Friday, 16 January 2015

Super Fast Reviews for People in a Hurry Part 2

  Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good one :) Lots of essays this month (4 and an exam), so film watching has been at a minimum. Not many films here, but there is a definite variety. Hopefully in the next update I will fit some Oscar hopefuls in. Enjoy!

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
Peter Jackson

  Most fans were up in arms about the third film, as Peter Jackson was far from faithful to the book. The only thing that irritated me was that there wasn't more Smaug. He just shows up for ten minutes and dies. How about the big battle with Sauron? He's defeated as well in the first half hour. So yeah, the rest of it is armies meeting and armies fighting.
  Treat this seriously and you will be annoyed, however treat it as a comedy and you'll have alot more fun. My expectations were so low, I was laughing at everything! Bears strapped to Eagles, Legolas jumping like he's in a Mario game and of course the never-ending 1vs1 fight scenes. However, it was the corny dialogue which had me laughing the most. Its better than Desolation of Smaug, but worse than An Unexpected Journey. 


Making a Splash (1984)
Peter Greenaway

  From one Peter to another, this is a short film programmed for Channel 4, where Greenaway assesses humans relationship with water, through hyperactive editing and Nyman music. I had previously listened to Water Dances, and its probably my favourite Nyman piece of music, although I had no idea Greenaway used it in a film. The ending result is magnificent. 25 minutes of cinematic bliss. I say all this but only Nyman/Greenaway fans will like it.


The Blues Brothers (1980)
John Landis

  Behind the phenomenal jazz soundtrack, lies a mediocre, unfunny film. This was my first time watching, and I was surprised how bland, drawn-out and empty the film is. It's not straight up "here's the jokes... Laugh" comedy (like Blazing Saddles etc). The comedy comes from the situations, the characters and the dialogue. It puts on a funny atmosphere which makes you prone to laughter, but it never worked. Of course I can't deny the songs, including James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles, are leagues better than the film itself. I can't understand the hype and acclaim behind this one.


The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
Roger Corman

  I'm not a horror aficionado, but I really enjoyed this 1960s horror film. Vincent Price is brilliant as the cowardly husband, a rare role for the king of horror. The film changes the Edgar Allan Poe story quite a lot, there is a pit, there is a pendulum, and it is terrifying. This is decades before the shock horror which is popular now, and doesn't age as much as I would have thought. I would have loved it to be longer, as the 80 minutes does't cover some necessary parts of the story.


The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
Hayao Miyazaki

  Before Spirited Away, before Princess Mononoke and even before Studio Ghibli! This romp was Miyazaki's first film, straight after directing a series of episodes of Future Boy Conan. It plays out like a classic caper, and the action does not stop for a second. The cool characters and excellent animation makes this a fantastic watch. Ridiculous amounts of fun to be had, and after all, Miyazaki never made a bad (or even ok) film.


Syndromes and a Century (2006)
Apichatpong Weerasethekal

  I have reviewed two of his films on the blog before, where I praised him for having a unique vision and for going against everything normal movies do. This film is no different, and is better in some regards. For starters it doesn't start with a 45 minute shot of a back of a car. Set in a hospital in the country, the film tells the everyday stories of the workers and patients. Gorgeous scenery and peaceful mentality abound. All of his films are split into two parts, and the second part to Syndromes is... well... interesting? I'm still trying to make sense of it.


La Poison (1951)
Sacha Guitry

  After the Second World War and before the French New Wave was a thing, Guitry was hugely popular in France. Now he has faded into cinematic obscurity. Despite this film starting slowly, with a peculiar prologue, the film picks up pace about 40 minutes through. From there it is plain sailing, and a complete joy to see unravel, until the abrupt yet brilliant ending. Also stars Michel Simon, the beardy giant from Boudu Saved from Drowning.


Russian Ark (2002)
Aleksandr Sokurov

  I finally got round to seeing the infamous Russian Ark. Yes, the film famous for the ultimate gimmick, that is the entire film is shot in one constant take. No breaks. No nothing. As impressive as that is, I thought it would get tiresome. Turns out the whole film is magnificent from start to finish. It's like a window through history, an adventure through time or a journey to a place that is nearly forgotten. Russia has such a colossal history, so its nice to see a film do it justice. More than a film it is an experience, one that I couldn't recommend more. Although, I would like to see the blooper real.