Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dogma (1999)

Not Kevin Smith's best film (that would be Chasing Amy), but a great piece of work, both personal and epic. The scene with Alan Rickman and Linda Fiorentino at the lake is just beautiful.

And how strange to watch a ten-year-old movie and think: 'They couldn't get away with that these days.'

Batman Begins (2005)

Featuring an astoundingly tense performance by Katie Holmes, acting throughout as if a fire-alarm is going off in the background.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Easy to admire, difficult to love.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis' visual sophistication comes lumbered with remarkably crude plot and characterisation. More than any other classic silent film, this one demonstrates why the coming of sound was so important to the movies. It allowed actors to develop stillness and subtlety, neither of which are much in evidence here. The frenetic acting may fit in with the concept of the super-fast mechanised world, but carried over two hours, it's completely exhausting.

Still, Metropolis is well worth seeking out in the restored version, in which the wilder excesses of Rudolf Klein-Rogge's acting are tempered by having the correct subtitles (so we now know he's actually getting worked up about his dead wife rather than improved factory production).

And wouldn't you rather date the evil robot Maria than the good genuine article?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

"So, what we got now is Brokeback Mountain, everything's built on that, that's all we got." Hardly. Watching Ledger's performances progress from livewire goofiness in Ten Things through to pained stillness in Brokeback, and on to something altogether stranger in The Dark Knight has been one of the more pleasurable journeys in cinema in the last decade. And now - alas - the journey is over.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Night Listener (2006)

Is this a roman à clef? A psychological thriller? A black comedy? I don't know. And neither do the people who made it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Blade Runner (1982)

For all the tweaks Ridley Scott applied for the Final Cut, one of the main strengths of Blade Runner is its use of rough-edged in-camera special effects. Compare the weighty, muscular replicants here with the featherweight CGI creations in I Robot or I Am Legend.