Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

Winnebago Man
One of the oldest viral videos, predating internet sharing, is the blooper reel to a Winnebago corporate video in which the presenter – known as the Winnebago Man – flips out again and again in his frustration to deliver his lines. It’s a hilarious video, and the presenter spews some truly memorable vitriole. But who is this angry Winnebago Man? That’s the question at the centre of the documentary Winnebago Man, as a filmmaker decides to track down the subject of the viral sensation to see what he’s up to now, and what he thinks of his infamy. As it turns out, the Winnebago Man is a guy named Jack Rebney who lives in seclusion in the woods and had no idea that people loved the blooper reel so much. In addition to learning more about Rebney’s life, the filmmaker also arranges to have Rebney appear for a Q&A session at the Found Footage Film Festival. Winnebago Man is not a deep or thought-provoking documentary, but it’s highly entertaining because of its subject. Rebney is just as cranky as ever, and it’s great to see him learn of his cult following. Don’t expect anything meaningful that will change your life with Winnebago Man, but if you want a fun little doc about internet fame, then I recommend it.
3 out of 5

I loved District 9, and I was one of the few people who defended Elysium, but unfortunately, after seeing Chappie, I must concede that Neill Blomkamp may not be all that he’s cracked up to be. A misstep on a new filmmaker’s second feature is forgivable, but Chappie proves that Blomkamp just wants to do the same thing over and over again. It’s another movie set in Johannesberg, starring Sharlto Copley, that starts by exploring interesting socio-political topics in relation to science fiction (in this case, drone warfare and artificial intelligence) and concludes with a mindless bloodbath of explosions, machinegun fire and gore. Perhaps the worst thing about Chappie, however, is that Blomkamp decides to put Ninja and Yolandi of Die Antwoord in lead roles, and let me tell you: they can’t act. Furthermore, they’re playing vastly unlikeable characters, and thus I found myself completely uninvested in anything they did. Meanwhile heavy-hitting actors like Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver are given a backseat to everything. Just do a double bill of Short Circuit and Robocop and you’ll get all the stuff that Chappie offers with none of the stupidity.
2 out of 5

Laggies sees Kiera Knightley playing a restless twenty-something who doesn’t know what to do with herself, even though her life is totally fine. Her boyfriend wants to marry her, and her friends, although uptight and somewhat bitchy, want her to be the godmother of their kids. Everyone is supportive and kind to her, and yet she’s completely dissatisfied with her life. So instead of changing anything, she decides to lie to her fiance and start hanging out with a bunch of teenagers, including Chloe Moretz. Sam Rockwell plays Moretz’s father, and Knightley quickly falls for him, but everything comes crashing down around her when she gets arrested for drunk driving. Laggies is a dumb movie. At no point was it clear what Knightley’s character’s problem was, and it really seemed like her life was pretty good. Rather than relating to her struggle, I just felt sorry for everyone who had to put up with her. Sam Rockwell is really the only highlight of the film, but he’s not allowed to cut loose and be funny, getting in only the odd quip here or there. But I couldn’t even get into his character, because of course he forgives Kiera Knightley immediately after discovering that she cheated on her husband-to-be with him and the entire basis for their relationship is made of lies.
2 out of 5

See you next Sunday for more thrilling short reviews!

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