Pithy 10 Second Movie Reviews #11


1. (of language or style) Concise and forcefully expressive.

2. (of a fruit or plant) Containing much pith.

3. (generally) I take the pith for your entertainment.

The Campaign (2012:  Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott)

… wins nil champagne.

Zach G holds the whole thing together as the mincing fop who is really steely otherwise this would be less absorbing than cat litter that had not been changed for about a century.

The Rite (2011: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue, Ciarán Hinds)

… that turned out wrong.

Seen one exorcism, seen them all.

The devil has the gall to practice on the Vatican’s doorstep.

Hopkins still comes with a light frosting of “Lambs” which is lucky for us.

Bernie (2011: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey)

The vox pop commentary style can’t sustain a whole film.

Best bit is seeing Black at the end with the real Bernie.

The Heavy (2010: Vinnie Jones, Christopher Lee, Stephen Rea, Jean Marsh)

Poor old scrumptious Stretch has every nullius filius* after him.

AND, his own fully-paid-up cur-brother suddenly wants him to hand over (excruciating to gather) life-giving nectar.

Stretch’s moniker is the unexplained “Boots” which puth one in mind of a luf-lee, fluffy puuthee, doth it not?


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn)

Hanksy phones home at 9.58 am from the South Tower … Uh-oh.

Quite annoying child that won tons of money in a quiz show in real life so that explains it.

Bullock blubbs and snots her way through (one wonders how many million per gunked-up tissue that worked out to).

Due Date (2010: Robert Downey Jr, Zach Galifianakis)

aka Crude Mate.

The ol’ Planes and Trains and Automobiles (from 1987 yikes!) subversion gets resurrected but look which two divine wags are in charge of resuscitation.

These two rub along together as smoothly as coal on a cheese-grater.

The query I don’t really want to hear the answer to “How did they make that sound effect?”  à propos Zachy can’t sleep unless … while poor Jnr …

Last Day of Summer (2009: DJ Qualls, Nikki Reed)

The schnozzle gets more screen time than the lead.

And why not?

Crazy but “life-changing” according to the blurb. If you say so.

TIP If your hooter is as de Bergerac-ed as Qualls, you too could be a Prada model.

Spiral (2007: Joel David Moore, Amber Tamblyn, Zachary Levi)

Repellent beanpole who is afraid of dialogue survives very nicely as a telemarketer!

And he can paint.

It was a sympathy bonk too far for me to believe that Tamblyn would so speedily sink into the sack with said Sad Sack.

Sleuth (2007: Michael Caine, Jude Law; screenplay by Harold Pinter from play by Anthony Shaffer)



Never was the eternal triangle more endlessly pointy and deadly.

Whiplash whimsicalities.

Not a syllable wasted.

The Night Listener (2006: Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Bobby Cannavale, Sandra Oh)

Williams does well when he plays it straight as a gay man; as here and La Cage aux Folles.

Numerous escalators up from Play Misty for Me courtesy Clint Eastwood and Jessica Walter, 1971.

SPOILER ALERT It revolves around Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy combined with Fabulism.

Syriana (2005: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright)

Hard to keep up with who were the fuckers and fuckees but we got there in the end.

More sub-plots than a tri-sold cemetery.


The Quiet (2005: Elisha Cuthbert, Martin Donovan, Edie Falco, Camilla Belle)

Dot the Dreary Dope moves in with godparents and their spoilt daughter.

TRIPLE-YUK ALERT Spoilt as in …

Falco is useless as a mother/wife since she gets worn out every day studying wallpaper swatches.

Stay (2005: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling)

EMcG gets bitten by a dead dog.

Apart from that, why don’t they tell us why his slacks are always thee inches too short and he owns no socks?

And why do they keep showing groups of identical people?

The I Inside (2004: Ryan Phillippe, Stephen Rea, Sarah Polley, Piper Perabo, Robert Sean Leonard)

Sweetie Phillippie can’t remember the previous two years (I can’t remember the last 22 – make a film about that!). 

Hard to negotiate the Giant Slalom timelines, as if formerly famous frog skier, Jean-Claude Killy, were at the tiller.

Peut-être était-il.

Secret Window (2004: Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Timonthy Hutton, Maria Bello; from Stephen King)

Depp at the mercy of a splendidly cast Turturro doing a grand job of putting the shits up our esteemed scribbler, who is not a stranger to plagiarism.

(Reminds me of a poem I once wrote: “With some mere flicks of the wrist, I’m the original plagiarist.)

Suspect Zero (2004: Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kinsley, Carrie-Ann Moss)

… Serial killers minus zero.

Gives vigilantes a good name which is probably not the intention.

The Statement (2003: Michael Caine, Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Northam)

The bloody Catholic church and their speciality: cover-ups that make the CIA look like train-spotters.

Caine, incredible, as the cowardly, slimy fugitive with his hand permanently in the collection plate.

Owning Mahowny (2003: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Minnie Driver, John Hurt; based on true story from Canada)

Almost impossible to imagine any actor that could deliver this better than Hoffman.

Driver done up as a complete dimwit, including unflattering 80s hair and those (aviator) glasses that serial killers always wear.

TIP And serial killers also always have the middle-name “Wayne” (Google it)

(“But not Bundy.” “Well, that’s no tip then, is it?”)

Spider (2002: Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne)

Fiennes lovely voice wasted since he mumbles non-stop into his Old Shag.

Richardson, as always, lights up the screen as did the “hardly anyone today comes close to” dames of the 40s/50s.

Requiem (2001: French)

Bunch of untameable thugs are sprung out of prison to hole up in a local monkery.

The frothing frogs learn there is no “I” in team (the hard way).

Stigmata (1999: Gabriel Byrne, Patricia Arquette, Jonathan Pryce)

Arquette miscast by light-years.

The Catholics will do anything to silence rewrites of even a line of the Bible.

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