Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

Lots of little things

Well, wasn't yesterday's post a pleasant and not at all unwelcome surprise! I have for the last two days been smiling constantly, skipping around and generally behaving like I really far am too young to keep it. Which I am, in actual fact. Well I can't comment on whether it's all vastly unsuitable seeing as I haven't seen it yet, but the British government seems to think so and they probably know best.

Unfortunately, this means todays post is going to come out a bit like my thoughts - a jumbled messy ranty set of curious but unconnected nonsense.

Anyway, this afternoon I was overcome with a sudden mad wish to rewatch The Sting. Well, not mad as such - 'tis a perfectly sane idea, as it's great. So I trotted across to youtube in hope of finding something. Unfortunately, this video is all it came up with. Not that I have any serious problems with that of course, it just wasn't entirely what I had in mind...I did watch it, but I had to mute the music because it was awful and totally out of place. And I must say, as goes the slash, it was very badly done. If ever I had the inclination (which I wouldn't generally, but after watching this travesty I'm tempted...) I'm sure I could do it much better. There's some awful awful editing work here and I'm pretty unconvinced, especially by the first half. Now if they styled it as a trailer a la Brokeback to the Future, it would give it a better structure and possibly it would have been more effective. On the other hand, if you think I'm being waaay too pretentious and/or defensive and you really enjoyed it, you may as well give this a go. The editing here is slightly better quality - though that's not to say I'm very happy about it. I'm starting to get a tad sick of the Brokeback music y'know, and that film is far far a too easy target. Besides...being deeply in love with Sundance myself...well I'm not sure I'd be able to cope... Speaking of Mr Redford, I found a neat little fan site here. I'm particularly fond of the startup spiel:

Hollywood has a lot of male actors, but how many of them are REAL MEN?
you know, the sort of guy who could rescue you from a wild horse,
build a house, teach you about conservation
and then gaze at you with those beautiful blue eyes?
Who do I speak of?
Who else, but Robert Redford!!!

I have been a dedicated, loyal fan of Mr. Redford since I first saw him in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid in the early 70's. This page is my tribute to you, Mr. Redford and to say thank you for making movies that that inspire and give reflection to life!

Said like a pro, and may I add I agree entirely. I was also rather excited by the ecards, and my friends all promptly recieved several of each. And this link lead to this terrific site - merci de ma prof de Francais!

While on the subject of random links, the site says that Robert Redford and I are 72% compatable - 57% physical, 58% intellectual but 99% emotionally perfect for each other!

And now for something completely different. A reward, if you like, for succesfully sitting through all that gooing - Robert deNiro's most enthralling performance a cabbage on Sesamie Street. I kid you not. It's utterly convincing. My favourite part's when he explains to Elmo that he can pretend to be a New York taxi driver...unfortunately, he doesn't enlighten the fluffy creature by going into any more detail than that.

As for film watching, I've seen Being John Malkovitch and Behind Enemy Lines in the last few days. I'm trying to come up with some intellectual comments to make on the former but so far I can't summon my critical powers to say anything profound. It makes Ed Wood look mainstream. I'd certainly recommend it for anyone who liked Eternal Sunshine - wacky trips through the subconscious, bittersweet romances. In fact, the final chase in Being John Malkovitch is almost a two minute trial run for ESOTSM. One day I will do a list of the top ten most dysfunctional romances - Brazil will be in the top five or so, this will be right at the top just above Vertigo - a love triangle with one hell of an added complication...I was positively spitting in disbelief when it came into the open!

Craig, our hero guy, is really really sweet. I have a soft spot for the actor, but even without that the devoted puppeteer remains sympathetic. Lottie is played by CAMERON DIAZ. I need to shout that, because otherwise you may not notice and get distracted by the fact she can act. Pretty darn well at that.

I like the faux documentary, but there are lots of other excellent moments worth a mention, like the job interview. Overall, the keyword here is wacky. Just to summarise the first few minutes - weedy puppeteer is married to sweet woman who keeps animal sanctuary in her house - is to invite blinking looks of disbelief.

And Behind Enemy Lines? Well Gene Hackman played the same role as usual, and Owen Wilson was better than expected in a non-comedy. However, there is something undeniably rubbish about this film, I just couldn't quite put my finger on what. It's pretty entertaining, but three things let it down badly. The first thing was the music, which had "God bless America" written all over it - stirring in the most taccy way imaginable.

The second thing was the lucasitis, the worst case I've ever seen. For those of you just joining me, lucasitis is the result of the filmmakers sitting down in front of the editing suite and going "Oooooh! I can do slo-mo, and change the colours, and make it swoop, and zoom!" It's named for Star Wars' unusually enthusiastic use of fancy transitions, and I normally interpret it as a substitute for real tension. It's distracting and unecessary. I took particular exception to the slo-mo run between exploding mines and the snazzy circling shots of him on the top of a mountain (which begs the question, if he's trying to stay hidden in an area full of enemies, why is he sitting in the most prominent location imaginable?)

And the final thing? Well, boys and girls, it was cliche kingdom most of the way through. The one that ticked me off most was undeniably the fact HE WAS GOING TO RESIGN! How many times do i have to say it: never resign, it always leads to calamity, whether that be abduction by a mysterious village or, as in this film, being dumped on the wrong side of the border.

And now, for a bit of spoilervision: Case point 2: his buddy was a gonner from the start. Case point 3: no one in their right mind who'd been exposed to such ineptitude by the armed forces would ever consider going back. Case point 4: the last five minutes. Now up until then I was willing to forgive the odd bit of stupidity - cinema is fiction after all, even when based on fact - but this is just a little over the top. He hits the sniper four times, and the sniper falls over, but then he's back on his feet and it's all so dramatic! And then the Serbian army show up! And then the Americans show up, in the nick of time! (PS - what's the last film you've seen where the Americans send helicopters to rescue one downed man? Eh?) But as he runs to the helicopters (in slow motion, obviously) he has a change of heart and runs back to get the photographs! Oh the angst! So the helicopters cover him - 70 infantry can't hit one very obvious green shape in the snow, several half-truck-half-tank-things can't down one of the helicopters - as he runs, again in slo mo, there and back again. It's a total massacre. Obviously, as the Serbians are the bad guys, they can't hit anything. But my father, who's a stickler for all things military is a tad sceptical and informs me that as the trucks were in fact BMP-1 mechanised infantry fighting vehicles, their 73mm cannons should have knocked the Admiral's Hughes 214ST straight out of the sky. While the precice make of armament may a tad irrelevant, my point is that even an amateur can tell the odds are ridiculous. All in all, my mother managed to stay awake so it's pretty entertaining, if you're willing not so much to suspend but entirely dispatch of your disbelief for an hour and a half.

And now for a minirant. I realise I haven't informed you of my irrational irritation with the newer Scarface. It is simply this - there is at least twice as much merchandise as there are fans. My tiny village home has a poster rack in one of the little local stores - all motivational rubbish and pictures of kittens, and nothing movie related whatsoever, except one of Al Pacino threatening people. I went on holiday, I found a movieposter store - one or two posters for everything else, but no, Scarface has to have six. Two days later, I see Scarface t-shirts for sale. Come on! Who buys these things?! We go searching for cupboards, the furniture store has the occasional watercolour of a fruitbowl for sale, oh and a 17cm square art block with you guessed it printed in blue. And to add insult to injury, last week I saw a cute little electronic device - which plays randomly selected quotes when you flick a switch. OK, so were any of these the case with a film which I loved I'd be overjoyed. It's just how in every quarter this film outnumbers the rest (except perhaps, the first Harry Potter) - surely there cannot be that much call for it?!

Finally (took a long time to get here, didn't it?) Collective Apathy has two brilliant movie stick man quizzes, both of which I scored 14 on. To add insult to injury, it doesn't even give you the answers once you've got them wrong. But the actual pictures are pretty cute and worth a look.

Gotta go now - I've a 6 disc set (in particular, the trailers) waiting for me...


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