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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Within seconds, you know a new Anderson film has befallen you… the score by Johnny Greenwood creeping in, the static observation of a soldier preparing for battle, slow camera movements, wide landscapes. Within minutes, I was angry that I did not manage to catch a 70mm screening of the film. Also within minutes, it becomes clear that Joaquin Phoenix brings it on, his aged and very manly face dominating the screen, needing no words to show the effect war and battle, or maybe solitude had on him. There is no doubt that he will remain somehow scarred, and that whatever adventures and developments the rest of his young life will bring about, there is little doubt that he will be a troubled person, and a trouble person. A bit like what an aged James Dean promised to become, maybe.

When he meets the Master (do I need to comment on Philip Seymore Hoffmann’s performance? Really?), even though it’s not very clear what the Master is master of, it becomes clear that this is a match made in heaven. The disoriented  and angry war veteran gets a leader, the leader gets another devotee, one who might become useful at some point. In the meantime, some slightly crude and twisted psychology tools are used to impress the followers, and to shape a community.

In contrast to Anderson’s “There will be Blood”, the evolving drama is… less of a drama. I read in some reviews that the reviewers found the film “boring”. I disagree, but I know what they mean. It’s a bit like that famous description of Beckett’s “En Attendant Godot”: “Nothing happens. Twice.” The film drags along, and then it breaks off (a bit similar to “There will be Blood”) and continues somewhere and somewhen else, and it ends. If you prefer a robot fight at the end of a movie,or at least two people kissing and Hans Zimmer music vehemently indicating that it’s the right people kissing, then you may have trouble with “The Master”. For the rest of us, this is proper cinema. Large scale!

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_master_2011/

Bradley Cooper is very annoying. Jennifer Lawrence almost as much. Robert de Niro is hard to bear. His wife is painfully silent… During the first half hour, I was seriously seriously annoyed by that film, not finding anything or anybody I could like. OK, there is illness involved, that that does not make that manic dude who is obsessed by the idea of getting back to the wife he lost before he was submitted to a mental hospital  any more bearable. It just explains why he is talking and and waving his arms all the time. The three reasons why I stuck with that film for more than half an hour was that Cooper is really handsome (the only redeemable feature about that Las Vegas stag night film with Mike Tyson… what’s it called again?), that I dearly love Jennifer Lawrence since she played in one of the best films of the last decade (no, not “Hunger Games”, duh…), and that I wanted to see all Best Picture nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards. After surviving “Les Miserable”, what harm could “a romantic drama” do…?

Funny thing: after I fell asleep, it got much better. I only missed five minutes, but suddenly there was dynamics between the two lead characters, suddenly the film was going somewhere. Where was it going? Well… let’s say dirty dancing with mentally and emotionally challenged people, but still. They did not play it all out to full effect (I would have spent one hour more showing and thereby mocking the professional ballroom dancing scene… these fake creatures make me sick! Only sports next to synchronous swimming and women’s football that I do not watch even if the alternative is cleaning the dishes), many elements such as the Robert de Niro character with all his delusions are left hanging a bit in the air. But still, there is goal, that goal has a location, and you can practice for it. You can be crappy underdogs with a heart, and that’s what they are trying to achieve.

Why on earth this film is nominated for Best Picture while movies such as “The Master” are not, I do not know. But independent of such futile effort in Academy psychoanalysis, “Silver Linings” was not only better than it started, but actually better than you had any right to expeect when reading the synopsis. But please, Ms Lawrence, can you do something a bit more interesting next, yes, please?

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/silver_linings_playbook/

Note 1: has there ever been as inaccurate a press announcement for a film as the one posted on rottentomatoes by the distributors? “action-packed mystery thriller”?? What kind of brains are at work at Paramount? Lure people into the theatres with the prospect of “Con Air Reloaded”, only to have them leave after an hour, being thoroughly disappointed? At the same time keeping away the more brainy crowd that may want to see a film about an extremely skilled professional struggling with his addiction? How can that work? I can only assume desperation and stupidity came together, having to handle a film that from the perspective of a Hollywood machinery defies categories.

It actually does not defy categories, it is an arthouse drama with high production values and a very good set of actors. John Goodman should be pointed out: as always, the directors have something special for him, and the special here blew me away laughing when he makes his first appearance, Sympathy for the Devil in Hawaii shirt and all… Denzel Washington has the main burden to carry it, and that’s an easy bet. While I think he is somehow making odd role choices (not sure whether he wants to be action lead or complex drama go-to guy), he is always solid in performance and sheer screen presence. I read praise about his under-playing of the role of the airplane pilot, avoiding the easy choices of playing him over-the-top outrageously drunk. I agree. What is strong is that while at times he is the cool and arrogant, while charming man in charge of situations, when he breaks down he does not stumble and slur (he does that sometimes, too). Instead he is embarrassing himself by becoming wimpish, asking favours he has no right  to ask, and losing his cool demeanour. That is not cute, it is the sign of a man falling apart. Whether the film’s end s true to that development or not is for everybody to judge, but let’s say I understand it is one possible ending, if not the most plausible one.

Note 2: Robert Zemeckis… I did not even know that he directed the film, and when I saw the end credits, I thought again “This is one of the most amazing creatures in the Holly Wood”… is there any other director who is responsible for such delight, entertainment and technological prowess? And is there any person making such high-profile movies with such a low profile? Maybe this looks completely different from a US or definitely a Hollywood perspective, but the name Zemeckis for me is somehow associated with a guy who is just happy doing his thing, has all the money he needs, and makes more money as required. Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future, Castaway, Contact, Forrest Gump, even Romancing the Stone??? I have never seen or read an interview with him, have no idea what he looks like. Is he a wizard? The Phantom of the Cinema? Just saying… need to read something about him.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/flight_2012/

He has done that much: a new Tarantino film is something like an event, the hottest thing in town, probably expected more eagerly even than the new Scorsese or the new Spielberg feature. Even though some of these events were dull (yes, I am looking at you, Death Proof), this did nothing to diminish the buzz around the respective next venture. It certainly has to do with the absurdity of the projects when you just look at the plots: avenging sword killer, rogue Nazi hunters, or now slavery abolishers. Not that “Django Unchained” is about abolishing slavery, but close enough with the establishment of Jamie Foxx as – again avenging – gunslinger supporting bounty hunting dentist Christoph Waltz (who plays more like a parody of Christoph Waltz rather than a new character) in his quest for golden coin. They trick rich farmers, they stand motionless in the face of great peril (i.e. whips and guns and sticks of dynamite), and suddenly they form some kind of buddy movie duo, a tradition the rediscovery of which is something Tarantino is good at. Violent as expected, cool as required (not sure: did they wear Ray ban sunglasses at the time?), and long enough to qualify as an effort in epicness. Interesting to me: after “The Searchers” this was only the second “Western” I ever saw that spends considerable time in the snow, a reference or coincidence I immediately liked. As Tarantino films are also something like a vanity card for Hollywood talent, unsurprisingly the majority of actors is terrific, down to mini parts by Boyd Crowder of “Justified” fame, or Jonah Hill in the goofy version of a Ku Klux Klan manhunt, garment challenged.

As ever, Tarantino shows what he’s not very good at: a) editing a film down to its quality core and b) telling himself to stop acting. But maybe that’s part of the fun: the pretentious and obnoxious largess of his films play into his hands, because it adds to the absurdity that is a key element to his success among his fans. He will most likely never be considered a “great filmmaker”, but he has reached the point where to me there is no doubt that  his next film will be great fun to watch again.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/django_unchained_2012/

The man with the funniest name in Hollywood is also the coolest guy in town, as long as he can wear a hat: It looks as if Timothy Oliphant had this show written for him, as the unavoidable succession of his “Deadwood” part, with witty dialogues, vicious villains and never ending incestuous relations of the amorous and criminal kind. Harlan County (Kentucky? I think so) is where they all grew up together, and it is where they are thrown together again when Raylan Givens is sent to the provinces after being a bit too quick with making true on a threat against a local crime boss. But he drew first, so it was justified… We learn quickly that he draws quickly, and mostly accurately, and we also learn that the Marshall Service still exists and gets involved in any kind of crime if it’s convenient to the story (a bit like CSI, where those lab boys and girls seem to be running some investigations on their own, including SWAT team services). What makes Justified a great, a really great show is the characters: Givens at the heart of it all is surrounded by splendid support characters: no villain has ever been so essential to a show’s success than Boyd Crowder, hardly a love interest has turned the tables so profoundly like the pretty widow Crowder. The Crowder family patriarch in season one is only topped by the Bennett family matriarch in season 2, ruthlessly ruling her family empire and her valley for the greater good. She says.

As Season 4 just started, I realise that this is the one show that I really look forward to staying around for a while, I like these rednecks from Harlan County,the Dicky Bennets and Boyd Crowders, and of course and in particular I like my Raylan Givens! So cute, too…

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1489428/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

The Bridge

The Scandinavians have a hand these days for producing interesting and edgy television, with a focus on crime (but, see “Borgen”, also the more murky business of politics). While “Forbrydelsen” (The Killing) is still the uncontested highlight (especially with the rather… uncompromising finale of Season 3), and “Borgen” might have reached a natural end, “Bron/Broen” (The Bridge) creates an odd  continuity of unconventional female leads, and of lacking willingness to give up European style of telling stories. And have not “The Millenium Trilogy” films about girls with dragon tattoos also been tv productions? (I guess the Wallander films could be mentioned, but I have not seen those). These guys (and ladies, in particular) are all far from perfect, some of them are outright sociopaths, and that makes them all the better heroes, whom you can admire for their dedication, while at the same time wanting to smack them in the face for being so stubborn or ignorant or cold when it comes to aspects  other than their line of work.

No need to get into details of Bron/Broen – it follows the established patterns of serialised tv, with a strong and weird opening (a body on the bridge between Denmark and Sweden, ah  – actually bodies, well, one in total), and then the investigation is set up as (funny twist here) an intercultural challenge with a joint Danish-Swedish police team. As I learned in the course of Lars von Trier’s masterful “The Kingdom” hospital show that there are certain tensions between the two countries, and that communication is not always easy, the Scandinavian in-jokes were rather easy to follow, even though I cannot for the life of me distinguish Swedish and Danish language. There is even a bit humour here, largely absent from the other named examples of the Scandinavian tv renaissance, and there are two strong lead actors, the scruffy Danish officer Martin Rohde in particular and his Swedish counterpart, crazy lady Saga Noren.

Over 10 episodes, the story develops enough twists and turns to keep up interest, it takes you where it needs to take you, and in the end, it decides that you may not have had enough. Very good and solid tv crime, nobody does this better at the moment than those Northmen!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1733785/

The Impossible

“The Impossible” begins the way you would expect it to begin: establishing the characters, showing how they settle in their nice posh Kao Lak resort, showing that not all is well within that family, that especially the older son seems to have an issue with his relationship to his mother, he shows an odd reaction to seeing her undress. At that point, I was a bit worried that the film would play too nicely along the lines of traditional disaster movies, with each of the characters having been allocated their part early on.

When the tsunami hits the Thai coast, this changes. While the plot still is one of family lost, family found, I liked for instance the fact that this is not done through parallel narration, but we stay with the Naomi Watts character, being as ignorant as she and her son is about the whereabouts of her husband and the other kids. Needless to say, the fate they meet, the tsunami and its aftermath, are horrific. How they have been put on screen is utterly impressive, showing the brute force of the water, how it can hurt and kill in an instant, turn from beautiful friend at the beach into merciless killer. That interpretation is nonsense, actually, maybe the most impressive bit is to be reminded of how indifferent and unemotional nature is. Sometimes you are in the way, so you get killed. Or your leg ripped open. It is comforting in a certain twisted way that all riches and achievements cannot protect you from nature passing through your garden. The film shows this with its non-dramatized depiction of people getting washed away, now they stand, then they are gone, and by a stunning underwater scene showing the forces at work.

The family members (and everybody else) work their way through the chaos, they receive help and give if they can, after a period of post-apocalyptic aimless wandering they try to reestablish some form of organization to get them out of the chaos zone. The film is struggling a bit with audience expectation at this point, I think: If you do not know the “true story” behind it, you will soon develop a certain expectation of what this will lead to, how the paths will probably converge. The “true story” aspect (as so often) is actually a bit in the way here, forcing choices that a more independent author may have avoided, especially towards the very end of the film.

But still: through competent acting by Ewan McGregor (surprise to me, actually… when have I last seen him acting at all?) and Naomi Watts, with good support from the child actors, this makes for a good drama that is unlikely to leave anybody untouched.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_impossible_2012/

Dictator 2012

“You are standing on the edge of a bridge preparing to commit suicide wearing croques.” – “What’s wrong with wearing croques?” – “They are the universal symbol of a man who’s given up hope!”

Every film with this dialogue must have my love and patience, I will forgive the script and the actors a lot for spelling out what I have been thinking for years, in words I did not find myself. Actually. “The Dictator” does not even need a lot of forgiveness, it is rather laden with funny one- or two-liners, it is solidly raunchy and puts its finger on many of those habits and cultures that the western world developed over the years and that, more often than not, appear a bit stupid when looked upon from the outside. Political correctness is one of those, and Cohen is unforgiving about this scourge of civilisation –  here we go, another reason to love him! He is playing his games with cliches about Americans, Arabs, Jews and Lesbians, Vegans and Terrorists, Tourists and Ben Kinglsey, and the ratio funny / not funny anymore never drops so low as to make the film boring. “Wait – what sorcery is this??” might be the most shallow sentence in the movie that made me laugh.  “The police here are such fascists” – “yeah right, and not in a good way!” might be the one that made me laugh the hardest. It’s not about good taste, it’s about … I don’t know, being able to push the right buttons, and stepping on the right toes. I have to say, maybe he did that better here than in the previous films I have seen.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_dictator_2012/

Argo

The pitch for “Argo” is that the CIA develops a crazy plan to get some runaway hostages out of Iran during the hostage crisis. What’s crazy is in particular that the film they pretend to produce is a goofy sci-fi picture that owes a lot to Flash Gordon and involves plenty of funny story boards and a lot of make-up.

Ben Affleck’s “Argo” is actually not very crazy, I found, in playing this through. We have a coherent setup with rather watertight background stories that can be checked by the Iranian authorities, we have a bunch of almost-hostages who are terrified, and also almost petrified while sitting in the care of the Canadian Ambassador. What we do not have, unfortunately, is a proper plan how to play out the drama. The film works its way through the announcements of actions, then through the actions. There are not many surprises, the plan works quite well. The twists and turns we see almost appear to be driven by movie necessities, not so much by the course of actual events. And for once, this film relies very much on the fact that it is based on true events – if you leave that out, it’s just  a bit bonkers.

I am not saying it’s a bad film, but it is a good film that maybe sticks a bit too much to reality to be really cinematic to full effect. I watched it weeks ago, and now what I remember is two moments of drama, one involving a phone ringing in Hollywood, another involving some airplane tickets. Those moments are splendidly directed, Affleck shows how he can build up thrills. During the rest of the film’s considerable playing  time, he plays it a bit too straight, and is a bit too much in love with his own character, the supposed superbrain extraction specialist, rather than introducing us more to what’s happening in the Canadian Embassy in Tehran, the White House, or even the US Embassy where the remaining hostages are kind of forgotten by the script.

Still: an all in all entertaining film depicting some stunning events I had not heard about before. A good bunch of very competent actors (John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and Affleck himself, who I always enjoy watching), playing out a script that is sometimes a tad over-written, but rarely too much so (“This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far.” Good for a trailer, though…).

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/argo_2012/

Zero Dark Thirty

I keep calling it “Homeland – The Movie”, and most people I know who watched the Homeland tv show immediately know what film I am talking about. A slightly overambitious, yet brilliant CIA investigator has set her mind on figuring out how to track down Bin Laden, and despite her theories being questioned by all the ranks, she manages by willpower and luck to put together the pieces of a puzzle that points to a place in Abottabad we all know about today. Jessica Chastain and her CIA buddy and fierce CIA interrogation procedures expert Jason Clarke make this film work. They convey the mix of work routine, diligence, necessary level of ruthlessness and equally necessary level of stepping outside the box and managing to cast a fresh look at the puzzle to get it solved.

This is far from a perfect script, there are jumps and cuts in logic that could have been elaborated, it is not even clear whether Chastain’s Maya is really a maniacal bounty hunter or just doing her job, preferring catching the suspected villain rather than letting him run. I see both strains in her character, and that makes that character more interesting. In terms of the film’s narration, it is however not always clear why we are following her quest, and not that of one of the dozen other agents equally dedicated to that same task.

A little bit “Full Metal Jacket”-style, the film breaks into two very distinct parts, with the quest being over at some point, and those who quest then merely being observers to the physical manhunt, the storming of the target residence. That last bit, I guess, is necessary to satisfy a wider audience, maybe the same crowd that went out on the streets shouting  patriotic slogans upon Bin Laden’s death and now coming to see how it happened for some additional endorphine dose – in terms of drama and intellectual challenge, it has nothing to add to what we saw before. In this final bit, the fact that everybody who walks into the theatre is aware of the result is actually detrimental to the viewing experience, something that is irrelevant in the first part of the movie. But when the infrared cameras and Navy Seals helicopters come off the shelf, the only thing to be done is to direct it as an action movie, and this kind of action movie we have seen before, and not just once. A more interesting decision would have been to wrap the film up before that, or stay with the agents in their headquarters while they are trying to follow events via satellite links. As it is, “Zero Dark Thirty” is a very interesting, very well-played effort as a political  thriller, but not a very good Special Ops combat mission flick. The “Homeland” crowd, I wanted to shout at the director, is not the “Alien vs Predator” crowd…

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/zero_dark_thirty/

Les Miserables 2012

I still remember the C90 cassette tape I had years ago with highlights from “Les Miserables” (original West End cast recording, or whatever they called it). I do not like many musicals, but that tape I did like a lot, it seemed to show some welcome differences from the omnipresent Webber-isms of the time. I never bothered wondering what the musical’s plot is about, the music seemed to indicate it had something to do with French revolution, love, death and two strong men not liking each other too much. That being a pre-Wikipedia time, and my enthusiasm for the tape wearing off after a hundred times of listening (and the tape disappearing into tape-limbo at some unknown point of time), I forgot about it.

When seeing the film now, the greatest surprise was that all these songs are still very present in my brain, seems I have done a good job of hard-printing the Best-of-Miserables tunes into some brain segments (no wonder there seems to be less and less capacity for new input these days). And they are still moving: the face-offs between Valjean and Javert, the love lost ballad of Eponine, Marius lamenting the Empty Chairs at Empty Tables… this is a long list of really memorable tunes.

The problem with the film is that it is a but longer than the 90 minutes of the tape, about twice as long, actually. And having seen it twice now, I think it’s a fair guess to say that the Maxell C90-minutes director’s soundtrack cut might have been the better film. I was more bored the first time than the second, though, because once you have realised the level of redundancy, you can go check on the fridge and water the flowers and around minute 120 you can actually go shopping because not much will be happening until the grand finale (I think the last bit of original music comes in at around minute 60). As somebody wrote in a review: if you are sad you have missed your favourite tune, do not despair, it will be back within the next half hour. Probably twice.

The film’s production design is (despite some questionable cgi and blurry backdrops) very watchable, as are most of the actors. No need to repeat (here we go: I still do it, speaking of unmotivated redundancies…) that Russell Crowe is not on par with his peers in the singing department. I would not mind that too much, would it not lead to his face being even more devoid of expression than usually, seems he is working really hard on hitting the right note, and cannot so much concentrate on other possible to do’s an actor would usually consider: moving facial muscles and such. He looks a bit uncomfortable in all this, but that alone may be worth the admission fee, at least if you find his usual bloated self-esteem one of his less pleasant character features. “Humbling experience” he may have noted in his diary.

As I do not mind Hugh Jackman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter and the other more prominent cast members as singers, and as some important parts have been cast with singers whose abilities are beyond question (Eponine and Marius, in particular), there is no need to complain about the music. Whether the film needed to jump from one frantic bit of action-oriented scene to grinding to a halt as soon as a big aria came along is another matter, but each on their own, they work quite well and make for good sing-along and cry-along emotion cinema. I would not suggest to issue a karaoke version DVD, though, as these singing parts are quite a bit more demanding than ABBA songs, and if in the wrong hands (i.e. vocal cords) they could make dogs and neighbours suffer.

All in all quite a nice piece of kitsch for those who like musicals in general and this one in particular. Do not expect subtle plot and character development. Expect revolutionary choirs and tear-jerking love ballads, directed by somebody who like nobody else understands how Brits can be drawn to the movies. Will probably not fare as well off the island.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/les_miserables_2012/

Snakes on a Plane

Snakes on a Plane is a C Movie coming in the disguise of an A-list blockbuster. I think a lot of the film’s bad reputation has to do with the misunderstanding about what it is. It is intended to be a fun piece of trash, with ridiculous and poorly cgi’ed snakes and completely nonsensical script (in case anybody has an answer to why that snake specialist on the ground is needed, please let me know. Oh, and how subtly they managed to answer the question at the end of which anti-venom to give to which person: “you have to tell me by which of the 1000 snakes exactly you were bit” …). Samuel Jackson holds it together to the best of his skills, by being rough and energetic and very brave, and by being able to say not very well written lines such as the famous “I’ve had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane”. Proving that you don’t need Shakespearean skills to write classic words. The rest of the cast is more like canon fodder, which would be called snake fodder here. The unlikely hero who can fly a plane after it has been stressed eighty times that he keeps playing his video games, and a bunch of more or less annoying passengers and crew members the fate of which does not concern us a lot.

But then again: people have to fix things in the plane’s cargo hold (always a good thing for an airplane thriller to have), they get to die naked upon abusing the passenger toilet for their immoral purposes, and they get to be bitten into their soft bits. The gluttonous die while eating, the lustful die while mating – it is almost a tale of biblical lessons. Only that it’s stupid. But that’s not a bad thing.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/snakes_on_a_plane/

The Fly

Seeing The Fly again after a couple of years, I was looking forward to checking it against my memory of a truly frightening film, maybe the first large-budget production by a director I really appreciated for his later films (I still find those early crazy horror movies of his a bit inaccessible ). I remembered well, this film is different, it marries the horror genre with mainstream drama, mainly by having great actors at its heart. Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davies are believable in the passion for what they are doing, and the ever-mumbling and charming Goldblum in particular may have had his greatest role with this. Narration may look a bit clunky from today’s perspective, and maybe make-up artists today would have a bit of a more subtle approach, but then again, this film is almost 30 years old… Another classic by Cronenberg, albeit in retrospect maybe more merging into his early oeuvre of splattery horror weird things, in a pretty clear contrast to the psychological thrillers Cronenberg got involved in around the time of “Spider” or “Naked Lunch”.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1007602-fly/

Chernobyl

So these people go into a town near Chernobyl for the tourist thrill of it, and you know what happens? Things go wrong… there is something out there, first a bunch of dogs, and then something worse. And good luck we brought along a shaky camera to document it. A terribly dull and uninspired film, with no redeeming value, to the point that towards the end, upon realising what the likely outcome of this would be, I just did not give a damn. Not a bit.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/chernobyl_diaries/

A very odd film by Brian de Palma. He is the same de Palma who did Dressed to Kill and Mission Impossible, right? He is famous if not notorious for thrills and visuals, for being or at least having been the one true heir to the Hitchcockian style of creating thrills. In this pseudo-documentary about the raping and killing of members of an Iraqi family by US troops, he abandons all that. He tries to go documentary style, but the visuals deny that, stressing (intentionally or not I have no way of saying) the fact that this is a movie, after all. The story evolves around the alleged raping and killing of an Iraqi family by a bunch of US rampant soldiers, and around the guys with and those without a conscience

I was a mere observer to this film, could not get into it I wanted to. I kept observing the video-style visuals, kept wondering whether it was a good idea to take this approach for telling the story, took mental comparisons to the likes of Hurt Locker, similar not in the story, but in trying to let the audience experience what can happen to people who have been exposed to long stretches of utter boredom mixed with occasional combat situations and a constant feeling of being under siege. An interesting film, no more, not a great one.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10008755-redacted/

Misery

There are signs of getting old, some have to do with the body, some with the brain. When I watched Misery again, my brain gave way – the scene where Annie Wilkes gets a bit angry at author-captive Paul Sheldon and tells him the story of how they used to punish the workers in the gold mines (or diamnd mines? Forgot…), or rather what she does after telling that story sent me into mental lockdown, I carelessly watched it the way I had watched it numerous times before, and then I realised that I could not stand it, but too late, I actually got dizzy… this is great, it is like being a horror film newby seeing “Evil Dead” or “The Shining” for the first time and feeling the film actually get to to you. Have not experienced this in many a year…

The film still holds up, even though Kathy Bates’ Annie Wilkes is, of course, over the top and maybe the final stand-off (lurch-off?) between Sheldon and Wilkes would be played out a bit more subtly today. But Rob Reiner, this strange director and producer with the many talents, manages to keep up the peril all through the film, in a setting that is one of the most dense prototypes of  Stephen King narration: take a normal guy, push him to the edge, see what happens, what he can do about it. All-time classic! Next time I know when to shut my eyes, though.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/misery/

Nomad

There is not much to be said about this film other than it is not very good. The story of a roaming nomad warrior, of a beautiful girl hijacked by a villain, of rescue and battle, of brother fighting brother, of unifying the tribes in their fight against the enemy… sigh… it is a very uninspired mess, boring after about 4 minutes, and not getting better. The only redeeming feature was that it played inside an air-conditioned cinema (a digital projection of a digitized 35mm scratchy print, no less) while it was very hot outside.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/nomad/

 

 

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