Friday, 9 December 2016
Produced by master of disaster flicks Irwin Allen, Poseidon is a thoroughly enjoyable but admittedly pretty awful journey from the bowels of hell to the light of day for a small and varied collection of individuals who realise that they must band together if they're to have any hope of escape.
With plenty of rationalising and moralising along the way the ensemble cast do their best with the material, and by the end we know exactly why each character was included and what basic emotion they were required to appeal to, a task that most of them do rather well, I'm happy to say. I know that it's basically trash given the big screen treatment, but damn me, I love it.
3½ tables turned (literally) out of 5
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Abhishek received a wealth of praise for his portrayal. I'm going to add to it. I've never seen him better. Aishwarya, prominent on the cover, spends much of her time in the background, supportive in both character and role.
At times it's reminiscent of Welles' Citizen Kane (1941), and like it is based on the life of a real person (in Guru that's Indian tycoon Dhirubhai Ambani).
It's maybe uncommon to wish that a Bollywood film had an even longer running time than they typically have, but in Guru's case I think that it needed one because the years fly by too fast, leaving little time for important changes to be depicted as anything more than visual.
3 bogus truths out of 5
Monday, 5 December 2016
The water motif is everywhere, inescapable, a multifunctional device that holds a number of subtexts (eg. it's cleansing, harmful, isolating, etc).
Saturday, 3 December 2016
Like Achilles in Zeno's Paradox it seems like Machisu is always playing catch up. But the more advice he takes from experts the worse his work becomes. He just can't win, and his output grows less representative of his true self.
The fictional characters are merciless commentary on both the superficiality of the art world and Kitano's own works (he did all the original paintings).
There's tragedy, but it's wickedly funny, underpinned by a peculiar warmth.
4 accomplished Beats out of 5
Thursday, 1 December 2016
David Carradine is the big name, the older, wiser hero, but he phones it in.
It's an odd fish. The film would've worked just as well (or probably even better) as a heroic fantasy flick, the swords are already present. The occasional Western elements and A-Team moments add little to the overall feeling that everything is a poor man's everything else, all of which is at the ass-end of the scale, especially those damn shacks.
Music is by The Score Warriors. I don't know which film they thought they were scoring, but it didn't seem to be this one.
1 hero exit out of 5
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
A colourised version exists if you're allergic to B+W; I've not watched it.
3 frightened sheep out of 5
Tuesday, 29 November 2016
It was the first proper acting gig for both leads; they did okay, all things considered, but the film is clumsy in many other ways as it attempt to explore themes of guilt, obsession and complicity.
One thing that did stand out was the rain scene; far from being the usual carefree, sensual, romantic aside, it's backdrop to a more sinister situation.
2 repurposed bird cages out of 5
Sunday, 27 November 2016
3 surprise eyes out of 5
Friday, 25 November 2016
Gibson plays a man, in search of some heavy redemption, who's forced to go back to his dastardly ways when his estranged teenage daughter shows up on his doorstep with some nasty sort of fellas hot on her trail.
Right from the get-go you know where this sort of film is heading but it's the clever little nuances that sets it apart from others of it's kind, like father & daughter just as foul-mouthed and dangerous as the other. There's some pretty silly eye-rolling moments, plotholes galore and awkward dialogue but that's where Mel Gibson's real life unpredictable ferocity gives it that extra amount of savage B-movie tension.
3 topsy-turvy trailers out of 5
It follows a New York City improv comedy troupe, all closing in to age 40, as they reach the fork in road of make it or break it.
It's a painfully honest portrayal of life outside of comedy and the difficult choices one must make once you've realized you're youthful dreams aren't actually materializing. It hits some predictable notes but it's the incredibly comfortable cast that keeps the delivery fresh and unexpected. Everybody involved both in front and behind the camera know their place and it all comes together in a neat little package that is hard not to like.
4 games of Jenga out of 5
I see Clash of the Titans (1981) frequently cited as being Ray Harryhausen's masterpiece. Titans is a great film, for sure, but for me there's no contest, Argonauts tops it. If I was able to plot on a graph how my love for stop-motion was established then the highest peak would represent Argonauts.
He's allowed free will but is nevertheless a pawn of the gods, aided by Hera (Honor Blackman) and hindered by Zeus (Niall MacGinnis). The power of prophecy to initiate action and of belief to sustain it is ever-present.
5 divine strategies out of 5
Wednesday, 23 November 2016
It's a slow moving film that casual viewers may struggle with. It'll likely be of most interest to two groups. The first is those who appreciate mysticism and peculiar narratives that don't feel the need to explain their every last detail. The other will be fans of the band Dead Can Dance. DCD provide the score (currently unavailable elsewhere) and band member Lisa Gerrard is one of the primary characters; it's her first acting role and she does great work.
The faults in the story are plain to see, but overall it's an enjoyable journey, and I loved how Dir. Agustí Villaronga chose not to compromise the strangely beautiful aura by hurrying the pace unnecessarily.
4 maternal lights out of 5
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Both Shigeru (Claude Maki) and his girlfriend Takako (Hiroko Ôshima) are deaf, so there's not a lot of spoken dialogue, but the silence in no way diminishes the relationship or our understanding of it because the 'voice' of the piece is very much Kitano's and he orchestrates it masterfully; the bond between the couple has a rhythm that can be heard over the sound of wind and waves.
It marked the first of many times that the director had composer Joe Hisaishi provide the score. The music and image are so seamlessly matched emotionally that it's as if the pair had been working together for decades.
Monday, 21 November 2016
aka Barsaat: A Sublime Love Story / A Sublime Love Story: Barsaat
A woeful Bollywood romance that failed to offset its main character's antagonistic traits with enough sympathetic ones, resulting in him not being even marginally interesting. The female lead, the one we're supposed to feel more sorry for, is better represented but still problematic because, even if approached from a different perspective, such as that of a desperate lover, the few things that are relatable are not something to be celebrated. They serve only to diminish the character to the point of ineffectuality.
One good thing that might come from a viewing is recognising that from time to time everyone needs reminding that what they have, if they're lucky enough to have it at all, should never be taken for granted. For many it will be a reminder; for others it may be a first time realisation.
1½ issues resolved out of 5
Saturday, 19 November 2016
The plot is thin. It's hunting season at the lake, but the wildlife isn't the only thing being taken out - an alien presence is culling the human population.
The actual alien is embarrassing (when it does eventually appear), but his flying, fleshy, yellow pus-filled pancakes are fantastically bad-good.
The best of the rest of the cast is the young woman playing Sandy, namely Tarah Nutter. A quick trip to IMDB proves that it didn't happen, but Tarah probably deserved to have a decent B-Movie career thereafter.
1½ free lumberjack shirts out of 5