Thursday, September 30, 2010

Clued In

Without a Clue: Alternative take on Sherlock Holmes canon, in which Sherlock is in fact an actor, hired to play a genius detective by Watson, who is the real brains behind the operation (with some collaboration from Mrs Hudson). Its value is as an exploration of how people in a long-term relationship, sexual or not, can sometimes forget, or take for granted, what their partner contributes to it; however I did feel the central joke went on a little too long.

Crimes and Misdemeanors: Postmodern Woody Allen film, which starts out familiar-- wealthy businessman, threatened with blackmail by his mistress, plots her murder, while a nebbish documentary-maker falls in love with a wistfully beautiful production assistant-- and turns it on its head, with rewards and punishments falling in unexpected places and breaking all the Hollywood tropes. Also: Martin. Landau.

The Page Turner (La Tourneuse de Pages): Disturbing tale of creativity twisted by a lust for revenge, in which a young girl, who fails a crucial piano audition due to the negligence of a well-known pianist, grows up to carefully and deliberately ruin said pianist's life. You just can't look away.

Superman: The Quest for Peace: Hilariously terrible movie, with inconsistent plotting and characterisation reinforced with really bad CSO and some magnificently heavy-handed 1980s attempts at a political message. I'm not sure if it's an influence on the LaHaye and Jenkins school of bad fundamentalist Christian rapture-fiction, or vice versa (with the UN ineptly portrayed as some kind of one world government and nobody in the world seeing anything wrong with Superman's plan to destroy all nuclear missiles). Strangely, there is actually a possible clever storyline limping through it, when a thinly-disguised Rupert Murdoch takes over the Daily Planet and tries to turn it into a tabloid, but the sweet innocent optimism of Clark Kent causes "Murdoch"'s evil daughter to see the error of their capitalist ways, but that unfortunately gets buried under all the silly and is hastily wrapped up in a coda which appears to suggest that newspapers should be publically owned (which one would think rather goes against the American capitalist ethos). You just can't look away from this one either, but for different reasons.

Metropolis: One of my favourite films since I was a teenager, seen here in the restored version with the extra footage discovered in Argentina in 2008 reinstated. While two scenes are still missing, the new material makes all the difference, giving clarity and depth to Rotwang's motivations and plans, and actually giving Slim a personality (curiously, now that the plots involving him are restored, you actually notice him a lot more in the previously-extant footage). Also contains the Yoshiwara sequence, and some extra bits to Freder's visions which clarify and crystallise the expressionist symbolism of the rest of the movie, in which his memories of seeing a monk preaching on the book of Revelations in the cathedral merge crazily with the reality of Maria's erotic dance in the Yoshiwara to form a mise-en-scene in which Slim becomes a preacher and Maria the Whore of Babylon.

Movie count for 2010: 106