Welcome to my blog, if you are looking for reviews of the latest releases then I would suggest taking a look at some of the other excellent blogs mentioned to the right of this blog, for I review an eclectic mix of films from any era and any country and have sadly little time for the latest film news.
Enjoy my blog and don't hesitate to comment, I will answer without delay!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

End of the Week Post

Films seen this week:

The Usual Suspects - 1995 directed by Bryan Singer

This is a brilliant film, I had forgotten just how great it was, or maybe I had failed to perceive it at first. What makes it so great is the fact that no matter how many problems you may have with the film, say you think one scene is overly dramatic, or that you think you've found a plot hole or that you think the motivations of one character were unclear, all perfectly sensible criticisms that actually are useless when brought against The usual Suspects, because all that transpires is essentially a completely made up and warped version of events, told by one of the characters, so to criticise the film's story is to criticise his story which is all untrue anyway. Brilliantly done and a very original and enjoyable piece of cinema that is a perfect blend of the more artistic types of American films and the blockbusters.

At Close Range - 1986 directed by James Foley
I was rather looking forward to this film, mainly due to the cast: Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Chris Penn and many others in smaller roles. But I was very disappointed, it was a very bland film and rather unpleasant.
Sean Penn disappointed me with this one, I usually expect a quality performance from Penn, but apparently he can also be very bland and unconvincing as well.
Christopher Walken was good though slightly miscast, his was probably the strongest performance of the entire cast, and it is not one of his strongest.
The film is based on real events, but I found that all the efforts at creating a suitably atmosphere, which turns menacing later on, failed. This is a film with many commendable aspects, that completely failed to come together in an interesting or engaging fashion.

 Marwencol - 2010 directed by Jeff Malmberg
As with so many documentaries, I had heard nothing of this until I read a review not long ago, this review was rather positive and the film itself seemed to unique that I tracked it down instantly.
This documentary represents what I love about documentaries, it renders it's subject instantly fascinating and explains just enough to keep you interested, it reveals it's various bits of information carefully and keeps a certain mysterious air to the story, never over explaining and thus taking the "magic" away from the subject.
It shows us a man who as a result of a sever beating which caused him brain damage, has had to start life over. Obviously this creates some very complex issues for him, which he expresses and deals with through an unconventional medium. A small but to scale village built entirely by himself and inhabited by his alter ego and his friends, where various scenario's of his imagining take place.
Overall it's a charming documentary, one cannot help but admire this man who has created such a world of his own and recovered from his attack admirably, yet he is never idolised, and darker sides to his character are evident throughout.
It's a highly interesting look at human nature, that I'd highly recommend, one of my main problems with it was the over use of extreme close ups, with felt somewhat limiting, but apart from that it's a rather well made doc.

Castle In The Sky - 1986 directed by Hayao Miyazaki

I've been a fan of Miyazaki for a while now, he's definitely one of the finest animators to have existed. But I find that as the first Miyazaki I saw was Spirited Away, I often end up comparing his other films to it, and they are understandably inferior, mainly because Spirited Away is a masterpiece.
This film was great fun, not one of his finest works, but still a very enjoyable animations with some stunning art work.
However I did think it was rather flawed, it did drag on at times and Miyazaki's strong opinions on certain things such as the environment, were often on obvious display.
But it definitely ranks as one of his better works nonetheless, and is one I'd highly recommend.

Rear Window - 1954 directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Earlier this week I put together a little list of classics I hadn't seen. Rear Window was mentioned as it is one of Hitchcock's most acclaimed films.
I have never been a fan of Hitchcock's work on the whole, with the notable exception of Psycho, as I find it hard to really be amazed by his films, they generally leave me rather cold.
Rear Window was a fine film, with strong performances, especially from the striking Grace Kelly, some interesting technical choices and some genuinely thrilling scenes.
However it did contain many of the elements I find problematic when watching Hitchcock's films, so I wasn't overly impressed by it on the whole. It was a very good thriller, but I would hesitate to call it a masterpiece.

 Some thoughts:

If all goes as planned, I should be seeing The Tree of Life on Monday. This will be my first cinema experience for many months, and my first in my new home, so this added to the fact that it's the latest film of one of my favourite directors (whose previous films I have seen without exception) makes for a very highly anticipated cinema going. I hope I won't be disappointed, but The Tree of Life does seem to be very polarising. But I think it's worth it to see it on the big screen.

More importantly, my Irish Film blogathon has been announced (here for those who missed it) and I'd strongly encourage you to participate. Read the post to find out the details and don't hesitate to ask questions in the comment section.

My list making has developed into something a bit tougher, as I'm gradually putting together 3 exhaustive directors lists. 1 List of Favourite directors, 1 of directors I like but need to see more of, and 1 of directors I have yet to explore.

Time for some links:

Stevee @ Cinematic paradox has been counting down the days until her 16 birthday, and has posted a special post each day. Here is one I particularly liked, but don't forget to check out the others as well.

Brent reviews the amazing TV series, I Claudius. A real favourite of mine that I would also highly recommend.

Max @Anomalous Material writes a brilliant piece on his experiences watching Woody Allen's latest, Midnight In Paris.

Andy Buckle reviews Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, a film that I am rather looking forward to watching.

Ruth reviews one of Peter Weir's early films, The Last Wave.

Joel writes a piece encouraging readers to see Blue Valentine, which he was obviously impressed with. It's a film I have yet to get around to, but I surely will someday soon.

Limette writes an amusing post on short haired actresses.

Bonour Tristesse reviews an intriguing film named Mountain Patrol.

Thomas celebrates his 100th review by writing about the masterful Psycho.

And finally Groggy Dundee writes of his life as a college movie goer

Did you see any great films this week? Or have you an opinion on those I saw? Don't hesitate to comment if so.

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