Hook, Line and Some Stinkers

Blog by Ray Philp | 12 Jun 2009

I used to think that a wasp was the only thing that could ruin a summer’s day. That is, until I went on a seaside holiday some years ago in the Baltic, and found Mother Nature to be a resourceful old hag who also created a wasp for the water - the jellyfish. Bobbing in the ocean with all the sophistication of a Lidl carrier bag, these dreadlocked chavs of the sea will not only ruin your day at the beach, but they might also ruin your appetite. If End Of The Line, directed by Rupert Murray and based on journalist Charles Clover’s book, is to be believed (and its acknowledged credibility amongst food behemoths Waitrose and Pret A Manger suggests that it should be), there’ll be a lot more of these cantankerous blobs around, thanks to a catastrophic disruption to the ocean’s biodiversity brought about by widespread overfishing. There are broader concerns at hand that stem from overfishing than a pernicious creature of the deep, of course, but let’s take a moment to consider what sort of fish Captain Birdseye might fill his breaded fingers with if cod stocks continue to drop.

Ignoring the fact that Captain Birdseye contributed significantly to my childhood diet, even at a young age it was clear that the old sailor was troubled. Nevermind the idea of commanding a crew of children that know port as the red stuff that Birdseye gets plastered on; the shame of explaining to your nine year old first mate why there’s a tiger prowling the bathroom and an erstwhile infant locked in the cupboard the morning after really is tipping the scales of ignominy. A similar scenario presents itself to four male protagonists in The Hangover, a Tod Phillips feature about a stag do in Las Vegas gone so wrong that lyrics written by Phil Collins protrude from the gaping mouth of none other than Mike Tyson. Ouch.

Whether Tyson’s rendition of 'In The Air Tonight' is painfully funny or just painful is for you to decide, but if prolonged masochism is your bag, Danny Dyer reprises his east end geezer shtick for your pleasure in Doghouse. Not to be outdone, Stephen Graham and Noel Clark also compete for quippy gags in this Jake West helmed bloke horror against the backdrop of a remote village heaving with man-hating cannibal women. Hey, it’s your money.

Murder is also very much the word for another of this week’s releases, New Town Killers, although not necessarily in the intended manner. Critics (by which I mean, er, us) have not been kind to this Edinburgh-based tale of two private bankers (Dougray Scott and Alastair Mackenzie) who arbitrarily hunt a young man, Sean Macdonald (James Anthony Pearson), around Auld Reekie for sport. Richard Jobson’s thriller has the advantage of an intriguing premise, and Scott lends his experienced acting chops to the screen, but you’re best to approach this one with caution.

Similarly, The Last House On The Left should also bear witness to your scrutinising nature, although to simplify things, ridding the plot of its intricate family connections is helpful. Thus, this Dennis Iliadis revenge horror tells the story of a good family that gives a bad family a right square go, on account of the bad family doing bad things to the good daughter of the good family. A lack of nuance should probably ensure that this one is studiously avoided, unless your idea of emotional depth co-signs the idea of cooking a gadgie’s head in an 800-watt microwave.

Finally, a word about Little Ashes, screening exclusively at the Glasgow Festival Theatre from 12th June. Paul Morrison’s film aims to present a nuanced account of three legendary Spanish artists: film director Luis Bunuel (Matthew McNulty), surrealist Salvador Dali (Robert Pattinson), and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca (Javier Beltran). As the fascist spectre of General Franco begins to surface on Spain’s political horizon, the three friends find that their respective relationships will also face instability, culminating in an illicit affair between Dali and Lorca.