Sunday, January 15, 2012

Between the Head and the Heart

How to Get Ahead in Advertising: Surreal comedy, a scathing indictment of 1980s selfishness and greed which is, if anything, even more uncomfortable viewing today as so many of its predictions have come true.

The Prestige: Fantasy about rival magicians and Nicolai Tesla, which conceals under a steampunk exterior a tragic story about the cost of obsession, and how it blinds its protagonists to love, human kindness and the genuine miracles around them.

Devils of Darkness: Sixties vampire badflick. Hilarious if you're in the right sort of mood, but massively derogatory to Gypsies, the French, Americans, lesbians and beatniks, as well as containing some of the most inept day-for-night filming I've ever seen.

I Heart Huckabees: Returning to the surreal comedy theme, this one is a psychological farce about an environmentalist and a corporate executive who are connected on the existential level.

Movie count for 2012: 5

Monday, January 02, 2012

Over the Rambow

Son of Rambow: A story about the dangers of personality cults, revolving around two eleven-year-old amateur filmmakers? Yes, it works, and the result is a cross between Lord of the Flies, Oranges are Not The Only Fruit and Bowfinger, with an exciting plot reversal approximately every fifteen minutes.

Movie count for 2012: 1

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Wrapping up the 2011 capsule movie reviews

E.T.: Visibly from Spielberg's postmodernist period, as he inverts the tropes of 1950s alien-invasion B-movies in both plot and visual terms, with the alien as childlike and vulnerable, and the Earth authorities portrayed as invading, faceless spacesuits. Detracted from by the annoying squeaky voice of the hero child, the product placement, the shameless underuse of Peter Coyote, and the climax of the film, which went on way too long, was far too maudlin, and was, frankly, hackneyed.

Sarah Palin: You Betcha!: On-the-fringes documentary as the filmmaker, failing to get an interview with Palin herself, constructs the process of trying to do so into a sinister portrait of the failed Governor of Alaska as a bullying, selfish creature not above backstabbing those who helped her get into power. At the time of writing Gingrich has just declared that he would like her as a running-mate.

Dancer in the Dark: A film which breaks every single rule of filmmaking, and makes it work. Tragic, yet somehow also beautiful and uplifting.

Dorian Gray: Takes rather a lot of subtext and, unfortunately, makes it text. With a tragically uncharismatic Dorian and a curiously unhomoerotic Henry.

Movie count for 2011: 128