Saturday, 20 November 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Tagline: Kick Some Past
Cusack Plays: Adam, recently dumped 40-something

So I made it. 50+ Cusack films, done and dusted. And pretty much exactly within a year. Woop.

A fun note to finish on with a time travelling hot tub comedy. 3 friends, plus Cusack's nephew, depressed with their lives in 2010 go on a holiday to re-live the fun ski-trips of their youth. A drunken night where they all pile into the hot tub, a Russian energy drink spilled on the controls, and they're back in 1986.

I was pretty excited when I learned of the existence of this film, and regularly checked for updated trailers. The moment I saw Craig Robinson say "Must be some kind of hot tub time machine" and stare into the camera, I was sold. The 1980s is ripe for mocking and the laugh ratio is pretty high, and although there is some room for improvement I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. If there is a straight guy/everyman it's probably Cusack (what a surprise) and the characters played by Craig Robinson and Rob Corddy get most of the laughs. It manages to be quite crude, and yet rather feelgood come the end.

Hot Tub Time Machine has high re-watch factor in my opinion - perhaps it will be coming along on my ski holiday next month...

Still to come....reflections on the Challenge...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

2012 (2009)

Tagline: We were warned
Cusack plays: Writer/Limo Driver Jackson Curtis (50 Cent's real name backwards!)

2012 - the year the world will end, some say, according to the Mayan calendar. Perfect disaster film fodder. And they really go for it in tearing the world to bits, although I remember the special effects looking a lot better on the cinema screen that watching at home. Its also the film where John Cusack gets to save (some of) humanity, as a failed writer working as a limo driver for a Russian billionaire and his beastly fat children. A chance encounter with crazy conspiracy theorist Woody Harrelson, means he realises whats going down and grabs the family and a plane to get the hell out of dodge.

There are good bits - the epic distruction! - and it functions pretty well as an action film. But there are also bad bits - distractions like a blonde bimbo and her dog and two old guys on a cruise ship. We also get the fabulous line from a pilot: "Come on baby, lift your pretty ass for Sasha!".

And becuase JC likes to revist roles, this is his second time playing a limo driver in a film with Amanda Peet (Identity) and at least his third time playing a writer. Obviously he gets soaking wet, what with the world as we know it ending.

Did you know? This film is appararently banned in North Korea as 2012 is the year designated by the Government for the nation to become a superpower.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Igor (2008)

Tagline: All men are not created Evil.
Cusack plays: The voice of Igor

In this second of two animated outings the voice of Cusack is the hunchbacked lab assistant to an evil scientist with ambitions of his own. When his master dies this Igor (the generic name for them) seizes the chance to enter the annual Evil Science Fair with a fabulous invention.

It's an enthusiastic vocal performace and the plot and script has enough appeal for both a 27 year old and someone 20 years younger (or is it a little too dark for a 7 year old?). Dr Schadenfraude, the kingdom of Malaria...there are some laughs to be had, although its a bit Tim Burton-lite.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

War Inc (2008)

Tagline: When it comes to war...America means business
Cusack Plays: Brand Hauser

There are some links to Grosse Point Blank in War Inc - Joan Cusack and Dan Aykroyd appearing alonside Cusack's suited killer for hire. Thats really where the similarities end, and the former, fabulous film shouldn't really be mentioned in the same breath as this.

A political satire which sees a Middle Eastern country run by private American corporations, with Cusack brought in to kill a big wig in the oil industry. His cover is as a producer of a trade show featuring the wedding of pop star Hilary Duff. Brand Hauser also has a penchant for drinking hot sauce, and a troubled past, including a dead wife. At this rate I should create a tag for that...

Now I find the privatisation of war an interesting topic, but sadly it did not make for an entertaining and engaging film. Disappointing.