In The Loop (2009)

Rating 15

Length 1Hr 46

Release 17.4.2009

Director Armando Iannucci

About During an interview, British Cabinet Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) delivers an off-the-cuff remark that war in the Middle East is “unforeseeable.” Profane political spin doctor Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) tries to cover up Foster’s faux pas, but the ill-conceived comment is picked up by a warmongering American official. Foster is invited to Washington, D.C., where a war of words brews as politicians maneuver, manipulate and deceive each other before a U.N. vote on military action.


The Good

  • I like that you don’t need to have seen The Thick of It to watch this film. I’m certain there’s value added for fans, but I certainly didn’t feel lost. Well, no more lost than I ended up being with this car crash of a film.
  • There are some amazing lines in this film. Yes, I’m childish, those lines do mostly involve swearing. From losing count of the amount of fuck’s Capaldi uses to his wonderful ‘fuckerty bye’ I was giggling.
  • Tom Hollander steals the show for me. He’s the satirical incompetent stereoptype who seems to have slept walked into office. He’s genius and the film would have been greatly improved had we have had him as our sole focus for the film.

The Bad

  • It’s plot is a mess. A hot fucking mess. We’re here, we’re there. It’s just shit! To quote the film its ‘arse spraying mayhem.’
  • Party of the problem perhaps was the attempt to ‘appeal’ to an American audience. I don’t know what it is about the media industry, but Dr Who should have taught the BBC that ‘making it more American’ is not the way to do it.

The Ugly

  • The biggest problem for me is the nature of it being largely an improvised comedy. It’s humour feels stunted and rather hit and miss. Yes, there’s some amazing lines that do raise a chuckle. However they’re very few and far between.
  • The handheld camera approach just fucks me off. Especially when you consider that this isn’t presented as a documentary. At no point do any of the characters acknowledge the cameras. Which begs the question, why the fuck bother invoking headaches?!

Final Thoughts

It was just a bit of a clusterfuck if I’m honest. I’d love to say the removal of the handheld would have improved things, but I doubt it. All in all, I’d have rather have watched Capaldi saying ‘fuckerty bye’ repeatedly for 2 hours than this.

Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Rating 15

Length 2hr

Release 15.11.2002

Director Michael Moore

About Political documentary filmmaker Michael Moore explores the circumstances that lead to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and, more broadly, the proliferation of guns and the high homicide rate in America. In his trademark provocative fashion, Moore accosts Kmart corporate employees and pleads with them to stop selling bullets, investigates why Canada doesn’t have the same excessive rate of gun violence and questions actor Charlton Heston on his support of the National Rifle Association.


The Good

  • Well made and informative. It’s journalism in its truest form and pulls no punches. To that extent it certainly has a level of fair representation and at no point does Moore address the audience and give his opinion. Now, while it might be implied that he is anti-gun, its not said outright and I don’t feel like I’m having someone else’s opinion shoved down my throat. It gives you the freedom to make up your own mind.
  • The film looks at as many root causes to American violence and gun culture. The film looks at the social history, the political history and the culture of fear.

The Bad

  • I felt uncomfortable with some of the emotional manipulation of Columbine survivors, in particularly in regards to them arriving unannounced at a K-Mary head quarters. I believe it’s right to hold them accountable and the survivors have a right to be heard, but it feels a little exploitative to do it for a film.
  • Again, with Charlton Heston, I felt very uncomfortable with everything that is seen to happen after the interview is stopped. Again, he was an absolute knob. Holding a gun convention in a town days after a massacre is thoughtless and insensitive. To do it twice and, both times, refuse to relocate is barbaric. However, I did struggle with watching Moore follow him after leaving.
  • I found the run time a little too long to be affective when the narrative flow doesn’t feel as smooth as other documentary films out there.

The Ugly

  • How is it that the Columbine massacre was 20 years ago, yet there has been no governmental effort or change to ensure public places are safe for citizens? This event and Moore’s film should have been enough to legislate gun control.
  • The film was bold, it was brave and it made people think. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought it would make a difference, so to watch it now it stirs up too much bitterness, too much frustration.

Final Thoughts

Irrespective of its flaws, this is a film that everyone needs to see. Not only that, I somewhat think its time for an updated follow up that looks into the rise of these incidents and the blind ignorance of the US and their flawed logic that guns are okay, but the kinder egg is dangerous enough to be illegal.

Dave (1993)

Rating 12

Length 1Hr 50

Release 5.11.1993

Director Ivan Reitman

About Shifty White House chief of staff Bob Alexander (Frank Langella) hatches a scheme to use a double for the president (Kevin Kline) at a public photo opportunity. Small business owner Dave Kovic (Kline) fits the bill, but after the president suffers a debilitating stroke, opportunist Alexander arranges for Dave to step in full time without even informing the First Lady (Sigourney Weaver). It doesn’t take long before the press, the nation and the president’s wife realize something is different.


The Good

  • What a cast. Frank Langella, Ben Kingsley and Ving Rhames all play supporting roles, but its Kevin Dunn’s appearance that caught me off guard. It’s not like he’s been off our screens in the last few years, but I did forget about his presence in the 90s. Here he plays an almost moral compass that’s lost its way.
  • I love the relationship between Kevin Kline’s Dave and Ving Rhames’ Duane. Watching Dave melt the frosty persona is a delight and much more charming than the relationship of Dave and the First Lady.
  • It is a romantic comedy, but I like that the comedy is fluffy and not too over the top. It’s harmless and doesn’t derive it’s humour from taking shots at other people.
  • I do like the idea of looking at the presidency through the eyes of someone who has no political ambition.

The Bad

  • The politics is a little soft and doesn’t provide anything other than a backdrop and landscape for the story to unfold. It’s a riff on Prince and the Pauper or Man in the Iron Mask, but it does little else.
  • I do feel as if we didn’t spend enough time with Kline as Bill Mitchell. Yes, we see enough to know he’s someone who cheats and we are given additional information throughout the film from other people, but I really would have liked one more scene.

The Ugly

  • There’s a few time when the film using the method of speeding the film up to give us humour. It’s seen in many other films, including Romeo + Juliet and it’s just something I truly dislike. It calls attention to it and pulls me out of the story.
  • While I love Kevin Kline on the most part, there’s always something he does that has me cringing in my seat. Perhaps a sign of a good actor that he can throw himself all in, however I don’t like to cringe and this is perhaps, outside of Wild Wild West, the worst for it. I didn’t need the rendition of The Sun Will Come Out and I didn’t need that whole story.

Final Thoughts

It’s a bit too fluffy to be a go to film, but it does have a charm about it.