Wednesday, September 15, 2004

 

August / September Movies (so far)

Bit of a slow month, entertainment wise - so might as well spend some of it sitting in the dark:

I ROBOT, 2004 [US] ***
Hmm, well if you've read my previous blog on product placement within this movie, you'll realise that we didn't really get off on the right foot to begin with. Actually this is being touted as an "intelligent sci-fi blockbuster" in the media, and when it's not trying to sell you Converse, Fed Ex and Audi, it does a pretty good job and the SFX are fairly impressive. However it's no Soylent Green or Bladerunner and has as much to do with Issac Asimov's 'Three laws of Robotics" as I have to do with gourmet cooking. Will Smith could play his part in his sleep, but it's a passable 'wet-Tuesday night' kind of movie.

FIRE WALK WITH ME, David Lynch 1992 [US] ***
Not one of David Lynch's best, but pretty interesting all the same. Produced after the Twin Peaks series was completed, most of the film is prequel leading up until the start of the series, very much along the same lines as the book 'The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer'. However it starts with a very strange 30 minutes featuring David Bowie and Chris Issacs as FBI agents, and the great Harry Dean Stanton as a trailer park owner. Worthwhile if you're a die-hard Twin Peaks or David Lynch fan, otherwise approach with caution.

THE LIFE & DEATH OF PETER SELLERS, 2004 [UK] ***
Primarily went to see this because three v.good friends of mine, spent most of last year working on the visual effects, and Geoffrey Rush is always very good. Yes it is really good fun, and definitely worth a look - although it has been quite heavily knocked by the critics. It is a fairly bold attempt to get past the characters that Sellers used as his defence mechanism, and to get at the real man underneath - if there was one. Excellent reconstruction of Kubrick's 'Dr Strangelove', and also interesting how Rush's 'Sellers' flips in to the other characters in the movie. Now to go and find a rental copy of 'Being There'

I'M NOT SCARED, Gabriele Salvatores 2004 [IT] ****
Awesome Italian movie, which is both a 'rights of passage' movie and a Hitchcockian thriller. A 10 year old boy, playing in the fields of Southern Italy discovers another young boy, held captive in an underground cave on an abandoned farm. As the film moves along we discover that nobody in the boy's village is innocent, it seems that even his own parents are implicated in the crime. Cannot recommend this movie enough, beautiful photography, slowly building mood of tension and fear - brilliant.

ZATOICHI, Takeshi Kitano 2004 [JAP] *****
Another triumph from Japanese legend Takeshi 'Beat' Kitano, writer, director, actor, TV show host, comedian & artist. This time he goes back to the Samurai days - with the story of a blind massuer, who is also a master swordsman, coming to the defence of villagers threatened by two rival gangs of mobsters. Very hard to describe what this movie is exactly - there's plenty of martial arts & swordplay, but there is also slapstick comedy, sometimes in the same scene, pathos and even musical numbers. Farmers dig their fields to a percussion soundtrack, the film ends with all the surviving cast members joining together in a massive tap-dance routine. Awesome - just remember to pick your jaw up off the ground when you leave the cinema.

THE VILLAGE, M.Night Shylaman 2004 [USA] **
I don't know what it is with this guys movies, I always want them to be good - the ideas always look good on paper, but in reality they always let me down. Sixth Sense saw the end coming a mile away [seen to many Twilight Zones], Unbreakable just ludicrous, Signs creepy enough until the aliens turn up, and bloody Mel Gibson.

The Village has a fine cast - Joaquim Phoenix, William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver, and starts off promisingly enough. Village is surrounded by woods into which citizens will not venture, as it is inhabited by mysterious & deadly creatures. Unfortunately about half way in, the whole story just begins to unravel and stop making sense, in a bad way - then it commits the worst sin of becoming boring and depressing. Have never seen so many people leaving the cinema with that "Why did I bother" expression on their faces. Be warned.

Comments:
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