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

mini reviews

It's been a while, hasn't it. Feels like a while. I've been busy watching films in halves.

On Monday, our film studies teacher didn't show up, so me and my friend chased the rest of the class out of the room and used the tv. Only question, what to watch? Well, folks, to say the room is stuffed with dvds we couldn't find anything. At least, we couldn't agree on anything. Finally at the very bottom of the back of the last shelf, we found Trainspotting, which she adores, recorded from the tv. The first half is totally ace - alas we only had a two hour period, and settling on that film had taken a while so I only saw the start. I want to see it again from the beginning.

And my history teacher was absent, so we were allowed to watch Elizabeth. I must say, the first half was not very inspiring. Pretty, yes, and good enough, but hardly great. And hardly deserving the description "a bit Godfather." from my dad. But the second half improved drastically. Out with the field-frollicking. In with dark, claustrophobic cinematography and a murder montage only lacking an organ solo. It would have been better had it been more consistent...

Dog Day Afternoon. That was about five days ago, not my sort of thing really aside from one factor: Al Pacino. Al Pacino in his young-and-hot days. My God the man's gorgeous. Of course, it doesn't beat The Godfather, but it does have two advantages. Number one - Michael has no sense of style whatsoever. Sonny, on the other hand...of course, as a serious and erudite film critic I probably should not be admitting to drool. Number two - John Cazale is, of course, in both films. Unlike the Godfather, where Fredo drifts in and out, he is actually given something to do - and he does it admirably. Very very good performance. All in all, I'd recommend it - a virtual black comedy to begin with, which spirals into oh-no drama.

The Devil Wears Prada, my sister dragged me to see at the cinema. My film studies teacher says it's one of the worst films he's ever seen, which is very unfair. I thought it was great, especially the first third. The script was witty, the lines ace and the humour pretty savage. My favourite moment was Emily's description of her new diet - "I don't eat anything at all, unless I'm really hungry, in which case I'm allowed one small cube of cheese." I assure you it's all in the delivery. The acting's solid, the leads both excellent and I chuckled most of the way through. Pity then that bits of plotting let the rest down. If you'd removed the boyfriend (they were trying to provide an emotional core, but it was predictable and tedious) and made the cue-makeover moment a little less cliche, this'd be a truly brilliant film.

Sideways is a middle aged Withnail & I. An out-of-job actor is about to get married, and he goes on a wine-tasting week with his unpublished writer friend. The plot, the characterisations, the humour, the's a wonderful, wonderful film though. Gently amusing, and also in a way very sad, its not one to watch if you feel a mid life crisis coming on. Hell, I'm not even 20 and I found it miserable. I'm sure there's a great - albeit very expensive - drinking game in there somewhere. Strongly recommended.

Asphalt Jungle. Yet another heist movie. I have seen so many heist movies this year it's unbelievable. I'm starting to get sick of them, actually. Perhaps then I made a mistake passing Reservoir Dogs over to see this instead when I came home ill today (I had to give the video back to my film studies teacher, and as I'm spending an entire week with one of my many uninitiated pals very soon, I don't want to get back into thatsortofamood again otherwise I'll be unbearable.) as it wasn't nearly as good (what is?). Anyway, it originally caught my eye after I saw Rififi, and in many ways it is an American version. But the acting's not up to much, and there was much less suspense. Perhaps I'm just bored of them, but it didn't impress me.

After finishing that, and while trying to work out what to see next (OK, reasoning with myself as to a certain film...), I caught the second half of Way to the Stars. Its WWII RAF pilot stuff. Very stiff-upper-lip. That's the way romance is meant to go.

The other half-film that bears a mention is The Fifth Element. I'm positive there's something I'm missing about this flick...almost like there's a hidden meaning. Like how Ed Wood or Airplane! has deliberately awful qualities. Watching it, I imagine, must be very like watching Brazil and hating it, as did my mother, and it is similar in some ways. It certainly has a lot of merit - I like the Chinese barge which came to the window. The plot is pretty dire (deliberately so?), but little bits have such inventiveness. The costumes are by Jean Paul Gaultier, and they have the outrageousness of catwalk creations. The comedy elements are perfectly Gilliamesque, notably the scene where our hero locks three policemen in a fridge, leaves the heroine in the shower and almost kills a monk by hiding them all. There's a certain humour too in giving the bad guy, who is of course played by an English actor, the most outrageous Texan accent ever - is that the voice of ultimate evil?! This one also stars Milla Jovitch, who I've heard described as the Bjork of cinema, and I see what they meant. Oh, and the rap star. My dad, whos seen it before, asked if we could skip that bit, claiming he's the most annoying character ever put on screen. Uh, yes possibly...but isn't that deliberate? I'm not at the end yet, and I'm hardly claiming it's good. Because I'm positive I've missed the point somewhere...

Mind you, the one reason I wanted to see it was all present and correct. The Diva's Opera, which you can listen to here. Wowie. That song makes my spine tingle.

PS - HOT FUZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gonna be the best damn thing ever! And the Empire site now has two clips - this one and that one. I am so so so excited now. As if the Shaun of the Dead parody/homage/whatever in the first one isn't great enough, theres lots of explosions and I really cannot wait...


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