Tuesday, December 06, 2005

155: Chinatown

This one started off looking pretty damn dissapointing. Its wasa real slow build and I had been expecting a noir film along the linesof the old Bogart movies. They were black and white and had a real sarcastic wit whereas 'Chinatown' was all colour and there was quite a bit of humourin there.

However as I watched the twists started to come and the pace was upped. The tone of the movie changes pretty dramatically when Jack Gittes (Jack Nicholsons character)is threatened by a couple of Goons gaurding a site where some illegal goingson are happening, his witty retorts are rewarded by a nose sliced up with a knife.

You can't help but like Jack, he's a private detective with a good sense of right and wrong in the noir tradition. He's not infallible though and he makes mistakes,makes incorrect accusations but his hearts in the right place. he's street smartthough and makes good use out of a couple of business cards and a busted tail light.

And because you like him its all the worse when the last few twists unfold and it all goes wrong. Its a downer of an ending, brilliant, but a real downer...
The part was written for Jack nicholson , and you can tell. He eats the screen,even Faye Dunaway barely gets a look in as the femme fatale of the piece.Without him I dunno if I could have made it through the first half hour.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

DVD bonanza...

So not to rest on my laurels from the last one, I'm making another post...This is a kind of preview of the next one I guess. Y'see I'm working every hour of the daythese days so today I figured I'd treat myself.
So I wandered into HMV and picked up 3 dvds.

"Its a wonderful life" - because its the season for it and all. Oh yeah, and I've never seen it (it could possibly be on the list aswell but I don't think so).

"Planes, Trains and Automobiles" - because its one of my all time favorite moviesand is John Candy at his best. It never really seems like christmas until I've watched it. The bit where they drive between the trucks, I split my sides every time..

"Chinatown" - this is how this post is a preview for the next, I'm gonna try and watch this tonight if I can and do a write up tomorrow.

watch this space..

Friday, November 04, 2005

154: 12 angry men

We apologise for the loss of service. I no longer have broadband at myfingertips and thats not gonna change for a little bit. Bear with me a little longer.

anyways back to business.

Can you imagine a movie being released today in which all the action takes place inone room with the only props being a table, a fan, a few pieces of paper and a knife.
I think not.

Back in 1957 they did exactly that, no cheating either, no flashbacks ordream sequences. Just 12 actors in a room to hold your attention for over an hour and a half. Genius.

We don't even get to know there names, but by the end of the movie we know exactlywho they are. Henry fonda does a good turn as the decent moral (and smart, at leastcompared to the others) guy who isn't willing to let the murder suspect go to the chair without at least being convinced by the others of his guilt.

As the movie progresses and the arguments of the others crumble or they are revealed to be racist or biased they turn one by one to vote 'not guilty' alongside.

There are no incredible surprises here or very unexpected twists, just good solid acting, well written characters and very effective camera work.

a must see.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

February 2nd, 2007

Has it really been 3 months since my last update?
for shame.

I'll post something soon. In the meantime mark your calendars folks.
the above date is the date Indy IV is pencilled in for!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Fargo poster Posted by Hello

153: Fargo

Fargo is a pretty quirky movie. It varys from extremely violent and bleak (disposing of bodies in a woodchipper, graphic cold blooded murder,belt whipping) to the banal and downright boring (Egg breakfast + car jump start, chatting about a painting competition, lots of overly drawn out conversations).

I think I see what the Coen brothers were going for contrast for black comedy effect. I'm no big fan of that particular genre by any stretch of the imagination but overall I like it. William H Macy and the ever excellent Steve 'motormouth' Buscemi are what do it though. They're really top notch performances. Buscemi eats up any screen time given to him. Hell, you could have made an entire movie with just him and his partner in crime with a continuous buscemi monologue and it'd be fantastic..

The look of the movie is pretty iconic. You really get the sense fargo is in the middle of nowhere. It times though its a bit arty, prolonged shots with no real action going on. I think that between the overly drawn out 'normality' conversations and the long camera shots you could cut a good 20 minutes off the movie and not really
harm it.

I'm not gonna rush out and see it again but I can see its merit.

Friday, April 29, 2005

poster: Singing In The Rain Posted by Hello

152 : Singing in the rain.

Saw this for the first time not so long ago.

Its another musical. (I'm resigned to the fact that In all likeliness I will see all of the musicals in the damn book before any other genre...)
And its really quite good. Gene Kelly is an incredibly talented fellow.

I of course had seen the 'singing in the rain' sequence before, Its one of those Iconic movie moments. I thought that seeing it in context would somehow make it less so. Not the case, in fact the most notable thing about this movie is that it was put together in a really haphazard manner and relies on its feelgood factor to hold it together as a movie. The musical numbers are extremely tangental and whole chunks of the movie could have been dropped without making an iota of difference to the plot.

I watched this in the Company of Cap'n Vane and Her Mom. So I had a running commentary on who was who and who fell out with who (It is apparently crystal clear after 100+ viewings that Debbie Reynolds and the boys just didn't get on...) . That kind of background info kept it interesting.

I don't think I'd be rushing back to watch it again. But I'd certainly watch a couple of the musical numbers if they happened to be on telly, and I'd probably have a smile on my face afterwards. Feelgood is the only way to describe it..

On an unrelated note. I've just been to see "The Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy" in the cinema. I'm very impressed. It must have been really difficult to translate Douglas' adams humour to the movie medium but Its been done pretty well. One of my favorite bits in the book was the whale and the petunias materialising in the upper atmosphere of a planet. Bill bailey as the whales thoughts was a stroke of genius..

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

This is Lenny. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

151: Princess Mononoke.

In summary. Excellent, strange, beautiful and not as good as 'Spirited Away'.
Much like spirited away it is very 'japanese'. I think I saw a review that
contrasted its eastern mythology to the western mythology of lord of the rings
Its just not as easy to accept unless you grew up with it, it all seems a bit
alien. Which is of course part of the appeal.

The animation is beautiful and extremely creative and the movie cannot be slighted
for that. The problem I found was the pacing. It starts of with this demon boar
charging through a forest but loses its pace pretty quickly after that. I think
perhaps the animation was given priority over pacing and it shows.

The other thing of note is in the DVD version which I got my hands on the
dubbing is pretty high quality and there are a bunch of notable names in there.
Including Billy bob thornton and Gillian anderson. I'm sure the full list can be
found on IMDB.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Worthy of mention: Oceans 12

Well its not all that mention worthy, but it is the only film I've had a chance to see in ages, plus
its kind of a link with the last post (reposted today cause It didn't register the first time round
for some reason).

And for a heist movie its pretty good. All star cast and it looks like they had good fun making it.
I was dubious about it when I heard about it first but its a pretty worthy sequel to the first movie.

Weakest link: Catherine Zeta Jones, every single movie I've seen her in she just looks so smug,
I don't think shes a great actor (I can't call them actresses any more are I?).

Coolest scene is by far the Night Fox , Capoeira-ing his way across the randomised laser beam
security grid. While fantastically cool (and David holmes soundtrack really helps) its just not believable , Capoeira does not make you psychic. Probably.

The banter between the '12' (that raises a point , who is the 12th, Julia Roberts? she was in the last one too!) is the best of the movie .. Eliot Gould advising brad pit on the Hotel business "You're micromanaging.. I been doing this my whole life, you gotta find people you can delegate to".

Theres a bunch of laughs too The "lost in translation" scene with Robbie Coltrane,
Or catherine zeta jones phone conversation with Eddie Izard(sp?).

Still I couldn't help but laugh every time Matt Damon opened his mouth, I kept thinking
of this Puppet counterpart in Team America "MATT DAMON!!". Its funny if you've seen it.
trust me.

Worthy of mention: O brother where art thou.

I counted it as one I've seen already but I don't think I was concentrating on it
when I did see it. Its a great movie, really funny and feelgood. Really nice production
, from the rustic little towns to the stunning countryside. Its one of these
movies that throws in a little of everything, comedy, romance, slapstick, drama,
the supernatural, musical numbers and some quite surreal and unexplained goings on.

George clooney really makes this movie and goes up a couple of notches in my book
because of it. I always think of him as the supercool never failing smart talkin crook
type as in Oceans 11 and out of sight. But hes a damn fine actor and pretty funny to
boot and you can really see it in this. He isn't afraid to ham it up in this and goes
against type to an extend.I think its his best role.

The music is pretty good too, although a lot of it is the kind of music that would
grate on my nerves after a while. I can see the appeal though and it certainly works
in the context of the movie.

Now I'm gonna make an effort to start seeing a couple of these other movies every week,
other wise I'm never gonna get through em. I'll make mosts like this when I can't
though! at least get some material up here!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

150: Amelie

"The fabulous destiny of amelie poulain"

Is a great little movie with lots of crazy little subplots linked by amelies desire to improve the world around her. It could have been
a really sentimental mushy movie but It always seems to be just
cheeky and knowing enough to avoid that. The use of special
effects is particularily cool.
Its pretty funny too but the movie is really carried by the performance of Audrey tatou(sp?) who plays the title role. Shes equal parts quirky and likeable...

Its a real feelgood movie, from the bright colours and very minor troubles of the characters involved to the very odd narration in which the activities of a fly landing on a street at a particular time are bestowed with the same importance as the actions of Amelie herself. Mad.

Friday, January 14, 2005

no 149* Calamity Jane.

*Lost count and I can't view my blog from here, so thats a guess.

Now I know what you're thinkin, your thinking 'Calamity jane? You said you were gonna see
something with a bit of credibility next!' and you're right, I did. I haven't broken
my word though. Y'see I saw 'Calamity jane' the same day I saw 'Gentlemen prefer blondes'
I just didn't realise it was on the list..

Anyways I don't know If this movie should be in the top 1001, I mean its ok as musicals go
and the actress playing Calamity (damned if I can remember her name) certainly gives it
plenty of gusto.

Perhaps its because this film has special meaning to the lesbian moviegoing audience
(apparently 'a womans touch' is a bit of a lesbian anthem). Apart from that I can't
see the appeal, sure the songs are catchy (I was humming 'Whipcrack away,whipcrack away whip crack away"
to myself for a few days after the movie), but the plot is pretty thin and Its really
more the kind of fare I'd rather to see on stage rather than on the screen..

As an aside I watched "Back to the future II" on the same day, and It had been absolutely
ages since I saw it last. Its a cracker of a movie, and the time twisting plot is really quite
a complicated thing to try and do and still be this comic adventure. But when you are watching
it ,its really quite simple to follow. I don't think I had seen this since I saw the third movie
and so I had never noticed the little references to what was to come in the third installment.
The metal plate scene from 'a fistful of dollars' playing on the t.v and the references to biffs
great grandfather in 1885. Great fun. incidentally the first Back to the future is on the list
but the sequels are not.( very few sequels are. aliens being the only one that springs to mind.

right. back to work.

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Monday, January 10, 2005

148: Gentlemen prefer blondes.

Yup, having made a grab at some credibility with L.A confidential I once again sink back down to the realm of the musical.. Thankfully the musical numbers in this are kept to a minimum.

As for the movie itself , I like it. I'm not gonna rush out and buy it on DVD or nothing but its pretty funny in places. That little millionare kid on the boat was pretty surreal. I couldn't help but chuckle.

Definitely gonna avoid musicals if I can for a while. maybe I'll try and catch Fargo or the Fly.
no I'm not kidding, I ain't seen either...

Friday, January 07, 2005

L.A Confidential.

Got round to watching this last night. It is such a cool movie. Its like three different movies at once beause of the individual plots of the 3 cops, Guy pearces 'by the book' lieutenant, Russel crowes vigilante-esque Angry detective and Kevin Spaceys corrupt but likeable vice detectve. Throw in danny devito and Kim basinger for good measure and a really nicely tied together story and you have a recipe for classic status..
Dunno how I managed to miss this movie all these years. brilliant. "Off the record, On the Q.T and very hush-hush

In case anyone was wondering that brings me to a 147 of the 1001 'movies to see before you die'

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

formatting hell.

Apologies for the eye-burningly bad formatting of that last post.
The mailed posts are tricky to get right. I'll try harder.

More movies.

Hope y'all had a good christmas. I know I did. It wasn't entirely wasted either,
I managed to catch one (perhaps more) of the movies on my list. Cabaret, a movie
based loosely around a cabaret singer and her relationship with an english teacher
in Berlin in 1931. Its another musical-ish movie, which Cap'n vane has kindly
introduced me to.
I've said before I don't like the musical genre, But all the singing and dancing
is kept to the confines of the cabaret bar so it keeps the movie firmly grounded in
reality. The songs are used to mirror the mood of the scenes that occur after (or during
with some very good editing).
Its got a bit of everything, a tragic love story, undertones of menace with the rise of the nazis, really quite clever musical acts and a touch of the surreal about the whole thing. The cabaret lead singer( compere?) is particularily well played, being creepy and compelling at the same time, a kind of narrator for the whole story. I must admit it wasn't bad. Glad I seen it.
I also got the star wars dvd box set for christmas (which I have seen already of course)
but they deserve mention because they are all on the list of 1001 movies too.

I'll list any other movies I seen over the christmas that are on the list in the next post.

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