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Ping Pong (I) (2012)
A wonderfully fascinating documentary.
16 October 2012
Ping Pong, a documentary, follows the fortunes of eight elderly amateur table tennis players from around the globe as they compete in the Over-80s Table Tennis Championships, held in Inner Mongolia.

To some, the Inspire a Generation tagline for the London 2012 Olympics may be perceived as too one-dimensional, focusing narrowly on the pubescent bracket, whilst other, more refined age groups are left without the sporting encouragement and concern they deserve. Ping Pong firmly puts our OAPs back in the frame, proving that there is life to be found in the old dogs, yet. The timely message of this piece transcends our Olympiad's stale beacon of motivation, by attesting that the spectre of mortality in old age is no barrier to participating in a good old fashioned game of table tennis, or any sport or activity for that matter.

As with many good documentaries, Ping Pong's subject matter becomes interesting and engrossing with the rolling of the film, whilst dually being ostensibly arid before viewing. Another potential problem the film manages to negate is the threat of a patronising tone towards the table tennis playing pensioners; however, our competitors are so engaging, charming and entertaining, that this is never a distraction, making Ping Pong a wonderfully fascinating documentary.
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The Unborn (2009)
Friday Night Fair
11 March 2009
A fitting film, one the surface, for a Friday night out, however seeing it through the spectacles of Sunday afternoon may put it into a different light. The Unborn is a partially entertaining horror that fails to deliver much in the way of tension and excitement. A pale, annoying, shabby looking toddler screwing his face out of the shadows every so often angers more than terrifies. Children didn't behave like that back in the day.

Another point of bad taste is the supernatural Nazi back story which helps confirm that the film wasn't sure what it set out to achieve. It's confusing to tell whether the movie is intending to be comical.

The opening scene involving a dog wearing a mask was certainly baffling. Was this suppose to be eerie or farcical? In the end most scenes with similar bafflement received gales of laughter which I'm sure wasn't the intention.

The positives were that these scenes were definitely quirky(especially the on all fours pensioner with the upside down head), the presence of Gary Oldman and the fact the film only lasted 87 minutes. Not forgetting the lead skimping about in her undies from time to time.

It compares to The Grudge (Hollywood version) although much weaker in tension. Sure to be found amusing but being written and directed with someone involved with story of The Dark Knight I'm sure that wasn't meant. Not much in the way of twists but consider it when picking your Friday night entertainment.

Alan Turner
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