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

This morning in film studies, we each had to present a few minutes of film and analyse it for the class. I toyed with the Godfather restaurant scene (too unfairly spoiler-y) and a bit of Rififi (foreign French classic - looks like I'm trying too hard) before settling on "get off the road" from Fellowship of the Ring. I forgot to do any preparation work; I barely remembered to bring the DVD, but I came out ok. I'm a pretty good public speaker, and I know the thing backwards - I'm one of those annoying fans who mouths the script while watching. So I commented on the change from comedy ("mushrooms!") to scaryness, the lack of music, the exaggerated sound, the point of view shots and of course the reverse dolly zoom.

It went down well I think. Especially in light of what happened next.

The second presentation was the first ten minutes of Ghost Ship - and those of you who've already seen it will know exactly what's coming next, and if you don't and don't want to then skip the next two paragraphs. It was a good sequence to choose though - light cheery music, a boat party, dancing on the deck. The credits came up in curly pink letters - certainly contrary to one's expectations. This went on for a pretty dull 7 mins or so, and I believe it is what they call "creating suspense". Then the music goes scary and someone mucks up the equipment. Unbeknownst to the dancers on the deck, a very taut thin metal wire has been stretched.

And then it snaps. Whooosh noise. First shot: the heads being lopped off flowers. The dancers freeze. Blood drips onto the floor. "Oh surely not..." is what I was thinking. But yes, the wire cut through about 25 people simultaneously. All of a sudden there are bodies falling in half, severed arms, a writhing red mess of women trying to find their lower halves. It was surreal - so over the top yukky that it was almost unbelievable. I've read that's what seeing blood is really like. They couldn't just chop the captain's head off. Oh no, the top half is allowed to slide down and off with a satisfactory plop.

A bit like my last really good nightmare; I'd be lying if I said I didn't think it was gross. Although I bore it with better fortitude than some other people in the class. It certainly woke everyone up. The teacher commented that he should probably have warned us first. Anyway, then the guy pointed some things out...while playing it through again...

I saw Syriana yesterday, and while I am in no way claiming to understand it - I was utterly confused for 1/3 of the time - I did enjoy it, and thought it was fantastic. The cinematography has class written all over it - really naturalistic camera work. The script is jolly fast paced, it doesn't linger on anything but it still feels sedate.It truly is blink-and-you-miss it for major plot points. The screen never tugs at your emotions. Someone dies, someone gets hurt, bad things happen - but the music doesn't swell and it just lets you react naturally. And then it moves on to something else. The music is very good though - apart from the inclusion of a noise from the Donnie Darko soundtrack. It's a mix of pounding bass, Arabic drumming, entirely suitable for the understated tale they're trying to tell. The acting is ordinary in a good way - all the characters have superfluous families, little plotlets that are never expanded on. The film wastes no time on reminding you what's going on or even showing the characters travel from one place to another - you've got to be awake, and you've probably got to watch it more than once. It's remarkable that big companies keep going for written-by-an-idiot-monkey plots. What with their zeal for profit, I'm amazed they haven't realised clever storylines compell watchers to buy the dvd or visit the cinema more than once.

All in all, it's not one to watch when drunk or dozy, but even if it's confusing you can't help but admire the excellent work up there on screen.

That was the afternoon. And then in the evening we watched The Wicker Man. This is purely because I want to be able to march around vocally complaining about the remake. I would have done it anyway, but it feels more valid if I've actually seen the original...

That too was good - although I defy you not to think of Balamory when copper Howie first comes to Summerisle. I'd also liken the too-happy, creepy inhabitants to the Village in The Prisoner. Howie is very much like Holly Martins in The Third Man, entirely out of his depth - a devout Christian in a community of Pagans, who really needs a few more lessons in guile. The script is excellent ("They do so love their divinity lessons" is the dry comment on watching naked girls leap over a bonfire between standing stones) and the plot quietly gripping. Even if you know what's going to happen. Which most people now probably do. My one criticism would be the negative pagan stereotype - this film is probably responsible for a fair number of mistakes regarding neo-celtic culture - and this hardly dampens your enjoyment unless you are, of course, a neo-pagan in which case try not to be too offended.

I'd recommend it to music fans as well - there are Clannady bits, and the Medieval Babes covered one of of the tracks. The best song is definitely the one Britt Ekland's character sings's not the reason I like it, I hope you understand...

I've got the afternoon pretty much off, and I intend to spend my time profitably watching Some Like it Hot in a free room...


Emma said...

There are a lot worse ways to spend an afternoon than with Some Like it Hot.

... Like with Physics homework. Bah.

anyways enjoy!

Ninquelosse said...

Very good point...I thought it was great.

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