Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cinematic Soundbites.

The Last King of Scotland- Atmospheric Idi Amin thriller. Although Amin is not the protagonist the whole film hangs on whether Forrest Whitaker can convey the charm, insanity and menace of Amin, which he does well. In fact the protagonist is largely a cipher through which to observe Amin. 5/5

Blade Runner- Depressing, goes on a bit. I know it is supposed to be a sci-fi classic and aspects of it are brilliant, the set design is outstanding and really looks like a future dystopia. However I just didn't care about any of the characters. Perhaps I'm judging it harshly because I had never seen it before but had always heard that it was supposedly a brilliant film. 3/5

Daywatch- Interesting Russian film fantasy but confusing at times. It's a sequel to Nightwatch which was a more even film. The thing about the fantasy genre is that as a series progresses the plots tend to become ever more convoluted. I also don't like the idea of a plot device that allows history to be completely rewritten because it makes me wonder why I've just spent two hours watching it. It isn't a bad film but not as good as the original. 3/5

Even Dwarves Started Small- Werner Herzog's film about the lunatics taking the asylum is played fairly straight with no on screen character noting the fact that he inmates and guards are all dwarves which nicely brings a touch of the absurd into what would otherwise be a fairly mundane work about what freedom means to different people. Very odd. 3/5

Apocalypto - Mel Gibson may be an anti-semitic nut, but he's a very good director. It really is a very clever idea to set a film in an environment and a language that is so far removed from anything the viewer will have experienced himself. Being a Mel Gibson film it does have a lot of blood shed and other sadistic stuff but again this is a case of Gibson choosing the subject well, because sadism and brutality are necessary in portraying Mayan human sacrifice rituals. The only criticism I would have is the arrival at the end of the film of European boats, which dates it too precisely and highlights the historical inaccuracy of having Mayan civilisation portrayed at it's peak when it had in fact collapsed a few centuries earlier. 5/5

Das Boot- So good that it makes you want to cheer on the Nazis as they sink British ships. The combination of claustrophobia and urgency keeps the atmosphere almost permenantly tense right to the end. I should get bonus points for avoiding any jokes about the sub being long, hard and full of semen. 4/5

Blow Up- Highly pretentious sixties movie with an unlikable protagonist. The only benefit to the film is that I now see what Austin Powers was satirising when he was being a photographer. 2/5

Vertigo- That Alfred Hitchcock guy sure knew how to make films. As it's Hitchcock it goes without saying that the mystery aspect is used to whip up the suspense very effectively. It's the sort of film that if you think about the plot rationally all sorts of gaping holes become apparent but only in retrospect. 5/5

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