Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Four films about writing and two not

Croupier: Despite the title and storyline, a film about writing, and the question of where the character ends and the author begins. Writer, lacking inspiration, takes a job in a casino, finds his old gambling addiction awakening, but also finds it channeling itself into a character who is at once someone he is writing about, and someone he is.

The King of Comedy: Close-to-the-bone black comedy which starts off being about obsessive fandom and unjustified ambition, and then, at the end, takes a left turn into the culture of celebrity for its own sake. Also proof of how scarily versatile De Niro is as an actor.

Bamboozled: Token black TV writer, fed up with being told to pitch "black" TV series, pitches a minstrel show, which turns into a smash hit. It's been compared to "The Producers" but goes much further, taking shots at television, the concept of race, anti-PC humour (which is continually evoked to justify the minstrel show to its critics), and at supposedly more positive conceptions of black identity. Rarely shown, because people are scared of it.

Farewell, My Lovely: The Robert Mitchum version this time. Less euphemistic than the 1944 version (acknowledging racial prejudice and prostitution) but less starkly beautiful (looking like, well, a telemovie, and with Mitchum giving Marlowe a weariness which seems out of character to me).

28 Weeks Later: Sequel to 28 Days Later. Lives up to the first film in being largely a biting satire on the American inability to maintain order in Iraq, but let down by the continuous presence of two unbelievably annoying children. I'm not even sure what's so annoying about them, I just can't stand them. Nice twist at the end, though.

Terminator: Salvation: It's not a movie, it's a two-hour-long video game. The so-called plot twist is also spoilered by the back of the DVD box. Doing a film about John Connor as an adult is a dodgy idea to begin with (even the TV series had the intelligence to leave most of the future-backstory to the viewers' imagination) but when it's difficult to tell which of the main characters is Connor and which is the Terminator, you know you're in trouble. Co-starring some CGI which is inferior to the Harryhausenesque stop-motion of the first Terminator film, and featuring the least probable post-apocalyptic society ever.

Movie Count for 2010: 33