Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Barbarossa: Siege Lord

Directed by: Renzo Martinelli

Produced by: Renzo Martinelli
Vlad Paunescu
Riccardo Pintus

Screenplay by: Renzo Martinelli
Giorgio Schottler
Anna Samueli

Story by: Renzo Martinelli
Giorgio Schottler

Starring: Rutger Hauer
Raz Degan
F. Murray Abraham
Christo Jivkov

Music by: Aldo De Scalzi

Cinematography by: Fabio Chianchetti

Editing by: Osvaldo Bargero

Studio(s): Martinelli Film Company International

Distributed by: 01 Distribuzione
Metrodome Distribution

Release date(s): October 2, 2009 (Milan Premier)
October 9, 2009 (Italy)
April 4, 2011 (United Kingdom, Straight-to-DVD release)

Running time: 124 minutes

Country: Italy

Language: English

Budget: €10,000,000

Box office revenue: (Unavailable)

Hey folks, there isn't really much to say, seeing as how I haven't done much at all apart from some quality bonding time with the dog over the past couple of days, so, let's talk about the future. Being topical at the moment, I must declare my love for Halloween. I prefer it to the Christmas festivities, for unlike that season almost-forced cordiality, Halloween is about letting all the freaks come out to play. There is a liberation, freedom and unity in dressing up and losing all inhibitions. In the past, I have dressed as The Joker, Robert Smith and an early-80s English skinhead (this time last year, I was bald, no thanks to drunken debauchery at a house party!). This year, I'll be dressing up as The Crow, a character from both the film and even better graphic novel by James O'Barr. I read it earlier on this year, and although really liking the movie, the raw purity of a man's soul being bore upon the page makes for some powerful reading. Alongside Watchmen, it is my joint-favourite graphic novel, and in tribute of O'Barr and his wonderful work, I pay homage by donning these colours at Halloween.

I know, that doesn't have much to do with film, but as Bill Hicks said to the Christians whom he offended, "forgive me." Anyway, here we have Barbarossa: Siege Lord to swallow, if indeed it is a film possible to be swallowed. To be frank, I bought this film on a whim. I saw it for £3 in my local Tesco, and despite being a direct-to-DVD flick, thought it'd be good to review: it stars Rutger Hauer, one of my favourite actors, as Barbarossa, in a film surrounding his struggles with the Lombard League, who attempt to maintain independence from the Holy Roman Empire. I figured, it couldn't be that bad, it's got Rutger Hauer and F. Murray Abraham, who I haven't seen onscreen in some time, and is going to at least a decent flick with some good production design and battle scenes. As ever, I apply the same rules to my reviews as I do the films I judge, so, whether or not I did or did not like this film is still up in the air, though congratulate yourself if it is so predictable to you the direction I am going with this, and shame on me!

Okay then, let's start off with the good about Barbarossa. For a feature that I have just found is budgeted at €10 million, there is a well-established mise-en-scene. The costumes are all reflective of the period that the film is trying to represent. Also, there is some strong production design, lending the film a certain sense of believability and legitimacy. Finally, I thought that F. Murray Abraham was good, and that there was a decent character arc for Raz Degan as Alberto de Guissano.

That's it. That really is it. There is nothing else that is praiseworthy regarding this film. Now, before I get my claws dug in here, it must be said that since seeing the film I have done some research on Barbarossa. In the United States, it was released as Sword Of War, with an extra fifteen minutes to its running time. Also, in Italy, the country in which the film was produced, it was shown in two parts, both a hundred minutes each, on television. Thus, my review can only be a reflection of the version released in the United Kingdom. In my final example before I get stuck in, Rutger Hauer is marketed as the lead actor in this version, yet even in the finished piece presented to me, it is obvious he is in a supporting capacity. So, to start with what is bad, there is some really woeful dubbing. Each of the lines spoken by the voiceover cast are delivered as though they are reading from the telephone directory and not a script supposedly laden with emotion. Also, the dialogue is not in sync with the actors' mouths: at least Sergio Leone, who could barely speak English at the best of times, understood synchronisation to 'elude' the audience from pointing bad dubbing out. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure that Rutger Hauer and F. Murray Abraham speak Italian, so would it not be easier to release as a foreign-language feature, as opposed to the wasted time and effort put in bad dubbing? There is no effort whatsoever made to make the material sound vaguely interesting. Speaking of the material, in fairness to them it would be pretty hard to make this material seem greater than it is. I'm not sure if the bad dubbers are reading off the same hymn-sheet as Renzo Martinelli, but Jesus this dialogue is woeful. If God were a film critic, he'd be going Old Testament on these screenwriters, bringing down plagues and killing their first-born children. It would be funny if it weren't far the fact that it is consistently bad and full of these moments that say, 'isn't this glorious? Come, peasant, hear how we speak like noblemen.' Imagine the voice of a nobleman in your head and chances are you're not far off in being able to improvise everything written in the script by heart. After over two hours, I was just sick of the same old schtick of love, valour, honour, pride, courage and most of all, chivalry. Don't get me wrong, I like The Knight's Tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which contains all this content (and study Late Medieval Literature), but this just goes on and on and on: the tactic is subtlety and naturalism, and this dialogue is everything but these. This is just dialogue, now we'll talk about structuring. At the beginning of the film, Barbarossa is built up as the main character: we see him talk about various situations and do some brave things: he is set up as the protagonist and a sympathetic character, and in many ways the tone it takes resembles Alexander Nevsky, in that the conquering of the thieving peasantry of Milan is a justifiable cause. Then, less than half-way through, the film does an about-face, and tries to have us sympathise with the Milanese who have just been presented by the film as thieving scoundrels, at the expense of the rape and pillage of Barbarossa and his men. It's an about-turn that never works and may as well have people with placards running around saying 'GOODIES ONSCREEN!' and 'BADDIES ONSCREEN!' Furthermore, the film has way too many subplots and different things going on that it ends up swallowing itself into a black hole created by the sheer molecular badness of the film. Finally, film is a medium of trickery and illusion: even if it is a documentary, the filmmaker's job is to make the audience believe what they are seeing on the screen. At one point, there is a low-angle shot that shows about twenty to thirty cavalrymen go past, which had me think "that's a lot of horses, this film has scale." However, it reveals its tricks in the worst way imaginable: having these twenty to thirty cavalry badly matted on to a background of a hundred really badly CGI cavalry, which resemble the creatures from Attack The Block, but at least that is a film in the dark, whereas this is in broad daylight on a large horizon! This is preposterous, and at one point we what looks like a high-angle shot but was probably a retrograde version of Rome: Total War, as we are shown about a hundred horses do a ninety-degree turn in the space of less than two seconds. Believe me, I counted, and the turn is botched too!

Aside from some good mise-en-scene, acting from F. Murray Abraham and Raz Degan, I have nothing more to say about Barbarossa: Siege Lord. If I ever speak to Rutger Hauer or interview him, I've got to ask him about this film, for the version I saw is woeful. I hated virtually everything about the film, which is no short affair at just over two hours long. It is drawn out, boring and seriously lacking in the things that make up a good film. Seeing as how I had this on DVD, it was the closest I ever got to pressing the stop button and just saying the overly dramatic "no!," a cliche which appears on more than one occasion in this film. With Renzo Martinelli having scribed, produced and directed this terrible film, he has a lot to answer for in the auteur work, and I mean that in the worst way possible. I hated Swinging With The Finkels, but Barbarossa: Siege Lord brings me down to the depths of my reviewing spectrum. I feel like Joseph from Tyrannosaur, and found myself wanting Peter Mullan to just show up, call them all cunts and knock two tons of shit out of them! See what I've done? I hate using the c-word, but that is how low this film brought me. Speaking of Peter Mullan, I bought Neds today, my favourite film of the year. To purge me of the sin of watching Barbarossa: Siege Lord, I'm watching Neds again. Go get it, 'tis well worth every penny, cent, whatever the hell kind of currency you use to pay for things. Barbarossa: Siege Lord? No, no, no!

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 0.8/10 (My first 'zero rating' in a couple of years!)

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Relaxed (considering the venom I injected into the review! Hey, I've got beer, crisps and Neds, and I'm not a bleeding thicky, I'm Billericay Dickie, and I'm doing, very well!)

P.S. I half-contemplated making a Wicker Man to burn this DVD in! More propagandist than Eisenstein, and clearly a poor attempt at harking back to the peplum's of 1950s, which weren't particularly good anyway! Oh, yes, I forgot, the 'masterwork' of the Emotional Heartstrings Orchestra sucked!

P.P.S. People crying for "freedom" was appropriated by this film from what other film? Hint: not Cry Freedom.

P.P.P.S. I'm going to stop now: I keep remembering bits of the film I hated!

P.P.P.P.S. Come now, let us never speak of this again!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Tyrannosaur

Directed by: Paddy Considine

Produced by: Diarmid Scrimshaw
Mark Herbert

Screenplay by: Paddy Considine

Starring: Peter Mullan
Olivia Colman
Eddie Marsan
Paul Popplewell

Cinematography by: Erik Wilson

Editing by: Pia Di Ciaula

Studio(s): Warp Films
Inflammable Films

Distributed by: Screen Gems (United States/Canada)
StudioCanal UK (United Kingdom)

Release date(s): January 21, 2011 (Sundance Film Festival, World Premiere)
October 7, 2011 (United Kingdom and Ireland)

Country: United Kingdom

Language: English

Budget: £750,000

Box office revenue: (Unavailable as of publication)

Hey gang, me again. As ever, I have updates on the film front. I have now seen Barbarossa: Siege Lord, which will be the subject for my next reviews. Also, when it comes to schedule, Never Let Me Go will be watched in the next day or two, on Friday I'll be making a trip to the Strand to see either Real Steel or Contagion and I'll try to get to see something in the Queen's Film Theatre over the weekend for either We Need To Talk About Kevin or The Ides Of March. I Saw The Devil will be reviewed next month, as will The Adjustment Bureau, as I managed to pick up a copy on Tuesday. Finally, this is old news I know, but just go and watch The Wrestler. I have a tear in my eye listening to the Bruce Springsteen title track, and it has reminded me that I need to get down to watching my Best Film of 2008 once again.

Right, so let's get down to unearthing Tyrannosaur. This is the feature directorial debut of Paddy Considine, one of the best working actors in film at this time. Having made his name in films with a gritty, vérité style working with directors such as Shane Meadows, Jim Sheridan and Paul Greengrass, it will comes as no surprise that his first film is of the same ilk. The film stars Peter Mullan, coming off a career high writing and directing the fantastic Neds, as Joseph, a violent-tempered alcoholic, who becomes friends with Hannah (Olivia Colman), a religious charity shop worker whose kindly exterior hides a secret in her life.

To start off with what is good, the acting must certainly be discussed. 2011 has been a great year for Peter Mullan, and his stellar performance in Tyrannosaur has only made it all the more so. Joseph is a man who struggles to control his violent temperament, and Mullan portrays him as a man whose very movements must be watched. Any little tic or flinch could be the sign of him about to snap, and Mullan's sustenance of these attributes ensure that Joseph's character is forever surrounded with a sense of tension, even in his quieter moments. He is a volcano that goes from one to eleven with the slightest provocation, a contradictory figure who reacts violently, even when he is in the wrong. Olivia Colman is fantastic in this film. Although Mullan gives a great performance, arguably, in many ways Colman has the tougher job. Near unrecognisable from Hot Fuzz, she embodies her character. You buy this person as someone who could exist in the real world, and that this character did indeed exist in the real world. The way in which she (and Considine's script) reveal this character, gradually peeling back layers, is very subtle and intelligent. Whenever her secrets come to the forefront, the complexity and expertise of her performance is unveiled. Also very good, though in a lesser, more supporting capacity than the leads is Eddie Marsan, who plays a character not unlike Joseph, possessing complex hypocritical tendencies. Marsan does this to the same level of credibility as the leads. The technical achievements of this film too must be flagged up. Erik Wilson's cinematography portrays Leeds in an interesting, almost otherworldly manner: the visuals bring to mind a near post-apocalyptic dystopian universe of dog-eat-dog mentality, with force and brutality being the rule of thumb. Although it does look suitably desolate (for which the location scouts should be credited), Wilson's camera gives the film a beauty that is reminiscent of what I described as the "savage grace" that came to mind with Peter Mullan's own Neds. Also, the film has some terrific sound design/editing. Filled with mostly diegetic sounds, this decision does not give the audience an opportunity to sit back and relax with a degree of detachment: we are in there with these characters, both witness and participant in this bitter earth. However, there is a wonderful moment in the film in which the music that is playing diegetically swells over on the soundtrack and plays non-diegetically. It's a fine bit of work that gives both the characters and the audience a sense of release, before being thrust back into the savagery that dominates the film. Decisions like this must be credited to Considine. I've always liked Considine from the first time I saw him onscreen in Dead Man's Shoes. That is a film that could have been a nuts-and-bolts exploitation film, and in some ways it is, but Considine (and Meadows) really elevate it to a level of great significance and inject believability and social realism into an otherwise unfathomable plot (that's not an insult, I love Dead Man's Shoes!). Here, his sensibilities towards the subtle, realistic and true to life lend themselves to Tyrannosaur, which could also have been an exploitation flick, but is in fact a powerful piece of drama. Tonally, particularly at the beginning, in which Joseph in a fit of rage kills his beloved dog, we are at rock bottom with him: Considine throws us into the depths of hell and asks us 'is it possible to escape a dead-end situation?' This sort of question is the kind every filmmaker should be asking the audience, and Considine, both as screenwriter and more so as director, should be credited for this.

Tyrannosaur is most certainly a great film. Nevertheless, there are problems that deny it from being the masterwork that it could have been. Although he does it well, Considine scribes this film in a manner that is nuts-and-bolts. It is unfortunate, but I can’t say that I haven’t seen this kind of subject matter done better in Gary Oldman’s Nil By Mouth. As such, having seen it done before, I’d expect the film to not be as predictable as it ends up being. Regardless of the flair with which the film is made, you can see from where the film begins the direction the plot will take you a mile off. Truly great drama should have you caught up in the moment, and not thinking about (and correctly guessing) what will follow in the next scene. For a film so vérité, it is disappointing to see these particular elements of contrivance, which take away from the overall effect of the film.

Aside from the extreme predictabilities in Considine’s occasionally problematic script, Tyrannosaur is a great film. It boasts superb lead performances from Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman, with a strong supporting performance from Eddie Marsan. Also, in the technical department, there is some fine cinematography by Erik Wilson and excellent sound design that integrates the audience into its savage setting. Finally, this film establishes Paddy Considine not only as a great actor, but a talent to be reckoned with as a writer-director.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 8.5/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Relaxed (feet up after a long day)

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Fast Five

Directed by: Justin Lin

Produced by: Neil H. Moritz
Vin Diesel
Michael Fottrell

Screenplay by: Chris Morgan

Based on: Characters created by Gary Scott Thompson

Starring: Vin Diesel
Paul Walker
Jordana Brewster
Dwayne Johnson

Music by: Brian Tyler

Cinematography by: Stephen F. Windon

Editing by: Kelly Matsumoto
Fred Raskin
Christian Wagner

Studio: Original Film
One Race Films

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Release date(s): April 20, 2011 (Australia)
April 21, 2011 (United Kingdom)
April 29, 2011 (United States)

Running time: 130 minutes

Country: United States

Language: English

Budget: $125 million

Box office revenue: $626, 137, 675

Heya folks, I said the reviews to be coming in regularly, I just didn't expect it to be a week before I got down to reviewing my next film. As scheduled, I did see Tyrannosaur, so a review for that will follow this one, as will definite reviews for Barbarossa: Siege Lord and Never Let Me Go. I Saw The Devil might be saved till next month, but I intend on seeing one (or all) of these films: Real Steel, Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark and Contagion, with room perhaps for another trip to the QFT to see We Need To Talk About Kevin. Incidentally, I watched Bela Tarr's Damnation last night, and was struck at how engrossed I was in Tarr's highly unconventional film stylistics. As a breather from contemporary cinema, I suggest you take a look.

Alright, so here we have the fifth film in The Fast and the Furious film series, Fast Five. To put things into context, I really liked the first film, released in 2001 for it's terrific action sequences and Vin Diesel, who I feel really should have went to do better things, particularly after 2002's xXx, a highly underrated action flick also directed by Rob Cohen. Flashforward eight years, with both Cohen and Diesel having had a string of critical and commercial flops, and we get Fast & Furious, the fourth film in the series, which was sold on the idea of reuniting the original cast. Now, Fast & Furious was a terrible film that in a different world would have been a parody of the original, so if I'm honest I wasn't looking forward to Fast Five. After being busted out of a prison van in a suitably ridiculous crash (at least a news report acknowledges the absurdity of no one being killed), Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and friend Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker), now fugitives on the run, escape to Rio de Janeiro, where they hide out with friend Vince (Matt Schulze), and end up doing a job stealing three cars on a train. However, after discovering the other participants are only interested in one car, Dom has Mia steal it. Now, with both the law, in the form of DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), and the criminal world, headed up by crime lord Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), the crew discover in the car a computer chip giving them details to Reyes' criminal empire, and decide to steal his personal vault, containing $100 million.

To start with what is good about the film, I must flag up the film's central concept. I may have missed numbers two and three, but judging from Fast & Furious the concept of guys and their cars was well-worn. It was a wise decision in the pre-production process to go with a heist film, as it makes Fast Five feel unique in this canon of films. This is the kind of refresher that the series really needed, and it pays off in the finished product. Speaking of refreshers, lets talk about Dwayne Johnson. Now, if I'm honest, the former Rock has had a bit of a mixed career in films, having some decent supporting/cameo roles in Get Smart and The Other Guys, but also being lead in the mediocre Tooth Fairy and the truly messy Richard Kelly regurgitation-presented-as-film Southland Tales. In Fast Five, he gets his best screen role to date in Luke Hobbs. From the moment that he enters the film, you know that once Hobbs is on the scene, shit is going to go down. Johnson's presence and charisma give the character a genuine sense of machismo that reminds you of the better work of Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Every time, Hobbs was in a scene, I got goosebumps, Johnson's pure intensity in the part fuels the testosterone-charged atmosphere that the film is getting at. Furthermore, because of Johnson's skill here, you buy him as a legitimate threat to Vin Diesel's Toretto, a character that in the series eye' could well be seen as invincible. Diesel too I must say is good in the film. It must be said though that he really shines in the face-off scenes between he and Johnson. Also, I must credit the film's technical aspects, particularly in relation to the action scenes. The production scouts have done a good job in finding good locations, and they are captured with a deft eye for strong images by Stephen F. Windon. Unlike Amir Mokri, who shot Fast & Furious, Windon actually lets you see what is going on, whilst maintaing a high level of intensity. This is important as the chase scenes in this film are the best I have since Inception last year. If there is one positive about the series as a whole, it's that they maintain a tradition of chase films that are a bit of a dying breed today. They have been expertly choreography by film's stunt team, each scene topping the other, the climactic chase easily up there with among the best chase' in film history. Trust me, they really are that good. Justin Lin directs these scenes as good as they were bad in Fast & Furious: this time, we can see what is going on, we can see who is driving what car, so that, amidst the madness and chaos, we do know what is happening. Finally, Fast Five is also a film that knows it's history, and is far more self-aware than previous instalments. Thankfully, as opposed to stupid breaking-of-the-fourth-wall or obscure little in-jokes, it does this in a fun manner that manages to engage its audience.

Fast Five was a real surprise to me in terms of just how much I liked it. However, there are a number of problems with the film. Let's start with the script. The central idea of 'heist film' is strong and refreshing, but there are a lot of issues here. For starters, there is some really woeful dialogue, especially when the movie starts to take itself a little too seriously. I liked some of the more tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted stuff in the film, but when the film shifts mode into 'there's something more this than (FILL IN BLANK),' it ends up being melodramatic in the worst ways possible. Also, at two hours and five minutes, with way too many twists and turns in the plot, it becomes unnecessarily convoluted, contrived and long. This film could have been cut by twenty-thirty minutes to even out the folds. While I praised Dwayne Johnson's presence in the film, has scene-stealing performance only highlights all the more the limits of Paul Walker's. Walker was very good in the original, and served as a great counteract to Vin Diesel. The way that Fast & Furious was written, being 'the return of Dom Toretto' and all, made Paul Walker second fiddle. Here, he's even less than second fiddle, and it means that one of the film's lead actors gives a performance that's like Keanu Reeves when he is on a very bad day (P.S. I do like Keanu). Diesel's role in the ensemble is the cool guy, Johnson's is the badass mofo, while Walker's is the boring guy. Finally, I do have a problem with Brian Tyler's score. He is becoming akin to Alesandre Desplat, in that he is a composer of skill who just continues to churn out boring, cliched nonsense. He did great scores to Frailty and Bubba Ho-tep, so why do I hear this cashed-in set of compositions every time he steps foot in the action film department. He needs to not follow the rulebook (even if it is his own) for a change, because it is exactly what you would expect. Look Brian, what's that, a villain? Ooh, we must have an instrumental cue that indicates that he is villainous. Eyes open Tyler, it's a scene of emotion, we must bring in strings and a piano, cause everyone knows from every other film they have ever seen that these instruments indicate emotion. Please Brian, give us a break!

This film contains a messy script. This film contains a poor performance from Paul Walker. This film contains a shoddy score. However, for all its problems, in a manner not unlike the Jason Statham film Blitz, Fast Five is a good movie. For a change, I can see where exactly a major blockbuster's budget has went. Some of the best car chases in recent memory are to be found in this film, directed well by Justin Lin. It also helps that the cinematography is done in such a manner that you do know what is going on and the camera is not just being shook to shit. Finally, in the context of what was a stagnant series, Fast Five is a real refresher. Transforming (eugh, hate what the word reminds me of!) the established series format in that of a heist film, and the addition of Dwayne Johnson to the main cast, who from reports on the upcoming sixth film is to return, ensure that there is still life yet in this series.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 6.3/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Glad (when I get to bed)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - [●REC]²

Directed by: Jaume Belaguero
Paco Plaza

Produced by: Julio Fernandez
Carlos Fernandez

Screenplay by: Jaume Belaguero
Paco Plaza

Starring: Jonathan Mellor
Oscar Sanchez Zafra
Ariel Casas
Alejandro Casaseca
Pablo Rosso
Pep Molina
Andrea Ros
Alis Batllori
Pau Poch
Juli Fabregas
Nico Baixas
Javier Botet
Carlos Ollala

Cinematography by: Pablo Rosso

Editing by: Xavi Gimenez

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Release date(s): October 2, 2009 (Spain, theatrical release)
February 27, 2010 (Frightfest, festival)
May 28, 2010 (United Kingdom, theatrical release)

Running time: 85 minutes

Country: Spain

Language: Spanish

Budget: €4, 500,000 (estimated)

Box office revenue: $18, 497, 446

It's amazing what a little bit of cut-and-paste will do: thanks to this function, I do not have to writhe every time I look at the bolderised version of the film's title (REC 2, for the last time). Anywho, I've been keeping up with the films. Fast Five will be my next review, and shall be followed by Tyrannosaur. There will be more, but I have also been doing some research and there are a few films in particular I am looking forward to. I've probably already mentioned 13 Assassins, the latest Takashi Miike film, which is released by the ever-reliable Artificial Eye in the UK, but I would like to flag up a future release by the distributor, The Turin Horse. This is the new film by Bela Tarr, most famous for his extreme long-takes and the film Werckmeister Harmoniak, that depicts the events surrounding Friedrich Nietzsche's mental breakdown as a result of witnessing the flogging of a horse. Personally I've always thought that this story would have made a great film, so it is with pleasure that it has finally been made. Also, I'm really looking forward to Glenn Close' adaptation of George Moore's Albert Nobbs. Having played the character on stage and trying to turn it into a film for nearly thirty years, I hope that Close' labour of love pays off.

So, the next film I will be reviewing is [●REC]² (thank you, trusty cut-and-paste). Just to put this into context, the reason I am reviewing this now two-year-old film is because it was only released in the UK in 2010 and I have only found a DVD copy this year. Sometimes, in the case of foreign-language films, they can be out for a number of years before they get a theatrical or even DVD release, such as Hayao Miyazaki's films. Anyway, this is the sequel to [●REC], a good horror film that was amongst the wave of 2007's shaky camerawork horror films, the best of which was Matt Reeves' Cloverfield. Taking place in the minutes after the events of the first film, Dr. Owen (Jonathan Mellor) enters the apartment block in which the first film is set with a GEO team with the intent being to contain the situation. However, things begin to reveal their true nature, and alongside the horror of the infected people, there is the mystery of what is really going on and who's pulling the strings.

Much of what is good about the first [●REC] film is carried over to the sequel. Pablo Rosso returns as the film's director of photography, and his touch on the camera is certainly contributory to what works about this film. The shaky cam deal has always been problematic, as a lot of action filmmakers seem to have got the idea that after Paul Greengrass' innovations in his films we must up that and shake the camera to shit. Rosso shows some great restraint, focusing on certain images that unnerve and disturb, while managing to maintain a strong, consistent sense of intensity. In light of those who misuse the technique Roger Ebert has labelled "La Shakily Queasy-Cam," Rosso's work excels. Also, unlike much of mainstream horror cinema, which tends to water down the 'terror of horror,' [●REC]², like its predecessor, does not pull any punches on the nastiness. This is a big fat red eighteen for a reason, so do not let children anywhere near it. Also, the first half of the film is strong, undiluted horror cinema. Everything is gradually revealed in a slow manner that gives us an answer, but then changes the questions, to paraphrase Rowdy Roddy Piper. This is of importance particularly in relation to Dr. Owen, whose secretive nature is portrayed very well by Jonathan Mellor. Finally, at around ninety minutes, this is a watchable horror film that is stripped down to efficiency and is rid of a lot of excess flab.

There was much I liked about [●REC]², though frankly there was as much wrong with it as there was right. The main problem, as with most films, is fundamentally due to the script. As I mentioned, the first half of the film is strong and undiluted horror cinema. The same cannot be said of the second half. At the half-way point (no spoilers, don't worry), there is a certain 'change' if you will in the proceedings of the film. Here, the film loses it's central focus, and from then on it comes across as a rushed mess with any little excuse just to bring the film to it's foregone conclusion, cause 'hey, we've got sequels to think about.' These problems that involve the script's structure also screw with the editing: a dramatic change becomes rather deflating and anticlimactic, as opposed to the breath of fresh air it is meant to be. Xavi Gimenez' editing as a result seems as mangled and as rushed as the script. Unlike the first film, which was a controlled, if cliched work, this film exhibits a real lack of control from returning directors Jaume Belaguero and Paco Plaza, who I worry may become the next Takashi Shimizu with regards to their future plans with the [●REC] concept/series. What started off as a very good film ended up by its climax to be rushed and dare I say rather boring.

[●REC]² is one of those cases where it we are led into thinking that this is going to be a much better film than it turns out. It is undiluted horror with a strong visual style from Pablo Rosso that, even with cliches, is filled with a sense of dread and unease. Jonathan Mellor is a good anchor for the central story and also there is present some interesting content surrounding the whole story. However, the script is structurally a fundamental mess, with half of the film seeming rushed, an issue that extends over to the film's editing. The only word that came to mind during the 'change' was "wrong!" Finally, what was bold and daring about the original [●REC] is starting to get old, all the more considering the director's are no longer exhibiting the control they had over their work. Takashi Shimizu did the same and made six different versions of Ju-On in as many years. Even if this is a step above the standard of horror we have been brought to expect, Balaguero and Plaza need to get on to making new stories.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 5.5/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Energised (all that serotonin from the gym, doubt it'll last long!)

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Johnny English Reborn

Directed by: Oliver Parker

Produced by: Tim Bevan
Eric Fellner

Screenplay by: William Davies
Hamish McColl

Starring: Rowan Atkinson
Gillian Anderson
Rosamund Pike
Dominic West
Daniel Kaluuya
Richard Schif
Tim McKinnery

Music by: Ilan Ishkeri

Cinematography by: Danny Cohen

Editing by: Guy Bensley

Studio(s): StudioCanal
Relativity Media
Working Title Films

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Release date(s): October 7, 2011 (United Kingdom/International)
October 21, 2011 (North America)

Running time: 101 minutes

Country(s): United Kingdom

Language: English

Box office (as of publication): $85, 100,000

Once again, I have been slack. However, not withstanding the university work and having spent my weekend taking my Scout troop to Ardnavalley, I do have a number of updates coming in for movies. If I can schedule things right (which I should be able to), I can get at least four reviews done this week, and can guarantee (and I mean guarantee) in the upcoming weeks reviews for REC 2 (I know, it was out in the UK in 2010, but this was the earliest I could get it), Fast Five, Never Let Me Go, Tyrannosaur and Barbarossa: Siege Lord, which was released on DVD this year. There is the potential for me to watch I Saw The Devil and a few others, so keep your eyes posted. On another note, I saw my first Charlie Chaplin film in City Lights last week and was spellbound. It was significantly funnier than most of the comedies I have seen in recent years, and also packs a strong emotional punch of pathos that conjured the kind of emotion that one rarely feels but recognises when they know they have seen a good film.

In a film not unlike the slapstick that of Chaplin, Rowan Atkinson returns in one of his most-loved roles, that of Johnny English. The character began as 'Richard Latham' in a series of Barclaycard advertisements, and due to their popularity, evolved into a 2003 film which earned over $160 million worldwide, and became arguably Atkinson's most well-known character excepting Mr. Bean. In this film, Johnny English (Atkinson) is found learning martial arts and self-control in Tibet as penance for the outcome of a disastrous earlier mission. MI7 identifies him as the best possible agent for a new mission, much to the chagrin of MI7's 'Pegasus' (Gillian Anderson). His task involves curtailing a group of international assassins from killing the Chinese premier and upsetting international politics/relations for the British government.

To start with what is good, we must focus on Atkinson. This film could not be more so a vehicle for him than it is, so it is a treat to see that he is on form. One of the greatest living comedians, Atkinson takes real care in constructing his characters, with all their tics and eccentricities, every little movement associated and of relevance to the character. He is always a pleasure to behold onscreen, no matter what the context. Also praiseworthy about this film is the mise-en-scene. Like the James Bond film's that it parodies, J.E.R. is an international affair, with some great location scouting having been done. When not looking at some grand scenery, the production designers have provided us with some well-made interior sets. Furthermore, the costumes add to what is most certainly a believable film-world. Finally, there are a few good gags that involve Tim McKinnery, mistaken identity(s) and a helicopter.

While Rowan Atkinson in anything is usually a warm welcome, it's the meal behind the glossy presentation that one judges a film by. In this case, the meal gets stale rather quick, thanks in most part to a barely digestible script. Atkinson may be a terrific comedian, but there is only so much anyone can do with this stuff. The actors (and the audience) are subjected to some terrible bits of dialogue that couldn't be any more overt in the meanings they are trying to get across. Rosamund Pike, Daniel Kaluuya and Dominic West suffer the most, and as a result give some wooden and lifeless performances. Also, there is an intense amount of predictability in the film, to the point where if you get a plot 'point' right once, you can guess the whole film from there. Even those who I have praised recently do not escape the firing line: Ilan Eshkeri, who after doing a great score for Blitz, has pulled a swerve not unlike Michael Giacchino earlier in the year, and paged in a score that is so dull and so lacking in life that reeks of a smell I can only identify as "Not Funny!" Speaking of stenches, the film's synchronisation of cinematography and editing in the case of the action scenes and special effects is pretty dire. For a movie that was clearly over $50 million budget-wise, it does itself no good that some of the scenes that are obviously (which they shouldn't be) green-screen had me thinking of some of the shots of Marlon Brando riding his motorcycle in 1954's The Wild One. Work of this quality, or lack thereof, is like something I see on SciFi at two in the morning from The Asylum. My final criticism is of director Oliver Parker. Regardless of how well things may have went on set, he has directed a cluster-fuck of a film that also happens to be very boring. He should have been able to identify some of the film's pitfalls and at least improve Johnny English Reborn to a certain extent, as opposed to leaving it in this rather castrated form.

It is a shame that Johnny English Reborn is as bad as it is. Though not quite in the level of Zookeeper and Swinging With The Finkels for bad comedy, this film has a rubbish script, bad score, and poor synchronisation of cinematography and editing/special-effects that really should have been noticed by director Oliver Parker. He should thank the great production designer(s), costume designer(s), location scouts and Rowan Atkinson for keeping this from being one of the worst film's of the year. However, being in that purgatory zone, Johnny English Reborn ends up being a forgettable film that has already faded a good bit from my memory. Rowan, I hope you got a good paycheque!

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 4.3/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Jakked! (For a change, I'm ready to take on the world!)

P.S. Had to pick that picture: Rowan Atkinson pulling faces can't help but bring out a laugh!

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Thin White Dude's Movie Of The Month: September 2011 - Neds

An extraordinarily powerful film of savage grace. Peter Mullan's highly personal film has the feel of someone who wishes to portray this subculture with great care. Mullan does so, and directs his own script with terrific energy that is reflected in the amazing lead performance by the debuting Conor McCarron. Along with fine cinematography/lighting by Roman Osin and music by Craig Armstrong, all these elements combine to make a film akin to This Is England and Scum, and currently stands as my film of the year.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 9.3/10

Runner-Up: Rango - Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp shock with this great surreal, wacky and pure bonkers animated comedy

Avoid Like The Plague: Killer Elite - A really bad action flick that tries too hard to be something it isn't

Second-Most Deadly Disease: One Day - Nuts-and-bolts, overly cliched romance that is predictable at every turn

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Blitz

Directed by: Elliot Lester

Produced by: Steve Chasman
Zygi Kamasa
Samuel Hadiba

Based on: Blitz by Ken Bruen

Screenplay: Nathan Parker

Starring: Jason Statham
Paddy Considine
Aidan Gillen
David Morrissey
Zawe Ashton

Music by: Ilan Eshkeri

Studio(s): Lions Gate Entertainment
Davis Films

Distributed by: Lionsgate UK

Release date(s): May 20, 2011 (United Kingdom)
August 23, 2011 (United States DVD Premiere)

Running time: 97 minutes

Country: United Kingdom

Language: English

Hey folks, 'tis I, The Thin White Dude (well, you'd expect it to be, unless some troll is going round masquerading as me)! Over the next week, I expect to be getting reviews for at least three new films in. As this is the last film for the month of September, it will be followed by a review of September. For October, I can guarantee a review to come in for Never Let Me Go, the adaptation of Kazuo Ishigiro's novel by Mark Romanek, and I won't guarantee any others in particular, as all are subject to change, but I would like to see Tyrannosaur and Johnny English Reborn. I've missed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Drive, but no doubt I'll get down to them at some point.

And here we have the second-part of our Jason Statham double-bill Blitz. A much smaller affair than Killer Elite, Blitz is a crime thriller in which The Stath plays hard-boiled cop Tom Brant, who despite an excellent track record is surrounded by notoriety and controversy for his often brutish tactics. This is the cause for some tension when straight-laced Sgt Porter Nash (Paddy Considine) is chosen to head up an investigation involving serial cop-killer Barry Weiss (Aidan Gillen), who is going by the nickname of 'Blitz.'

In many ways, Blitz is a strong film. Jason Statham delivers the kind of role that he does best, a sort of cross between Hard Boiled's Tequila and Harvey Keitel's Bad Lieutenant. Brant is not a nice guy, makes no qualms about it, but gets the job done. Statham portrays this single-mindedness with virtuosos and most importantly charisma. He isn't just an ill-tempered grump: thanks to Statham, he's a watchable ill-tempered grump. Also very good is Aidan Gillen, who makes the most out of what is an unquestionably simplistic part and injects it with a great degree of credibility. Out of the main cast however, the best is definitely Paddy Considine. Proving once again his unique ability to be able to slither into the shoes of every part he plays, he provides Blitz the three-dimensional and well-rounded side of things that film needs. It is interesting in that it heavily implied that his character is homosexual, and it is amazing to watch Considine take us all by surprise once again by giving us a police officer who is not shouting or ill-tempered, yet possesses a true inner strength. He and Statham bounce off one another very well, and elevate this from it's more genre/exploitation film roots. In comparison to Killer Elite, Blitz is a great example of less is more: it doesn't pretend to anything more than a genre film, but in doing so, puts itself in a more credible status than Killer Elite. Elliot Lester handles it in a manner of great efficiency, taking Nathan Parker's script and delivering a nuts-and-bolts, yet highly watchable crime thriller. The tone Lester takes with the film is wise, and there is a real nasty, grimy feel to the film not dissimilar to Michael Winner's Death Wish. It exudes this dirty kind of smell of whisky and fags, and frankly this really makes the movie. Speaking of grime, Ilan Eshkeri's original score is strong, as is additional soundtrack work from bands such as The Qemists, who all help contribute to the edginess that a film like Blitz really needs. Without this soundtrack, Blitz could have been a lot more boring, so it was refreshing to a bit of drum and bass in the form of Stombox in what could have been really dreary.

So yes, there you go, as I said, there is a lot that I liked about Blitz. However, there are also certain issues with Blitz that stop it from being the great film it really could have been. For starters, the script is in a number of ways a double-edged sword, for it's own strengths also turn out to be it's own weaknesses. Blitz will never be remembered as anything more than a good exploitation flick. Also, despite handling itself with efficiency, the movie felt at least a good twenty minutes longer than it was. For a ninety-minute film to feel as long as this, that isn't a good thing at all. Furthermore, the film is written in such a way that suggests it's attempts to tick all boxes in a marketing manner. Foot chase, check, killer does this, check, killer does that, check, all vaguely corrupt characters always get their comeuppances, check check. As a movie that has a strong jagged edge, it feels rather cheap to be structuring your film around these check-boxes. The ending too is a complete cop-out, feeling rather rushed and pasted on to a film that otherwise moves very well.

Despite it's obvious problems and inefficiencies that come with the film's double-edged sword of a script, Blitz is well worth a rental for the night in. The three main characters, particularly Paddy Considine, are on fine form, the film moves with efficiency backed up by a good soundtrack of drum and bass, and exudes a genuinely nasty exploitation film feel without trying to be anything more than it is.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 6.6/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Irritated (by runny nose!)

P.S. If you David Morrissey in your film, use him more!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Killer Elite

Directed by: Gary McKendry

Produced by: Michael Boughen
Tony Winley
Steve Chasman
Sigurjon Sighvatsson

Screenplay by: Matt Sherring

Based on: The Feather Men by Ranulph Fiennes

Starring: Jason Statham
Clive Owen
Yvonne Strahovski
Domonic Purcell
Robert De Niro

Music by: Johnny Klimek
Reinhold Heil

Cinematography by: Simon Duggan

Editing by: John Gulbert

Studio(s): Ambience Entertainment
Palomar Pictures
Omnilab Media

Distributed by: Open Road Films

Release date: September 23, 2011

Running time: 116 minutes

Country(s): United States

Language: English

Budget: $66-$70 million

Box office revenue (as of publication): $22, 239, 000

Hey dogs (I'm being all ghetto listening to Montel Vontavious Porter's new song Holla To The World), sup? Yes, I'll stop it. Anyway, this is the first of the Jason Statham double-bill. The Stathe is a busy man, and I'll be following this with a review for Blitz, a film he released earlier in the year. Both of these films, as I saw them in September, will be included for review as film's of this month, which will in turn follow from my later review of Blitz. Keep your eyes posted, it's a new month of film, and I'm going to be busy!

Well, as mentioned, here we are with the first of The Stathe Double-Bill, Killer Elite. As expected with a title like Killer Elite, we follow Danny Bryce (Jason Statham), a hitman who after retires after killing a man in front of his son, begrudgingly takes on one last job as his friend Hunter (Robert De Niro) has been kidnapped due to failing fails his previous hit, which Danny has been employed to take or else Hunter will be executed. The hit involves taking out a number of seriously hard S.A.S. men, one of whom (Spike Logan, played by Clive Owen) investigates the situation on behalf of The Feathermen, an organisation of former S.A.S. men dedicated to protecting their own. Purportedly, this is 'based on a true story,' the basis for which made up the central ideas of Ranulph Fiennes' book The Feather Men.

To start with what is good about Killer Elite, I must highlight the three central performances. None of them are what you would necessarily say are great performances, but they are good. Jason Statham is always a strong screen presence, and is one of the very few guys who play the 'hard man' role today that you legitimately buy as a hard man character. Even Bob De Niro, who has of late been cashing it in, does a decent job as the older mentor figure, and looks pretty badass carrying a Carbine. Saying that, I would like to see De Niro try again, the last proper good role I saw him in was Righteous Kill, an underrated film I think was shat on because it wasn't Heat. Clive Owen is very good here in a refreshingly entertaining villainous role as the intimidating Spike Logan. Whenever you have a movie of this type, which frankly just goes through the motions, it becomes that much more bearable whenever you leads of this quality to anchor the film. Finally, I must praise the production designers and location scouts. Killer Elite's mise-en-scene is that of $100 million plus film, and as such it is praiseworthy when your film's shooting locations look significantly more expensive than they are.

Perhaps I gave away the general tone of the review already, it probably reflects in the language I'm using, but I found Killer Elite a very, very boring and dull film. Gary McKendry is a director who has potential, but it is clear that he is a gun for hire here. Matt Sherring's script has to be one of the most base, simplistic and unimaginative in recent memory. For starters, the film is built as essentially a Jason Statham vehicle. Then, sure enough we have a little backstory arc going on for the Stath shown in flashback that is pretty piss poor (why does he always have flashbacks on planes?). Worst of all, in case we still thought it was a nuts-and-bolts action movie, we get a socio-political conspiracy going on that climaxes with one of the worst attempts at an autobiographical/self-referential plot point regarding the text upon which the film is based in film history. Excuse the Jamesian sentence! As Bryan Alvarez would say with regards to a bad wrestling match, this script is "minus-five stars!" Then, of course, what would a film like this be without a bad imitation of the DV Paul Greengrass action-film style. All of the action scenes are shot and edited around the idea of how much can we shake this camera? I've seen J.J. Abrams do this on the Star Trek DVD, don't think I don't know you are merely having a Christian Bale-esque freakout on the camera equipment? Don't worry, it's ok, rage and destruction is therapeutic, and at least you're getting a good movie out of it. Scratch that last one, but it does seem like they let Vinnie Jones do some guest cinematography and manhandle the cameras as though Ross Kemp has claimed he's a harder man again (in-joke for the Gervais-Merchant fans) and let Heath Ledger's The Joker ran rampant in the editing suite. To top it off, we have another appearance by the omnipresent EHO (Emotional Heartstrings Orchestra), this time by way of Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil. Like the rest of the film, the score represents unoriginal uniform consistency in mediocrity. Things get loud and things band during the action sequences, and this time, instead of the usual strings those guilty of EHO, we have the solo piano playing very minimalist. I was listening to bits of the score to refresh myself and get a feel for the film, but I got bored and thought fuck it, I'm listening to the Rango soundtrack. No film score, or film, should make their audience bored: their audience should engaged with the film. Despite having a full house to myself in The Strand (which also means I have supreme authority/monopoly of opinion on this one) with no distractions, I was bored to tears by Killer Elite. It didn't help that listed the film as being twenty minutes shorter than it was, so I committed a cardinal sin and answered the phone when my mother rang me. It's that boring.

Killer Elite is a shame of a film. Despite the star power of credible leads Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro, it is a really boring film. 'Boasting' one of the worst scripts in recent memory, being both a terribly shot and edited film and a nuts-and-bolts score, the overall picture that you end up getting is a bad action flick trying to be something it isn't and really failing in nearly every department possible.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 2.7/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Glad (buoyed by the thought I never have to address this film again, listening to the Rango soundtrack and about to start a movie I don't have to review)

Toodles M'Fers!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Friends With Benefits

Directed by: Will Gluck

Produced by: Liz Glotzer
Martin Shafer
Will Gluck
Jerry Zucker
Janet Zucker

Screenplay by: Keith Merryman
David A. Newman
Will Gluck
Harley Peyton

Starring: Justin Timberlake
Mila Kunis
Patricia Clarkson
Jenna Elfman
Bryan Greenberg
Richard Jenkins
Woody Harrelson

Music by: Halli Cauthery

Cinematography by: Michael Grady

Editing by: Tia Nolan

Studio: Castle Rock Entertainment

Distributed by: Screen Gems

Release date(s): July 22, 2011 (United States)
September 9, 2011 (United Kingdom)

Running time: 109 minutes

Country: United States

Language: English

Budget: $35 million

Box office revenue (as of publication): $111, 402, 754

As mentioned in my previous post (lord knows why I feel I should mention it again), despite this being October, I have seen this film and Killer Elite in September, and I will be including a review of Blitz for the previous month and following this with a review of the month. Also, last night I finished the first series of Sleeper Cell, a Showtime production I would really recommend having look at. More reviews will be posted in the upcoming few weeks, so keep your eyes posted.

So, another week goes and another comedy comes (no pun intended). Friends With Benefits is the latest in a sub-genre of romantic/sex comedy that depicts a no-strings-attached relationship. Dylan (Justin Timberlake) works as an art director for an internet company in L.A., a job that he leaves when he is offered a position for GQ. Dylan and Jamie (Mila Kunis), the Executive Recruiter who was saddled with the task of trying to get Dylan to accept the job, become friends and during conversation end up on the topic of sex. Sure enough, they end up deciding to have sex, hence the film's title. Despite their dedication to, indeed, a lack of dedication to one another, lo and behold, tensions rise and things get a bit more complicated than they intended.

To start off with what is good about the film, I must flag up the performances. In a rom-com, it is of great importance that the central two characters must have a chemistry that is portrayed by two actors who fit their respective roles. Like One Day, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are matched together well. As an actor, I always find Timberlake to be very underrated, and he exudes charisma in the kind of part that could have ended up being annoying folly. However, it must be said that Mila Kunis steals the show. After her wonderful turn in Black Swan, Kunis is on a role, and she delivers the kind of comedic performance that puts her in the same company as Julia Roberts. She portrays Jamie with a complexity that, if I am frank, is not befitting of the overall film itself. Able to change tones multiple times during the course of the scene, Kunis nails the part. The past couple of years have been good to Mila Kunis, and her role in Friends With Benefits is no exception. Also, very good are Woody Harrelson (as ever, on top form as the wildly homosexual Tommy) and Patricia Clarkson (who also starred in One Day) as Jamie's mother. It is clear too that Will Gluck knows how to direct a comedy. This is efficient work that does the job that it is meant to, a Gluck handles it well. Also, the dialogue in the script (which is very good for the first half of the film) is very witty and with the stars involved, it did provide yours truly with a number of laughs.

While I certainly found this a funny film, there are also a number of problems. As mentioned, the script has a good first half, but structurally the second half is a real mess. I don't know how to explain myself adequately without plot spoilers but I will try my best. The whole catch of Friends With Benefits is the no-strings-attached relationship, and continues down that line until a certain point where they seem to decide that the concept has been milked for all it's worth and really clip on a nuts-and-bolts second half. Oddly enough, I couldn't help but think of Videodrome when the direction the film took ended up going the same way as the film's that the characters were taking the piss out of earlier. It is ends up being really perversely postmodern in all the wrong ways, wrapped in a pink ribbon of kitsch and cliche. This is due to the fault of the film's script, and I cannot say that the music by Halli Cauthery helps the matter. For starters, it begins as a kind of sassy, hip type of film, and then by the second half we have what I call the Emotional Heartstrings Orchestra exuding all the wattage of music that says 'this is how we must feel.' These elements really reduced what could have been a great film.

Despite some serious issues in the latter half of the film's script (and as a result, the film) and a dull, murder-by-numbers score from Halli Cauthery, Friends With Benefits is a good film. Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis both deliver good performances in the leads, and are backed up by Woody Harrelson and Patricia Clarkson. The dialogue is sharp, witty and very humorous, and it is obvious Will Gluck knows how to direct a comedy.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 6.2/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Rushing (as usual)