Posts Tagged ‘films’

Film catch-up

Posted: January 29, 2010 in film, me
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Somehow, events have conspired to allow me to have actually seen a lot of films so far this year – some new, some from last year – and here is what I thought.

The Road

Has been a little divisive. Ultimately, this is a story about humanity and the way a father’s humanity is slightly restored by his gerbil-faced son in the face of horrendous, soul-crushing apocalyptic circumstances. Also the ‘woman’ of the film (Charlize Theron, fully clothed,unlike that perfume ad) goes for a bit of a walk and doesn’t come back. The kid says “Papa, Papa” quite a bit. Does Cormac McCarthy hate women? Probably not. It’s relentlessly grim but I found it gripping. We all know humanity is horrible in general but there are some good people out there right? Cannibalism usually does it for me in the ‘scary as fook’ department too. Viggo’s penis, naturally, makes an appearance early on. Thanks Viggo.

District 9

Stars the guy who will play Murdoch in the new A-Team film. Kind of like Aliens meets Menace II Society. Aliens are ghettoised in Jo’burg (not to be confused with Jo’Burger – unlikely that a million aliens would be ghettoised in an over-priced gourmet burger joint in Baile Atha Cliath) and it’s time to move them to a bigger camp before the locals start getting really mad. Very funny moments in a  well-made, fast-paced sci-fi flick. Also, the South Africans say ‘fuck’ like Jackeens. Ya bleedin’ dope ya.

Inglourious Basterds

Sublime. An OTT actioner with no real factual basis made by a man who loves films and sees it as the purest form of entertainment. Features two set-pieces up there with the best of them – particularly the opening scene. Christoph Waltz is nothing short of spell-binding and, without spoiling things too much, it’s always great to see Hitler in films and especially to see him get machine-gunned in the face. A ridiculously enjoyable romp.

Antichrist

More cock. Jesus, will I ever stop seeing penises in films? Bacon, DeNiro, Farrell, Mortensen, Keitel, Defoe – the list goes on. Antichrist is Lars Von Trier’s ode to the quagmire of dark depression, written while in the throes of it. What he produces here is a staggeringly, often impenetrably, personal piece of work, featuring some of the most beautifully shot sequences you’ll see in film. It is also hugely pretentious and ambitious but somehow Von Trier, and the two wonderful actors, Defoe and Gainsbourg, manage to convince. There’s also a talking fox, always a bonus if you’re watching a film in which a penis ejaculates blood and a woman cuts of her bits with a scissors. A film that is as beautiful as it is awful.

Daybreakers

Another vampire film in which most of the world have become vamps (thanks to a virus, I think) and humans are running out. Ethan Hawke (the novelist and sometime actor) is a vampire scientist working on a blood substitute and Sam Neill is probably the first corporate vampire I’ve seen in the films. Willem Defoe pops up again, johnson inside his pants this time. Pretty rubbish but I always enjoy a vampire film so it was quite watchable.

Moon

Sam Rockwell in a tour-de-force performance as an astronaut in the future, stationed for a 3 year stint on the moon, mining for a Helium-3, a clean energy source used back on Earth. Suffice it to say that things get a little confusing for Sam and his ‘visitor’ and what evolves is a brilliant story, very simple, but expertly handled by the director- David Bowie’s son – Zowie Bowie (who boringly calls himself Duncan Jones now?).Kevin Spacey as the voice of Hal…I mean Gerty…manages not to ruin it all with his nasal, snarky tones and this is one of the best films of last year. Gripping stuff.

Anvil

’80s rock band from Canada trying to get a big label deal for their new album. This is basically a love story featuring the singer, Lips, and the drummer, Robb Reiner, and their struggle to get some credit for years of rocking. Famous talking heads like Lars ‘The Twat’ Ulrich and Slash pop up to sing Anvil’s praises and it seems tha band were just a bit unlucky with their timing as every important metal band seems to love them. Does it work out for them in the end? You’ll have to watch. *does devil horns*

Precious

I’ve seen less misery on Eastenders. A great performance from Gabourey Sidibe in the title role as a down-trodden, obese teen, pregnant with her second child by her rapist father, living with her poisonous mother and just trying to survive. Light appears through the darkness in the form of a new school and a teacher who really wants to help Precious learn to read and write. Harrowing stuff with some fantasy sequences that are completely necessary in the insanely grim story. Not as good as everyone is saying but I suppose Hollywood loves a ‘triumph over adversity’ tale, eh? Worth a look though.

Up In The Air

Clooney is smooooooth as a professional ‘firer’ working for a company that other companies hire to sack employees. Clooney loves air travel and has little-to-no connection with his family…or anyone. Needless to say he meets a woman and a plucky, ambitious younger employee and things begin to ch….blah blah blah.Who cares? This has been massively overrated and is the kind of film that would be great to watch on TV some night but that’s about it. Clooney is on cruise-control and there are some funny lines but nowt too fantabulous. Not as good as Thank You For Smoking or Juno, Jason Reitman’s last directorial efforts.

Un Prophete

Wonderful tale of a young French jailbird’s journey behind bars, and outside them, through the world of the Corsican mafia and organised crime in general. Malik (Tahar Rahim) is great as the naive young dogsbody in jail who gets wrapped up in some horrendous Corsican activity and starts to make a name for himself amongst the Arabs and Corsicans alike in jail, and indeed out of jail. Another film, like Precious and Inglourious Basterds, that remembers the medium and throws in some excellent cinematic flourishes to serve the plot and also because they look good. We don’t need to be beaten to death with the frying pan of cinéma vérité every single day, y’know. Excellent film – pure Scorsese stuff and straight into place as my favourite of 2010 so far.

Avatar

Plot=shit. Dialogue=clunky. So what? If you want plot/dialogue go to something else. If you want your puny mind blown to smithereens by whopping great pterodactyls swooping over your head in 3D, then this is for you. The effects are a cinematic milestone and I was giddy as a child for the whole thing. Even the parts not set in the jungles of the alien planet, Pandora, look amazing in 3D. A visual masterpiece. I can’t overstate that.If your mind doesn’t boggle at the 3D then there is something wrong with you. Why don’t you go to Laser and pontificate loudly how derivative Avatar’s plot is and how you’d rather watch Le Quatre Cents Coups instead? While you’re there, slit your wrists from the hand up to where your arm bends, not sideways. Better wound to bleed to death from.

Paranormal Activity

Hi, 12-year-old Adam. Are you terrified of things like daemons, demons, magick, poltergeists, Ouija boards, ghosts, possession, crashing noises in the dead of night and no escape from the horrors of the Underworld.

Here’s Paranormal Activity. Enjoy.

Honourable mentions to a few films I saw at the end of 2009 that may arrive here soon: The Cove (moving, powerful documentary about dolphin-slaughter in Japan) and Triangle (clever horror/thriller set on a deserted ship starring Melissa ‘Angel from Home&Away’ George, also an excellent film)

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I’ve gorged on films in my recent influenza-induced fragile state so here’s a round-up featuring ten word reviews.

Frozen River: A quiet but edgy drama with great performances and ice.

Hamlet 2: Steve Coogan as a weirder-than-Partridge drama teacher. Funny.

Lakeview Terrace: Samuel L. menaces, shouts and is a racist cop. Average.

Eden Lake: Sexy Fassbender, sexy Reilly, violent Skins arsehole, bloody and good.

Wendy and Lucy: Haunting, elegiac, arty, subtle, heartbreaking, thoughtful, timely, go see it.

Wendy and Lucy from stian hilton on Vimeo.

Gran Torino: Craggy old racist makes you laugh. Prepare for some melodrama.

Slumdog Millionaire: Overrated, contrived. Not bad though and well-directed by Boyle.

Rachel Getting Married: Manga-faced Hathaway is good but film is too yuppyish.

If you only see one of these, make it Wendy and Lucy. And then check out director/writer Kelly Reichardt’s previous film, Old Joy.
And I know you’ve counted the words so yes, the L in Samuel L. Jackson counts as a word here.