Sunday, January 27, 2008
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
"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
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
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.
An uneasy film, with uncertain performances from the three leads. De Niro acts as if to say: what next, after Goodfellas and Cape Fear? (I'm not sure he has the answer yet). Uma Thurman hasn't quite worked out how to be Uma Thurman. But Bill Murray begins to develop the nuanced weariness that finally hits the mark in Rushmore and Lost In Translation.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Zodiac seems to have come from a parallel version of 2007, where 70s movies like Taxi Driver, The Conversation and Don't Look Now became the norm rather than a blip.
And it makes Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man sound irretrievably sinister. There's nothing about this movie that I don't like.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
At times a bit like an adult version of a John Hughes Breakfast Club-style movie. Like its characters, this movie tries, and largely succeeds, in doing something new. Even better, the poster reminds me of the cover of Lou Reed's Berlin. I'd love to see a spin-off TV series...
Remember that joyful time in the early 90s when all those clever medium-low budget Miramax movies were coming out? Reservoir Dogs is to this period what Star Wars was to the 1970s American new wave. The zenith, and the beginning of the end. Au revoir, les enfants.