Friday, 21 August 2015

Along Came Polly (2004)



Philip Seymour Hoffman is an actor who has only made it big in one movie, and is trying to rekindle his former greatness starting with a community production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Unfortunately this rags to riches tale (perfectly judged by PSH - he steals every scene he is in) is spoiled by some run-of-the-mill rom com story involving Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston.


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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Congo (1995)



Two years after the amazing success of Jurassic Park (1993), another of Michael Crichton's novels gets the movie treatment. I don’t know who is to blame, distributors and producers looking to jump on the Jurassic-Crichton bandwagon, scriptwriter John Patrick Shanley, or director Frank Marshall. Probably all of them had a hand in this boring, excruciating and generally bad film.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Witchfinder General (1968)


With themes of isolation, helplessness and anarchy, this seemingly silly revenge movie is none-the-less fun and at times unexpectedly stylish.  Vincent Price is the eponymous protagonist and as such is a great dead-pan witch hunter who genuinely believes he is “doing God’s work”.  He never once loses his cool (until he gets an axe buried in him) which adds to the detached way he views human life, apart from his own.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Skyborn



Watched this short film as part of the NFTS-run MOOC.

I really loved all the details: close-ups of various twirly bits on the flying machine; Gideon's head-torch, and the music-box on the side of his head playing "You are my Sunshine, my only Sunshine...".  This of course links with the Father calling his son Sunshine, in addition to the point of the film to fly and find the sun; very nice touch - reminds me of the "I am the one and only" alarm clock in Moon (2009).

I also liked the way that they spoke in a slightly odd way "I have news that will please you". It all added to the feeling of an established universe and put me in mind of Firefly.  Very creative use of light and sound, combined with lovely music which swelled at the moment when you realise that the father knew all along that the flying machine would never take the weight of both of them; plucking all the right heart-strings.

Really enjoyed it, and I think I have to go and watch it again. But, you know, that's just, like, my opinion man.



Skyborn from Jamie Stone on Vimeo.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Klaatu, barada, nikto

Far from the CGI-heavy, plot-light 2008 version, this 1951 Sci Fi classic is a character-driven critique of cold war paranoia and burgeoning environmentalism.  Unfortunately due to its age it also slightly suffers from the shoot first ask questions later mentality that plagues movies of this era; though certainly not a deal-breaker in such a fine film.

Following Klaatu (Michael Rennie) as he learns about the human race, our insecurities, our aggression and our reckless treatment of our planet is really a window into 50s American society.  It’s quite striking how on the one hand the inhabitants of the B & B in which Klaatu stays accept him unquestioningly and let him look after the young lad, but at the same time everyone is mistrustful of strangers who might be a “Red”.  To be fair, the film doesn’t shy away from these issues; the Secretary of State admits to Klaatu that the “world is full of tensions and suspicions”; and indeed like all good Sci-Fi, the movie highlights our politics and society.