Chat talk and light discussion
Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:16 pm
I didn't manage to see Skyfall on IMAX, Delboy, but do plan to see it again. Hopefully, my nearest IMAX will screen it. Great performance by Albert Finney, as you've mentioned -- he's still a fine actor, and is wonderful here. I'm not crazy about Adele's theme, however. The song is good, but I just can't warm to her as a singer. I don't dislike it. I just don't love it. But the title sequence is terrific.
I saw Vertigo and Room 237 at the cinema today. Vertigo, I've always loved -- a long-time favourite of mine, and a treat to see in the cinema. Room 237 is Rodney Ascher's nine-part documentary about the making of The Shining. Movie fans, especially fans of The Shining, will lap this up, I'm sure -- it's clever, part satirical, and occasionally daft, but well-conceived and wholly involving. Especially as a companion-piece to the film, itself. It's one of the best documentaries about movie-making since The Kid Stays in the Picture, and should be an Oscar contender.
Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:22 am
After quite a while of hunting, I finally managed to track down the DVD of a film made a couple of years ago called Hungry Hills. The film is an intelligent and unrelentlessly grim independent western set in the 1950s and starring Keir Gilchrist as a young man who returns home after a spell in a reformatory but gets involved with a strange lad in town and his bootlegging racket. The film is beautifully filmed (apart from the appalling CGI snow!) and the location shooting is stunning.
This is the 2nd film in as many weeks that I have seen which stars young Keir Gilchrist who is apparantly best known for his role in the TV series The United States of Tara (which I haven't seen). Going by Hungry Hills and It's Kind of A Funny Story, Gilchrist is fast becoming one of the most compelling actors of his generation (he is now 20). He is an intelligent and likeable actor whose performances often have something of a dark character bubbling underneath the surface. He says in an interview that the actor he most admires is Johnny Depp, but he reminds me more of Ryan Gosling a decade or so ago when he was making independent films such as The Slaughter Rule. Gilchrist is stunning and moving in Hungry Hills, and he is certainly an actor to watch out for.
Hungry Hills was available for a short time on DVD in the USA but is now sadly out of print, and not easy to find. But for fans of intelligent independent films it is well worth hunting down.
Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:07 pm
I saw Rust and Bone at the cinema today; Jacques Audiard's drama about the relationship that develops between a physical, and an emotional cripple. Starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts as Stephanie and Alain, who meet by chance after a nightclub brawl and soon begin to depend on each other -- Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, and Alain, a single father who lives with his sister as aspirations of being a professional kickboxer are played out whilst he works as a security guard. Cotillard is quite brilliant here, excelling in a challenging role. An accident at work leaving her alone and longing, reaching out to Alain, of all people -- and if Cotillard's role challenges her as an actress, it's Schoenaerts' Alain who challenges audience expectations. He's volatile, careless, pays little heed to his son, yet treats Stephanie with understanding, affection and a lack of condescension in spite of obvious difficulties that could arise. Together, they're much more than who they are apart, finding ways to connect emotionally and physically, surviving through an existence that would be far more dismal alone, or with anyone else. Compelling stuff. Both in the story and the execution, but also from two marvellous performances that deserve the highest of praise. Expect Oscar nods here.
Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:03 am
earlier i watched the movie ben
Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:57 pm
Just watched 'Alex Cross' at the cinema. It really is quite poor. Mainly due to shoddy direction and a screenplay that is amateurish at best. A shame because Matthew Fox as the psychopathic killer is quite outstanding and the film's only saving grace. Tyler Perry adds nothing to the lead and Morgan Freeman who as I understand dropped out would have done a better job but still wouldn't have saved it as the direction and screenplay is so poor. Some of the action scenes are very hard to follow as the camera work is so bad. Quite forgettable but Matthew Fox deserves to be noticed for his effort.
Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:29 pm
Delboy wrote:Just watched 'Alex Cross' at the cinema. It really is quite poor. Mainly due to shoddy direction and a screenplay that is amateurish at best. A shame because Matthew Fox as the psychopathic killer is quite outstanding and the film's only saving grace. Tyler Perry adds nothing to the lead and Morgan Freeman who as I understand dropped out would have done a better job but still wouldn't have saved it as the direction and screenplay is so poor. Some of the action scenes are very hard to follow as the camera work is so bad. Quite forgettable but Matthew Fox deserves to be noticed for his effort.
I've not seen it, but it's based on one of the later Cross novels, and sadly James Patterson's work gets more bland and by-the-numbers with each passing book. It's a shame, for his short, snappy style was highly entertaining to start with, and the early Cross novels are a great read, as are some of the one-off novels and the two adult semi-fantasy novels about the kids with wings (When the Wind Blows and The Lake House). But sadly he just kept churning them out with less and less effect, and I don't even bother to get the latest novels out of the library.
Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:23 am
Nice review, Delboy. And much along the same train-of-thought as other appraisals of Alex Cross that I've read. Admittedly, the trailer didn't do much for me, and I haven't read any of the Cross novels and stories, but I'll probably see the film, regardless. This said, other than The Millennium Trilogy, Zodiac, I Saw the Devil and, subsequently, David Fincher's version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, really good thrillers of this nature have been scarce the past five years, or so. Those, proving creative and compelling within a familiar genre. I'm probably forgetting a few others, but I think expectations were quite high for Alex Cross -- both, with regards to its source material and the possibility of creating a new franchise.
Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:25 am
watched pumpkinhead earlier
Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:49 am
jak wrote:Just finished the Criterion release of Rosemary's Baby.
That's a first-rate chiller -- I don't have the Criterion blu-ray, but understand that it's a fine release.
Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:19 pm
I saw Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted at the cinema today. DreamWorks' latest adventure for the former zoo animals, voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Here, further adventure ensues as they long for home and set off on a new adventure from freedom in African, via Europe and back to their New York zoo. En route, they fall foul of Frances McDormand's Marlene Dietrich-inspired game-hunting French police chief, before joining with a travelling circus on whom their hopes of making it to New York are pinned. With terrific 3D and a mile-a-minute pace, Madagascar 3 never lets up for a moment, nor does the action or jokes become stale. There's not much to the story, however, but it works well all the way through, incorporating a good choice of songs and moments of poignancy that resonate as they should.
Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:34 pm
Just watched 'Flight' at the cinema. This is a fine film with Denzel Washington at the top of his game. Robert Zemeckis delivers on all fronts with a fine opening then allowing the film to go in directions that you don't expect from the opening sequences. The character studies that follow and the flaws that addiction brings are well portrayed. Without giving too much away Washington completely shoulders the film with one of his dependable performances. Don Cheadle offers solid support also. The action sequences are very well shot and the film is not as predictable as the opening sequences would lead you to believe. A solid movie, well shot and acted and well worth a look.
Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:59 pm
This Morning i watched "The Sweeny"with Ray Winstone in the Jack Regan role and Plan B(Ben Drew)in the Carter role,unfortunately had to settle for a home viewing as i was away when it was at the cinema,a very enjoyable 2 hours
Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:20 pm
watched mad max last night
Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:02 am
Delboy wrote:Just watched 'Flight' at the cinema. This is a fine film with Denzel Washington at the top of his game. Robert Zemeckis delivers on all fronts with a fine opening then allowing the film to go in directions that you don't expect from the opening sequences. The character studies that follow and the flaws that addiction brings are well portrayed. Without giving too much away Washington completely shoulders the film with one of his dependable performances. Don Cheadle offers solid support also. The action sequences are very well shot and the film is not as predictable as the opening sequences would lead you to believe. A solid movie, well shot and acted and well worth a look.
I'm looking forward to seeing Flight, Delboy. As you've commented, Denzel is always reliable, whilst, as a director, this is Robert Zemeckis' first non-digitally animated film since Castaway, twelve years ago. Which, aside from what promises to be a well-plotted film, brings added interest.
I've not seen The Sweeney yet, Ken. It looks Ok, and I like Ray Winston. Ben Drew is certainly making a name for himself -- and he knows it a bit too much at times. This may be a better vehicle for him than Winston.
Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:31 am
tonight i watched edge of darkness and rest stop: don't look back
Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:29 pm
Just been to see 'Ruby Sparks', as my first choice 'Seven Psychopaths' was incorrectly listed. Anyway, the movie stars two unknowns (to me) in Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan (who also wrote the script) with support from Annette Benning, Antonio Banderas, Steve Coogan and Elliot Gould. The movie is a romance/comedy/fantasy/drama all rolled into one. The far fetched story of a lonely novelist with writer's block who wills his perfect girl into his life is carried off by good performances by the leads (particularly Kazan as the kookie girl) and Dano who is impossibly boring and a funny script that rolls along at a good pace. However, the movie steals shamelessly in its ending from 'Night at the Museum 2' and Benning and Banderas are another Streisand and Hoffman in 'Meet the Fockers'. An enjoyable 90 minutes and worth the rent of a DVD if you missed it.
Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:52 pm
I saw Argo at the cinema today -- Ben Affleck's third feature film as a director. Based on a true story, the film centres around a C.I.A. mission to rescue six American citizens who were trapped in Iran during the 1979/1980 hostage crisis.
Affleck takes the lead role here as Tony Mendes, the agent who goes to Iran as the sole operative on the ground undertaking the extraction. The plan: to remove the Americans under the premise that they're Canadian filmmakers who are location scouting for a new sci-fi film. Before doing so, the usual pre-production casting calls, trade events and press advertisements must be put in motion to add authenticity to what's being done. Here, with great support from John Goodman and Alan Arkin, as John Chambers and Lester Siegel, Argo finds somewhat of a Hollywood satire next to the gritty events in Iran, and political wranglings in Washington. Each part of the story fitting together perfectly, Affleck, giving equal care and attention to each plot thread, altering his shooting style to match the change in tone and ambience between each narrative strand. His eye for detail matched by a wonderful appreciation of environment, framing his actors brilliantly next to landmarks and within grand settings, whilst honing in, quite literally, on the small things. This is accomplished direction that should earn Affleck, and the picture, Oscar nods next year. He's also fine in the lead role, giving a low-key performance that's firm, effective and believable.
I missed Ruby Sparks, Delboy. Will certainly take a look, though.
Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:39 pm
Fire with Fire (2012) - predictible, unrealistic, but a waste of time.
Prometheus (2012) - I have seen it couple of times. Pre-Aliens. Good movie.
Red Lights (2012) - I have seen it a couple of times. Good movie.
Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:46 am
I saw The Master at the cinema today. Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film, which stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. The story centres around the relationship between Phoenix's traumatised ex-marine, Freddy, and Hoffman's cult leader, Lancaster Dodd. Freddy comes to Dodd by chance after fleeing a previous job in which he inadvertently poisons an elderly man with his home-made booze. And here, on board a boat where Dodd serves as minister during his son's wedding, is where Dodd and Freddie begin to form their relationship -- one of master and pupil, but, equally, commander and soldier, or master and slave. Dodd recognising something in Freddie and, as he takes his teaching from state-to-state, takes the volatile, juvenile and sexually obsessed Freddie under his wing.
Both Phoenix and Hoffman are sensational here. Phoenix's Freddie is like a twisted spring that still has some coil and a sharp end. Physically, and emotionally, this is one of 2012's best performances, and a career-best from Phoenix, whose intensity, hunched body and deep eyes are engrossing and fascinating in equal measure. Hoffman is more imposing, standing tall, performing without giving a performance, appearing to relish playing this quandary of a man, who can allure and seduce with a gentility that makes his venomous outbursts and an occasionally dropped facade all the more startling. This is also one Hoffman's best performances, and one for the ages, which is punctuated by the calm and resolute nature of his wife, Peggy, who is played splendidly by Amy Adams. Comforting and guiding Dodd, there are shades of a Eleanor Shaw Iselin here, as Peggy plays the prim and proper wife in public, but pulls strings and manipulates in private, her mechanisms turning the wheels of Lancaster's public persona. It's a subtle, very wonderful performance that Adams gives here.
With regards to Anderson, his writing and direction remain consistently of the highest standard. His framing, shot composition and ability to make the camera a living, breathing entity next to his characters, and within the story, establish a true sense of place and time. Furthermore, Mihai Malaimare, Jr.'s cinematography is stellar, creating sumptuous, canvas-like visuals on which Anderson paints under Jonny Greenwood's distinct score. Expect considerable attention come awards season.
Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:15 pm
Will certainly be catching 'The Master' greystoke. I'm a huge fan of both Hoffman and Phoenix and this sounds one to watch. Bought tickets to see 5 movies at the 4th annual Doha TriBeCa Film Festival earlier today and will post after each. Robert De Niro is in town to give a talk tomorrow but sold out.
Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:53 pm
I hope you enjoy The Master, Delboy. And the Doha Tribeca -- it would have been great to see DeNiro in conversation. Is it there he's discussing 100 years of Universal studios?
Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:08 pm
I expect he will. The talk is moderated by Geoff Gilmore; Chief Creative Officer of TriBeCa enterprises so I expect it will focus on TriBeCa and emerging movie markets in the Middle East. De Niro has attended all four festivals to date. I will go anyway as they have opportunities for tickets for no shows. I was hoping to see 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' which is opening the festival but it is also sold out. The director, Mira Nair, is also giving a talk.
Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:24 am
Nine years after the event, I finally watched The Day After Tomorrow! I'm really not one for Hollywood blockbusters, which is why I have always passed on such things, but it was on Film Four and so thought I would wallow in relatively mindless Hollywood tosh. Which, it's fair to say, it is. Hugely entertaining though, despite the presence of Dennis Quaid who I'm sure only has two expressions. It's interesting watching the film now and seeing Jake Gyllenhall in one of the key roles of his career, and he more than steals the acting honours from many of the more experienced cast. I was also rather surprised at how well it was put together - the various strands (and there are lots of them) blend together completely seamlessly, which is really quite an achievement...as is keeping my attention for two and half hours including plentiful adverts!
Perhaps I've been missing out on more brain-numbing entertainment that would fill a nice couple of hours. Well, that's what you get for studying and researching film, I guess.
Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:33 pm
Just seen 'Town of Runners' at the Doha Festival. A 2012 documentary film by Jerry Rothwell that centres on two young, female runners from the Ethiopian town of Bejoki. A small, isolated town of 16,000 that has produced ome of the worlds greatest middle distance runners. Although the story of young people looking to sport as a way of getting away from surroundings is a well told one this is a touching, well shot film. All of the youth of the town look to either education or running as a means to get out and the film juggles between unstinting dedication and hope and sometime self delusion. The photography is exceptional and as there is no narrative and the characters unfold the story themselves the story moves along well. All the runners in the town are trained by the same guy who's trained olympic champions and who never stops encouraging them. Well worth a look and screened on a rooftop cinema in the old souk made for a pleasant way to spend a Monday evening.
Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:07 am
Went and saw Lincoln last night. All I can say is that I was absolutely satisfied with the film. Definitely worth going to see. One of the better films I've seen in a long time.