Friday, April 22, 2011

French Fried

French Connection II: In my review of The French Connection, I mentioned its poorer imitators; well, this is one. Perhaps the problem with it is summed up in the sequence where Popeye Doyle is kidnapped and deliberately addicted to heroin by the baddies and subsequently goes cold turkey; it's both saying "drugs are bad, so all that seemingly useless effort that Popeye went to in the first film was justified, really it was," and at the same time "but people who are addicted to drugs are just weak people who can't kick the habit like Popeye can." Otherwise not much, just Gene Hackman wandering around an unattractive Southern French city in a silly hat getting into trouble and doing obvious riffs on better scenes from the first movie.

M*A*S*H*: Another film on the absurdity of war, this one seeing it through the blackly comic misadventures of a campful of army surgeons-- most of them very intelligent, dedicated, drafted, unhappy to be there, and therefore determined to cause as much trouble as possible so long as it's entertaining and doesn't interfere with doing their jobs. Deliberately rambling and plotless, instead focusing on the theme of coping, or failing to cope, with the madness of it all. Contains some brilliant directoral touches, in particular Altman's skilful way of filming scenes where everybody is talking at once in such a way that the audience hears exactly the phrases he wants them to hear.

Movie count for 2011: 57. Hoe for the Sci-Fi London Film Festival next week!