Sunday, December 29, 2013

Airplane flicks

Pacific Rim: Interested to see this as a lot of my progressive friends have been hailing it as a new, racially and gender conscious direction for action flicks. My take: it gained points for having a great romance storyline-- rather than the hero having to Win The Girl or Rescue The Girl, the girl and the hero grow together and come to love each other as a consequence of events-- and for having a decent multiethic cast and a nice meaty role for Idris Elba. It lost points for killing off the sole black character in the third reel (seriously guys?) and for having only one major female character. Otherwise: enjoyable, but basically like Neon Genesis Evangelion without the Jungian psychology.

World's End: SF as metaphor, with weird events in a small English town serving as a bassline to Simon Pegg and his buddies working through their issues about growing up and getting old. Nicely dystopian, but is there some sort of rule that every British production now has to employ David "Stemroach" Bradley in some role or other?

Movie count for 2013: 72

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Barbarella, she's a fella


Barbarella: Cheerfully surreal French comic-book adaption. I've seen it at least three times, and, if humanity ever does make it into outer space, I hope it's in spaceships with furry shag-pile interiors.

The Hunger Games: A rewatch prior to going out to see the sequel. Actually rather better than I remember it being, and a witty allegory of our times.

Dr Strangelove: Iconic anti-nuclear comedy; Peter Sellers good in all of his roles, but curiously, although Slim Pickens is absolutely excellent as the pilot Kong, one sort of feels like Sellers should have been in the bomber sequences (as was originally intended). In hindsight, a crucial influence on most of the 1960s comedies that followed.

New movies:

Black Swan: A lot better than I'd been led to expect, being a visual exploration of the mind of a ballerina who is cracking under the pressure of dancing the lead in Swan Lake, and blurring the lines between reality and demented fantasy with Verhoevenesque abandon.

The Hunger Games II: Catching Fire: I'd thought the book was pretty weak, but the film fixes most of what's wrong with it, adjusting the pacing and providing a much-needed third-person perspective. The games sequence is well realised, the new cast were great and the younger cast clearly gaining in skills; however, Peeta is starting to look a bit like Link Hogthrob.

Judge Dredd: Starts nicely, but rapidly degenerates into an amalgam of overused Hollywood sf-action-film cliches-- Bladerunner-lite cityscapes, parental issues, lawman framed for a crime he didn't commit, emotionally frigid man taught to feel by the love of a good woman, annoying comedy sidekick with mad haxx0r skillz; a friend/partner/brother who turned out bad and got shopped by the hero and is now back for revenge, and so on. In a parallel universe, Rico Dredd is the hero of this one.

Walkabout: Beautiful and tragic film about two children lost in the Outback, who meet an aboriginal youth on a walkabout and seemingly enter a parallel Australia, existing among the wild animals and both ignored by, and ignoring, the "civilised" world only steps away from them. One of the best uses of montage ever.

Movie count for 2013: 70