Monthly Archives: January 2013

Objective Burma

There were a couple of moments in this film where “no way did he fucking just say that” passed my lips. But then this is a world war two film, and the pretty special thing about it is that it was made whilst the war was still going on, in 1941. Whilst most other offerings of the time are escapist silliness or insane propaganda this film, aside from the couple of wtf moments is pretty gritty and down to earth. The cinematography is impressive, not least because a Burma is created on a soundstage with the aid of just some tape recordings of animals and a couple of monkies. Also Flynn is amazing here, a million miles away from his captain blood persona yet still believable. That’s not to say he was believable as captain blood. Never mind that Burma as a conflict zone or anything else is woefully under represented in film, this is just a good war film, end of.

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The Artist

This film is rather pleasing. What annoyed me somewhat when this came out was the way it was spoken about as if no one had seen a silent film before, this is not the best silent film ever made, its positively mid table if we are judging it based on how good it is as a film…that is silent. What this is though, is a rather good film about silent films, and the move into sound, that is not to say you will learn just what this was period of history was like, its happy ending is rather unrealistic, but it uses the transition to tell a brilliant and engaging story. I am fairly sure the day a film is made that is fundementally about film making the makers of said film have lost all sense of the real world and have as their only frame of reference being a film maker. Whilst this may well be the case here this is about more than film making, its a love story (what else could it be) but its also about a really cute dog. The dog is basically, I think, the most important thing to come to post millenium silent film. He is just awesome.

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Assassins

You cant spell assassins without ass. This is in no way relevant to the film, its is merely an observation. The Wachowskis apparently wrote this, I say apparently, because although they are credited as writers apparently the director largely ignored their writing and they didnt want too much association with the film. What I hope is that their script was ignored because half way through it becomes apparent that everything you think is real is a construct designed to keep you enslaved to your robot masters, and Stallone, being the only one to realise this begins to dodge Bandaras’ bullets left and right! This would be more exciting. Alas, it was not to be, some wiseguy thought the world couldnt handle that. Stallone only makes two wisecracks in this, a record which must only be surpassed by Rambo (that is rambo 4 for the uninitiated) and normally I would say it is better for it, but in this case the action just doesnt come fast enough and all that space could have been filled far better with wise cracks than … I dont know, walking around… in fact I have literally just stopped watching it and I cant remember anything but the end, I think at some point someone assassinates someone else… a taxi is stolen … no one wisecracks… Bandaras is good though, he needs to wash his hair though.

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Grave Encounters

When you see a bloody tongue on the floor, just run away, dont stand around investigating it! This is the main lesson I took away from this. Its pretty well done on a low budget, has some great jumpy moments. The friends I watched with genuinely hid behind pillows. The only issue I have with the whole found footage thing is that you know they eventual outcome from the start, so sometimes you end up thinking “oh just hurry up and get dead”, this could have been a little more ambiguous than it was, but unfortunately it begins with a guy explaining that the film is a ghost hunt which goes wrong, so from minute one you know how it all ends. Worth it for a scare though, and remember the tongue advice.

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Quarantine

Just watch the original Spanish version REC. This is (almost) a shot for shot remake but the acting isnt as good and the end is just a tiny bit less scary, which is weird because scary monsters should be scary in any language.

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The Limits of Control

On paper, a film about a man who is on some ambiguous criminal mission which involves multiple meetings to attain his goal sounds like a recipie for an action thriller. This is as far away from that as possible, and frankly must have been a nightmare to market. Here we have a film that is as ambiguous as the criminal mission the lead man embarks on, he wends his way from Spanish town to Spanish town, meeting interesting and strange people along the way, all of whom give him the information he requires to meet the next. However, they do not just give him this information, they also tell him their thoughts on various creative arts, and other things. This is the crux of the film, I think, and I may of course be wrong, but I think that this is an ode to the need for art, literature, freedom of espression in our contemporary lives, it is in itself a piece of art, but it also celebrates painting, music, drama, architecture, sex and film, and as such is as far away from an action thriller as possible. This film requires that you think, and there is much to think about. 

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Lebanon

This entire film takes place within a tank. It is a bold move, considering the film makers do appear to actually have a tank, although the interior we see seems a little more spacious than the tanks I have seen (though I cannot claim to be an expert one assumes that getting a camera inside a tank is pretty much impossible). Anyway, as a consequence a lot of the action is seen through the viewfinder of the tank, the horror of war framed by a crosshair. No one can argue that war is not terrible, and this film is no Rambo, but it is all a little contrived, we dont need the only surviving member of a family to stare into the camera after asking where her child is to know that the family has been needlessly ripped apart, and the gunners initial unwillingness to fire his weapon at other humans doesnt need to be qualified with dialogue. It is a good film, and I am sure that the fact that the film makers do not take the action out of the tank was meant to highlight the isolation of the men inside, and sense of their emotion, but I cant help but think that it might also be because it cost a little less too. Ultimately this is about young men put in an impossible situation, we learn I guess a lot about the emotion of the situation, but without some background knowledge you’d have no idea why they are there at all.

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Jonah Hex

The reason Iron Man and the Avengers are so good now is that we finally have the technology to accurately show all the awesome things that went through the minds of kids reading the comic books, we dont need to know their back story or dark inner thoughts because we can finally see them fight and smash things in a realistic way. So Jonah Hex, with the power to speak to the dead should have been easy! Except no one has ever really heard of the comic, and he only uses this skill three times! This film needs 100% more talking to dead people, 100% less battles which take place in Jonahs head and 50% more Malkovich, because he is the best actor in it. Oh and 200% more guns.

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Carancho

What this film does brilliantly is make you desparately want the good guy, Sosa, to succeed. It is a well crafted peice of character development, I suppose driven by love but also by the realisation that the right thing is the right thing even when the wrong thing is not only simpler, but much more lucrative. This is all helped along by some brilliant acting. I can’t say how realistic the story is, “the dog”, a sort of insurance fraud godfather type character is a little cliche, as is the power he weilds over doctors and police alike, but ultimately Sosa’s attempt to escape his influence is absolutely engaging and will have you willing him to just run run run.

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Nude Nuns With Big Guns

So you find yourself watching a film with this title with some friends. Now, films like this make you an implicit promise, that they are going to be so insanely stupid, so sexist, so frankly disgusting, that they actually surpass the need to say precisely those things because we can all accept that as human beings all that they depict is wrong, no one is ever going to argue that Nude Nuns with Big Guns influenced them to set up a holy drug cartel in the same way more mainstream films are sometimes accused of influencing wrongdoers, and that’s because they are so fucking ridiculous. And our response to this ridiculousness? We laugh (well I at least I do) or or we say “ewww” loud enough that our friends can hear so they know we think its gross too. So generally this sort of exploitation flick can be judged on these two markers, laughter and ewwness. So some bits make you laugh, like the brilliant names of the strip joints where 90% of the action takes place (titty slappers anyone) or the fact that all the bad guys have their names sewn into their jackets, these names are things like “kick stand”. The eww factor is also provided for as (spoilers) the lead bad guy gets his cock shot off at the end, which i hasten to add is also hilarious. I say that’s a spoiler, but the second you realise just how far this film ventures into rape-revenge territory (I.E – enters the territory, sets up a camp and stays the night) this is pretty much the inevitable fate of said bad guys cock. I`d say its worth watching for this alone but the fact of the matter is you have to get through way too much other stuff before you get to this bit of ewww enducing comedy revenge. This film fails because it can only think of one reason to shoot a bad guys cock off and have him hold it up in a comedy way, and whilst I would have been perfectly happy with a Nun with a machine gun we in fact spend far too much time watching the wrong people suffer.

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