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!

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Stuntman - 1980 Short Review

I am always intrigued by films that deal with film making, such as Powell's "Peeping Tom", Fellini's "8 1/2", Eastwood's "White Hunter Black Heart", Tim Burton's "Ed Wood", Spike Jonze's "Adaptation", Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard" and Altman's "The Player".
All of these are great films, but all of them deal with a specific domain of film-making, such as Adaptation deals mainly with scriptwriting, The Player deals with Hollywood studio's etc...
The Stuntman however deals with stuntmen, as the name implies. This was very intriguing for I had never seen a film that dealt with stuntmen before and they were often the backbone of older action films such as Mad Max and Predator. But naturally the stars received all the praise.
But although now advanced CGI has changed the way films are made, stuntmen still play a important part and are often injured (most recently a stuntwoman was injured while filming Transformers 3 and a stunt double was injured filming the latest Harry Potter film), so I was interested in learning more about them.

This film was directed by Richard Rush who hasn't really directed anything else worth noting, and stars Peter O'Toole, Barbara Hershley and Steve Railsback. It received a very limited release even though it was nominated for several Academy Awards. But despite the limited release it received much praise from critics, some even saying it was one of the best film about film making ever made, now I disagree with this statement and with much of the praise this film received and I will explain why:

Thursday, 3 February 2011

A Collection of Short French Films 1946-1971

I came across this amusing and highly interesting collection of short films the other day when searching for anything to do with the French New Wave, I got hold of it and I'm glad to say I'm not disappointed, these are not cinematic masterpieces but I enjoyed watching  this fun little collection that occasionally provides considerable insight into the budding careers of now acclaimed directors.
Don't feel obligated to read this, it's nothing very important but you many find it interesting...

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Battle Royale - 2000

What is there to say about this film that hasn't been said before? , one of the most controversial works of the past decade, Tarantino's favourite film since 1992, an example of how sick and twisted our modern world has become... these are a few of the reasons I made up my mind to see this film.
Now I am not one who actively seeks out the most controversial and disturbing films in existence, I will be the first to admit that I am rather sensitive when it comes to what I watch, consequently I haven't seen films such as Irreversible, Salo, the work of Takeshi Miike, Antichrist, the list goes on and on.
But what I will watch are films that are controversial for a reason, not just for their graphic and disturbing content but for their message and the power with which they transmit it, such films as Peeping Tom, A Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver and Straw Dogs, to name only a few.

I think much of the discussion provoked by Battle Royale centred around the violence administered by children on other children, thus it can be in a way compared to last year's Kick Ass (which I found to be entertaining and hardly worth all the fuss) which caused much controversy with it's character of a foul mouthed and ultra violent young girl.
The violence in this film can hardly be ranked among some of the most extreme ever put on film, but it is the fact that it issued in such a context that shocks people, so if you go into this film expecting some of the most gruesome violence ever put on film (as I did) then you will be disappointed or, in my case, relieved.
I find this criticism slightly puzzling, why not criticise the violence itself, why focus on who perpetrates it? violence is violence after all and it is a major aspect of human existence it cannot be ignored and yet it shouldn't be glamorised à la "300" (terrible, terrible film).

What I find particularly annoying is when viewers fail to see the bigger picture, instead they focus on the violence depicted before them, take for example Taxi Driver, it garnered much criticism for it's climatic shoot out which was highly violent for it's day, but I think people should be shocked by the fact that the society presented in that film was so degenerate and corrupt that the character should have to resort to violence in order to make a serious change for the better. Thus I find the context more shocking than the violence itself, the same goes for Battle Royale.

Battle Royale takes place in the near future, if I had to confine this film to a single sub-genre then I would surely classify it as a Dystopian film, in this future overpopulation has reached unmanageable figures and the children run wild, are prone to violence and have become increasingly independent of their parents, teachers, guardians...

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Der Mude Tod (Destiny) - 1921

Well, another silent film review:
This time of a film by the master director Fritz Lang whom I hold is very high esteem, he is mostly known for the extraordinary science fiction epic Metropolis (1927) and his chilling murder mystery M (1931).
I believe he is widely recognised for the part he played in the Expressionist movement as well. This film, "Der Mude Tod" AKA "The Weary Death" AKA "Destiny" is one of the highlights of this movement, along with such films as The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Nosferatu and Faust.

These expressionist films were, in my opinion, a great step forward for Cinema, they easily transcended the action-adventure and heroic fantasy type films that were popular at the time (Lang even directed some himself) and in a way can be called some of the first "art films".

They often deal with themes such as Death (often in physical manifestations), Love (often in it's purest form), Fate and Insanity.
One must remember that this was released at the height of the Expressionist Movement, it was released in 1921, a year before Nosferatu which is arguably the most widely known film of the movement, and  a couple of years after The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari. Yet it has a distinctive feel to it that makes it a rather stand out film.