Sunday, 14 December 2008

More Films.

My time has been taken up with writing my assessment prose piece for my course, so I haven't had a lot of time for blogs and the like. So here's some more films I've seen in the last 2 or 3 months and what I thought of them, for no reason other than I really enjoyed doing it last time.

Burn After Reading - (Warning; I think this review may contain a couple of spoilers.) The latest Coen Brothers film. After the stylistic change of "No Country For Old Men" (which was SO so good), they clearly wanted to make another "Coen Brothers film". Now, I love the Coen Brothers and the trailer had got me a bit excited, as all the Coen Brothers tricks were in there. However, as "In Bruges" proved that a bad trailer does not necessarily mean the film is bad, "Burn After Reading" is proof that a good trailer does not mean the film is good. Now, in trying to make a more recognisable Coen Brothers film, they have thrown every Coen Brothers cliche into this film not seeming to worry about how loosely tied together they all are. So we have yet another Coen Brothers film about someone holding something for ransom, yet another Coen Brothers film about bungled transactions, yet another Coen Brothers film about ordinary people getting out of their depth, and yet another Coen Brothers film with Frances McDormand in it. Yet another with George Clooney in it for that matter. Along the way we are expected to believe that a) a woman would be so desperate for plastic surgery that she is willing to murder someone, and b) that anyone would want to even touch the character played by Tilda Swinton, let alone sleep with her. So yes, it is yet another Coen Brothers film of totally improbable circumstances.
None of which would matter if this was actually good. The problem is that it just comes across as trying so hard to be a "Coen Brothers film", that they've made sure all their classic tricks are in there at the expense of any sort of cohesion or coherence. It's a just a bit messy, and feels like very little actual thought has been put into it, which is an opinion backed up by the total cop-out of an ending they've tagged onto this film because the silliness went too far to properly finish it.
There is one good thing though; Brad Pitt. He is excellent in this film. It is almost watching for him, but once he's not in the film any more, the film really spirals into the realms of the truly ridiculous.
I was disappointed. This is no Big Lebowski. It is however not as bad as Intolerable Cruelty.

Hang on, these are meant to be short snappy reviews. I'll try to do better now;

The Lives Of Others - Won an Academy Award for best foreign language film. Definitely deserves it. It is a superb film about communist East Germany in the eighties. It's a film about rebellion, relationships, infidelity & power corruption. It is extremely good. If you haven't seen it, please do. It is brilliant. I could waffle on for ages about it, but just watch it yourselves.

Kids - I remember the controversy surrounding this film when it came out, but never actually saw it until a couple of weeks ago. It is without doubt one of the worst films I have ever seen. The key scene, the scene that sums the whole film up, is when a group of boys are talking about sex, at the same time that a group of girls are also talking about sex. The scene cuts between the two groups conversations, and it dawns on you that every single person in this film is a total utter prick. There is absolutely nothing to like about any of them. So essentially this is a film showing a day in the life of people there is absolutely no chance of you caring about. Pointlessly unpleasant, with only a thread of a storyline that most of the time doesn't seem to actually matter. I cannot put across how much I hated this film.

A History Of Violence - I've never been a fan of David Cronenberg, but I remember that when this came out, the reviews made me want to see it. I bought it on offer one day, and never got round to watching it. It sat in my bedroom for a good couple of years before I finally got round to watching it.
This film has absolutely no subtlety whatsoever. You don't have to think about anything in this film as it is all so blatantly spelled out to you, that in fact it is kind of off-putting. If you don't know exactly what is going to happen in this film the moment that Ed Harris' character calls Viggo Mortensen's character by another name, then quite frankly you are a total idiot. And if you don't know the kind of thing that's going to happen before that then there is no hope for you. This film is so in your face that you start to feel a little violated with the blatantness of it.
As much as I found wrong with this film, I actually did kind of enjoy it. Viggo Mortensen is very good, and the satisfaction of the moment coming that you've been waiting for for ages actually happening, is strangely satisfying. There is a scene in a school which similarly you can see coming a mile off, but is really satisfying to see happen anyway. In the end, this is an enjoyable, well made but brainless film, no matter how intelligent David Cronenberg would like you to think it is. It is certainly a hell of a lot better than;

Eastern Promises - which is pretty dire. Similar to "Kids", this film has absolutely no-one to care about in it. Similar to "A History Of Violence", it has absolutely no subtlety. This film however doesn't really have the pay-off moments of AHOV. And it isn't fun. Not in a "Babel" not-necessarily-nice-to-watch-but-is-really-fucking-good way, in a oh-God-this-film-is-really-boring way. "Eastern Promises" is dull. If it weren't for Viggo Mortensen, it would be virtually unwatchable. Naomi Watts who is normally very good, is just not given a chance to be anything other than bland, playing a character with no noticeable personality. Which is irritating.
This film for me, backs up what I've always said about David Cronenberg. Which is that he's rubbish. Seriously, I don't care what any of you say, "Videodrome" is fucking lame, and "Crash" is a steaming sack of horseshit. AHOV is enjoyable, but I wouldn't call it good, and "Eastern Promises", zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz............................... apart from the scene where Viggo fights the two blokes in a sauna, which is awesome, but doesn't go on for nearly long enough. Which is odd considering the totally pointless gratuity of certain scenes we see before that.

In other Axl news; I have an exam on Monday. It will be my first exam for about nine and a half years. I'm shitting myself.

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