The Sunday Six Film Awards 2005!
Best Bunnies – Wallace and Gromit in Curse of the Wererabbit
In brief: Bunnies! And Plasticine and vegetables and Englishness and cheese and more bunnies and... well, you know the drill.
Best bit: BUNNIES! Especially the Bun-Vac bunny catcher with all the little floaty rabbits in it. And the way they squeaked when they got sucked up the pipe. And Gromit doing his "sexy" walk. I didn't know he had it in him.
Can I quibble? Yes, I can: I could have lived without the Ralph Fiennes baddie, but I suppose the piece required a villain of some description.
What did we learn from this?: BUNNIES!!
Best Uprising of the Forces of Darkness – Night Watch
In brief: Apocalyptic Russian fantasy film about the forces of Light fighting the forces of Darkness, only while doing a lot more commuting and paperwork than you'd expect, and drinking a lot of instant caffeinated beverages.
Best bits: The bizarro Eastern European-style animation sequences. Olga the owl lady (I hope she gets a bigger part in the sequel; she's very cool). The imaginative semi-animated subtitles. And the Buffy joke.
Can I quibble? Yes, I can: The leading man had sunglasses in lieu of charisma (in a sense, this may have been intentional). Also, did the part about the vampire licensing scheme make any sense? Was it meant to?
What did we learn from this?: The final battle between the good and evil will be sponsored by Nescafé.
Best Attempt at Shocking the Middle Classes – The Aristocrats
In brief: No-frills documentary thingy in which lots of comedians tell variations on one really, really rude joke, which has the punchline "The Aristocrats".
Best bits: A lot of it is very, very funny – I particularly liked the ones where they started to change the punchline to things other than "The Aristocrats". Also, this is the only time I can remember being at the cinema and noticing an audience member walking out in disgust. (At least I assume it was disgust. It may have been a dodgy curry the night before.)
Can I quibble? Yes, I can: Not really a quibble as such, but it's an American film so I didn't recognize half the comedians in it, and therefore wasn't familiar with their usual work, so didn't understand how well a joke about incestuous and/or scatological obscenities fitted in with their usual repertoires. Or didn't, as appropriate.
What did we learn from this?: Many very disgusting things that have corrupted my otherwise pure and innocent mind (hem hem).
Best Reason to Go and Eat Some Pies – The Machinist
In brief: Christian Bale gets very thin indeed in an off-kilter thriller in the Memento-esque "what the hell's going on here?" vein.
Best bits: Stylishly filmed and full of memorably worrying images, most of which are Christian Bale looking like he's about to keel over from imminent starvation.
Can I quibble? Yes, I can: The ending does make more sense than you might expect, but also feels rather anticlimactic. It's not all that original, it must be said. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays the same part she's played in almost anything she's been in over the last ten years. And when you leave, you'll be needing a very large dinner.
What did we learn from this?: Method actors are utterly bonkers.
Most Lugubriously Expressive Peruvian Dog – Bombón El Perro
In brief: An aging Peruvian man has a bit of a miserable life. He gets a dog. He perks up a bit. That's about it.
Best bits: Any expression on the dog's face, which is generally slobbery and grumpy-looking and hilarious. Also, the old geezer is such a sweetie that when nice things start to happen to him because of the dog, even an old sour-puss like me can't help but feel a bit warm and cosy about it.
Can I quibble? Yes, I can: It's one of those subtitled efforts in which not much happens over a fairly long space of time. Which isn't everyone's cup of Turkish coffee.
What did we learn from this?: They drink an awful lot of coffee in Peru. And Dogo Argentino dogs are cute.
Biggest Pile of Unremittingly Unredeemable Shite – Fantastic Four
In brief: Basically, I couldn't think of another film from this year that I wanted to mention because it was good, so I thought I'd mention a film that was completely appallingly awful instead.
Best bits: The Thing seemed to be trying his best with a very duff script and naff make-up job. The ending, when I could go home with impunity.
Can I quibble? Yes, I can: Where to start? Stupid plot, crappy characterization, huge special effects sequences that somehow manage to look cheap and useless. Jessica Alba needs to eat something NOW before she dies of starvation, and she can't act for toffee, and why has she just taken all her clothes off, and how could she possibly have been the long-time sweetheart of two blokes a good dozen years older than her? Poor Human Torch: others have tried to build acting careers around their abs and it's never really worked. Julian McMahon's eyebrows are drawn on with a marker pen, and I bet Ioan Gruffudd wishes he'd stayed on his sailing ship.
What did we learn from this?: Sometimes it's better to stay at home and watch videos....
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There won't be a Sunday Six next week, because it's Christmas Day and with any luck, I shall be reclining on a comfy sofa somewhere in the north-east of England, hopefully in an emotional haze induced by overexposure to rich food and David Tennant in pyjamas. However, I have also just realized that next week also marks six months of the Sunday Six. How time flies, eh? If you have nothing better to do, you can revisit all the past Sixes here. So the next Sunday Six will also be the first Sunday Two-Thousand-and-Six. Avanti!