Tweet I went to see Kung Fu Panda today with my girlfriend who is obsessed with pandas. We once visited Berlin Zoo. It was all I could do to stop her scaling the glass of the panda enclosure spiderman-style so she could get in to hug the panda. I don't know what full grown pandas do to mad humans who try to hug them, but I doubt it's hug them back. Anyway, unlike Adam who unequivocally advises against Kung Fu Panda, I liked it a lot. It is a Dreamworks animation and I half-expected their usual exhausting barrage of double entendres and gags that reference adult movies to keep older viewers happy (oh look, the panda is doing the bit out of the matrix, oh look the panda is doing the bit out of the sixth sense, oh look the panda just made an implicit joke about masturbation etc...). Instead, the film was closer in spirit to classic Pixar (Toy Story is one of my favourite films of all time), in that the gags were purely slapstick, often very imaginative, and worked on a level that both parents and kids could laugh at mutually. Shouldn't that be the hallmark of a good kid's film? I bet most twentysomething adults still cough back a tear at the exact moment in ET that they blubbed at when they were five years old. I'm delighted Dreamworks apparently copped on to this. Still not a patch on Toy Story though.
I used to joke that a nice measure of a film's awfulness is how many of its characters are played by Eddie Murphy. If there are three Eddie Murphys in a film, and one of them is a grotesque stereotype of an obese black woman you know that you have not just busted right through the bottom of the barrel, but are now deep-sea drilling for civilisation's very last reserve of pure shite, embedded in the earth's crust, some 600 miles below the barrel. A trailer containing the words "starring Eddie Murphy AND Eddie Murphy" used to make my blood run cold. Tonight, I saw a trailer which incredibly went one step further. It was about a film called Dave. "Starring Eddie Murphy IN Eddie Murphy", it proudly proclaimed. Yes, I know. As if that was a selling point. Expecting a horrific comic porn flick where Eddie Murphy penetrates himself, I managed to make out through my tensely knotted fingers that this film contains a robotic Eddie Murphy controlled from the inside by a tiny Eddie Murphy (a bit like the real Eddie Murphy then). I wanted to vomit. I didn't ask for this eyeball shit-rinse when I paid for my Kung Fu Panda ticket. Also, has anybody else noticed that Eddie Murphy's face is becoming disturbingly more smooth, airbrushed and oval as he gets older? He now looks like someone pulled a rubber mask of 1980s Eddie Murphy over a rugby ball and polished the fuck out of it. Oh man, I want that movie to tank so bad. Eddie Murphy belongs in whatever sort of painful purgatory Rob Schneider is currently languishing in. Actually there's a movie idea..."starring Eddie Murphy AND Eddie Murphy IN Rob Schneider who IS Eddie Murphy playing an obese black woman". A guaranteed 18 certificate if ever there was one. It would never get past the censors though, would it? If it did, there would be plenty of gibbering post-traumatic wrecks clogging the waiting rooms of our mental asylums.
After Kung Fu Panda, we thought our Eddie Murphy woes were over. Were they fuck. In Cineworld there is only one escalator running down from the third to the second floor. Unfortunately, to go down that escalator you now have to travel through a gigantic 3D Eddie Murphy head promoting his new stinking stool of a movie. With their heads bowed like docile cattle, all the other cinema-goers smoothly passed through his 7 foot cardboard cranium like vitalinea through your digestive transit. I bridled. I panicked. I turned to Loreana. I said "there is no fuckin way I am going through Eddie Murphy's head to get out of here". If it wasn't for Cineworld's fire escape the Gardai would have had to airlift us out of the place tonight, because I would rather eat human poop than go through a giant cardboard Eddie Murphy head. It felt like being forced to take part in some gimpy advertising stunt to promote his latest self-fellating shitefest. And so help me God I wasn't going to let that happen.
MP3 time. Here is another piece of music which reminds me of childhood; Caecilia, by Fennesz (an artist who I posted about not so long ago). The album it appears on is called Endless Summer. Very few album titles accurately represent their respective albums' contents. I can think of a few. Endless Summer is definitely one of them. It is a disorientating, languid and reminiscent meditation on the hazy nature of a hot, sensual season. Fennesz's technique is to often create a graceful (albeit simple) melody, mostly using acoustic guitar. He then identifies its disparate parts, completely dismantles it, and does strange glitchy things to it using laptop software. At some point in the resulting chaos he just about reassembles it again, making it sound alien and transfixing. Caecilia is pure childhood. It wavers like a tarmac haze, and ripples outwards like the enigmatic traces of a young swimmer diving deep beneath the surface of a lake on a sunny day, revealing little until just over 2 minutes in. Then, things just about, but not quite, mesh together in a lysergic carousel ride of see-sawing melody and wonder. It drops you back into the adult world all too soon. Headphones recommended.
I'm aware I posted music by Fennesz here before that might have been quite droney and repetitive to people who aren't fans of ambient music. If that put you off, give this one a chance all the same. It's far more dynamic and varied in its structure.