar of mustard reveals the terrible truth about these human 'Gods'.....

Is it any good? You know the way Pixar do the 'What if X had feelings' concept, where X is toys, bugs, fish etc? Well, in this case X is food, but the difference is that the X in Pixar never really stood for X-rated. Be warned, Sausage Party is definitely not one for the kids, with more profanity, sex and crudeness than you could shake a big wiener at. And some of it is pretty funny, even if many of the cheap laughs are easier than your ma. But wait a fucking moment! What the friggin' hell is this shit? Poking its turtle-head out of all the filth is what looks like an interesting religious satire, with a smattering of smart observations on God(s), faith, belief structures, cultural (in)tolerance and global (dis)harmony from the likes of bagel Sammy (Edward Norton), lavash Kareem (David Krumholtz), taco Teresa (Salma Hayek) and wise old bottle of liquor (Bill Hader), among many others. Fuck me! Perhaps this is actually a much cleverer movie than you might expect from a movie about potty-mouthed food? Well, it might have been, had they continued to focus in on that satirical element. Sadly, as the film progresses, that turtle-head is pushed under in favour of increasingly tiresome and scattergun rude stuff, and a frantic chase scene. By the time the food orgy rolls round, the shock value has lost its taste and it all feels a bit undercooked. My review will hopefully not fall into the same trap.


What does the Fonz think? Piss the fuck off.

Blog Awards Ireland 2016 - Finalist (No, Really!)

Well, folks, looks like all the extra testosterone injections and blood-doping worked, because The Fast Picture Show has made the list of Finalists in the FILM & TV Blog category at the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016!!

I rang my good friends Stan and Ollie to tell them the good news

Thanks for the support, guys.

This means booking the limo, hoisting up my saggy boobs and getting on my swan dress again, but it won't be easy. Competition in the final 6 is tough:

Luckily, though, a few Olympic boxing judges I know are involved in picking the winner, so I should be okay, even if I get the face beat off me.

And thanks also to anyone misguided enough to vote in the Public Voting period last week.You know I was only joking about that promise to give £350million to the NHS, right? Right?

Further Reading
See all the finalists at Blog Awards 2016 Finalists
Littlewoods Ireland Shop at Ireland's largest online department store


A whirlwind couple of days there during which I squeezed in a 10-hour round trip to the Blog Awards. My back was sore from driving and I didn't win, but I got a goody bag and some candy floss, so all was well.

Congratulations to Scannain, who deservedly took home the prize for their excellent website which promotes Irish film at home and abroad, as well as covering all the latest releases and movie news. 

Until next year!