Lots of laughs but cast just can't shake off Hangover
Published 29/05/2011 | 05:00
The Hangover Part II Cert 16: WITH the lessons of the Las Vegas hangover still fresh, when Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married in Thailand he opts for one quiet beer around a beach fire with Phil (Bradley Cooper), Doug ( Justin Bartha) and the reluctantly invited Alan (Zach Galifianakis) who is not impressed with the inclusion in the wolfpack of Doug's 16-year-old nearly brother-in-law Teddy
They wake up in squalor in Bangkok, with no clue how or why, and can establish only that Doug is safely back in their hotel, Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) is with them and all they can find of Teddy is his finger. Part of the appeal of the first Hangover was that it was so unpredictable, we, like the baffled participants, had no clue what was going on or how it was going to pan out. The first one was someone's baby. This is their cash cow. Director Todd Phillips was initially reluctant, but he agreed and co-wrote this sequel with new screen writers Craig Mazin and Scott Armstrong.
They picked Bangkok, slung a story together, not lazily, it felt like trying too hard actually, and The Hangover Part II was born. But there is a fine line between referencing the successful scenes of a previous film and rehashing an old joke, and the film crosses that line often. Perhaps it would be technically fairer to review it as a stand-alone film but the first film casts such a big shadow and the similarities to it are so plentiful that it's difficult to see it as anything but a relation -- the rich, thick one.
That said, there were funny moments, and plenty of laughs from the cinema audience. That the comedy body part of choice was penis rather than breast made a refreshing change, but with that there are some jokes not for the easily offended. It'll do great.
Now showing nationwide
Le Quattro Volte
IFI Film Club
FILMS in which emotion remains unmanipulated by music tend to be either very affecting or too self-aware. In Le Quattro Volte (Four Times or Four Turns) writer-director Michelangelo Frammartino uses neither music nor much dialogue, relying on lingering camera shots to study life in a tiny Italian town.
As the title suggests, there is some reference to the seasons of the year and more broadly to the circle of life, pagan and Christian -- a Passion play, death, resurrection, reincarnation, belief as in faith, belief as in the power of belief.
And a lot of goats. It sounds like a nightmare, but actually, if you have some level of interest and are in the mood, it's really rather lovely.
In part one we follow an elderly goat herder (Giuseppe Fuda) as he brings his goats to pasture, trades his milk and cheese, then returns every night, the goats to their pen, he to his sparse home. The second part starts with the birth of a goat, who gets lost and ends up sitting at the foot of a tree, the third with the chopping of that tree and its involvement in a pagan ritual and the final part with the conversion of that tree into charcoal for all of the village.
Frammartino manages a careful mix, long-held shots of motes of dust while piquing interest by laying out details for the viewer to wonder about, then providing an answer. What are the powders the goat herd drinks every night? What is he collecting and putting in a pot?
It's a beautiful and amazing piece of cinema in many ways, with lots of emotion, from melancholy to humour. However, its appeal will be limited to cinephiles, ponderers -- and goat fetishists.
At the IFI from Friday
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