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Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:33 am
by Garth Cartwright
Being unemployed has given me time to catch up on the movies. And Peckham cinema only costs £5 all day, every day. So I've seen:

PRIDE - this should appeal to lots of forumistas as it covers the early 80s when many of us were in full bloom. An entertaining adaption of a "true story" when a group of Brixton-based gay and lesbian activists decided to help out the miners. They end up paired with a small Welsh mining community. Much homophobia and misunderstanding but everything works out - beyond the miners losing and Aids later claiming the main character - happily. This is very much a feel good movie in the vein of the Full Monty and Billy Elliot and I can see it being made into a musical. It tries a bit too hard to sway emotions, would have benefited from a bit more relaxed pace, but is moving entertainment about a time that now seems a lifetime away. Lots of 80s hits but the best tune here is Shirley & Co's Shame Shame Shame.

NIGHT CRAWLER - creepy young man with no social graces and no job finds that you can make money racing around LA at night and videoing car crashes and crime scenes for tabloid news TV shows. As he gets more successful he tampers with crime scenes until he ends up orchestrating the news. Well made satire of TV news and its obsession with terrifying viewers. Gets too OTT towards the end.

BALADOOK - Aussie horror film about a solo mum whose 6 year old is traumatised by visions of a monster that will kill them in their house. For a good part of the film its a study of a young woman who is truly on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The stress of working a menial job and raising a disturbed child is very well done but the supernatural element is added to, I guess, take the film to a wider audience (and, to me, unconvincing).

MR TURNER - Never a big fan of Turner's paintings I went along to see this cos it got so many rave reviews. Well, it is very well shot and the actors do lots of actorly chewing scenery but I found it a dull film. At 150 minutes it's also way too long. If you ever wondered if Turner was a very interesting man then the answer is no - Leigh does not in any sense turn him into a romantic artist, he's essentially a cold hearted obsessive with little feeling for anyone or anything else beyond painting washed out seascapes. This is where the film fails - unlike Topsy Turvy which captured the sparkle and engagement of gilbert & Sullivan, Mr Turner proves that a dull artist makes for a dull film. Expect it to get lots of oscars and such as high brow bio pics tend to.

I've also watched box sets of TRUE DETECTIVE and HAPPY VALLEY. Both portray the world as a very dark, brutal place and both are extremely well written and acted. Both series portray men at their very worst. TD is filmed in rural Louisiana and HV in small town Yorkshire - both look nothing like the tourist locales they are normally portrayed as.

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:52 am
by john poole
By the half-way mark I was so bored with Night Crawler that I walked out - I didn't believe in the characters or care what happened to them (although it was fairly obvious where things were going). A few good lines ("If It Bleeds, It Leads") but otherwise not for me.

But almost everyone else seems to have loved it.

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:07 pm
by alister prince
Thanks Garth, four days 'entertainment' for 20 quid, not bad. There's plenty of work for older, non Clooney-like actors as long as they're Timothy Spall!
Aly

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:55 pm
by Pete Fowler
LEVIATHAN was my favourite recent film....set in the new and corrupt Russia with a classic story of man-fighting-system...one hell of a landscape....IDA, that beat Leviathan to the Foreign Film Oscar, is more conventionally worthy, though this does not prevent the emotional impact of the story of the young Jewish girl discovering what had happened to her parents in Poland in 1945....GONE GIRL left me cold.....WILD TALES is a great Argentinian film that comes on like a mix of Pasolini and Almodovar, a number of separate stories linked mainly by their fun and weirdness...

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:15 pm
by john poole
Ida was definitely my favourite last year, but I also liked Leviathan, I'll look out for Wild Tales.

Of recent films I enjoyed Inherent Vice more than any Paul Thomas Anderson film since his first Hard Eight (1996), although I wouldn't claim to have entirely followed the plot. It was adapted from a Thomas Pynchon novel which I haven't read and reportedly had a record number of walk-outs, possibly from those who had seen the trailer which gave a something of a misleading impression of the film. It was certainly for me more entertaining than Foxcatcher, Whiplash, or Birdman. And it had Can, Neil Young, and 'Any Day Now' by Chuck Jackson on the soundtrack.

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:45 am
by uiwangmike
I sat through Mr Turner without ever checking the time, though I wondered if it was a bit hard on John Ruskin. I also liked The Imitation Game, which has been surprisingly popular here, possibly thanks to the presence of Sherlock. Birdman was something of a disappointment to me, as was Seven Psychopaths, Martin McDonagh's follow-up to In Bruges. The fact that the protagonist, played by Colin Farrell, is a Hollywood screenwriter with writer's block may have reflected the director's own state of mind. It has a couple of funny scenes, notably a fantasy shoot-out in a cemetery, but even the presence of heavyweight actors like Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken couldn't get me too interested in the characters. It does have an interesting soundtrack, including Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, Linda Ronstadt, Claude King and (second metion on the forum this week), Half Man Half Biscuit.

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 6:13 pm
by Garth Cartwright
In the last few days I've seen Girlhood which reminds me to never go to a movie Peter Bradshaw raves about - it could be interesting, focusing on a 15 year old French African girl living on the estates outside Paris but it is seriously underwritten and drags something awful. Not the new La Haine.

And Top 5 - if you like Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson (as I do) then this is worth seeing. It's a Woody Allen-style riff on a fading comedy star who is trying to be taken seriously as an actor and about to get married on TV to a reality TV star. Rosario is the NYT journalist following him around the city for a day. It's not perfect but it is often good and, occasionally, very funny. The Top 5 of the title is what everyone is discussing through out - their Top 5 rappers. Which got me to thinking who are my top 5 rappers? As, to my mind, most rappers fade very quickly I've chosen seminal tracks rather than careers.

1) Mellle Mel - The Message
2) LL Cool J - Rock The Bells
3) Rakim - I Know You Got Soul
4) Ice Cube - Fuck The Police
5) Ghost Face Killer - I Can't Sleep At Night

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 11:15 pm
by Rob Hall
Something prompted me to dig out the DVD of 'Bombon El Perro' and we watched it tonight. It proved worth a revisit. That dog is a real star.

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 11:35 pm
by Adam Blake
"Le Quattro Volte" - again. (I really like that film.)

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 1:12 pm
by Jamie Renton
I'm just catching up with the films you reviewed in your original posting Garth

Garth Cartwright wrote:BALADOOK - the supernatural element is added to, I guess, take the film to a wider audience (and, to me, unconvincing).


I'm unconvinced that there was a supernatural element. I think a good argument can be made for it all being in the mother's head, making the film psychological drama rather than horror. I found it gripping either way.

I agree with all you say about "Pride". I also liked its portrayal of the role of women in the strike (something completely avoided by the New Labour luvvies travesty that was "Billy Elliot") and the affectionate references to petty divisions on the Left (intentional echoes of "Monty Python's Life of Brian" I think).

The other film I've enjoyed recently (recorded off BBC2, a while back) is "Free Man" the based-on-true-events story of an Algerian petty crim in occupied Paris, who becomes a hero of the Resistance. Conventional, fairly predictable film-making but delivered with real conviction, very well acted and its theme of Muslims helping Jews is timely. It also features some very groovy live North African music (I kept hoping someone would say "Play it again Salim")

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 12:25 am
by Garth Cartwright
Mad Max: Fury Road. Like a computer game. Engaging dystopian spectacle for the first 30 minutes or so then it all gets dull. The first 2 MM films were good tho'.

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 1:25 am
by uiwangmike
There's a quote I vaguely remember from some ancient Hollywood poducer who said a film should start with an explosion and then build up to a climax. This one started with a series of explosions, and just continued with more and more and more explosions. Somehow I missed the Mel Gibson films, so I can't compare. I thought you might have liked the flame-throwing HM guitarist, Garth, or at least admired his devotion to duty. I wrote here many years ago that there's always something in the music credits which I don't remember hearing in the film. This time it was Verdi's Requiem, but I don't expect to go back for it. I did like the assortment of Heath Robinson vehicles. There were some porcupine-like Beetles that looked remarkably like some of the Cars that Ate Paris.

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 9:01 am
by Garth Cartwright
Yes Mike, I noted the big drums and guitar riffs as director George Miller paying tribute to AC/DC who, I guess, came out of Oz at around the same time he did. And yes the cars appeared a tribute to Cars That Ate Paris: his first film, I think. I noted the soundtrack was composed by Junkie XL - one of those famous club DJs I've only ever heard of when he remixed Elvis's A Little Less Conversation and it was a huge hit. I seem to recall Charlie liking this remix (but this could be mind playing tricks on me). Funny how figures like him can be very successful and completely off my radar. Interesting how sets and costumes influenced by the Burning Man festival - I went to this week long techno fest in the Nevada desert once and noted how many of the participants were influenced by Mad Max. Not Max has taken their designer crustie look on board. Life imitating B-movie imitating life. Oh, I saw it in 3D - don't bother, few effects of note.

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 11:55 am
by AndyM
Garth Cartwright wrote: director George Miller ... the cars appeared a tribute to Cars That Ate Paris: his first film, I think.


A film pedant writes: The Cars That Ate Paris was directed by Peter 'Picnic At Hanging Rock' Weir. Same generation & nationality, different bloke.

Re: Films I've Recently Seen

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 12:51 pm
by Garth Cartwright
As ever, Andy, you are right! My brain associates all Aussie car movies together...