Archive for the ‘ Film ’ Category

A genius idea

An interesting idea – telling the story of the demise of a silent movie star through a silent movie. ‘The Artist’ was a little gem – a truly touching love story. Funny and sad with a happy ending that also managed to send itself up. I came out smiling.

I think I might read the book…

I was settling in for what looked like a bit like a police procedural – more suited to the small screen than the big. Then, about half an hour into ‘Headhunters’ it all went mental. You were at the protagonist’s side as he tried to figure out what was going on and were complicit in his mistakes. This lasted until the final twist, when the audience were only half in on the plot. A very satisfying film. I haven’t read the Jo Nesbo book it is based on but if it is as immersive as the film, I might just add it to my ‘must read’ list.

The tables are turned…

Many years ago, I went to see ‘Life if Brian’ in France. It was rather unsettling to be one of the few people laughing at certain points in the film – national humour doesn’t always completely travel. Watching ‘The Fairy’ – a French film – I wondered whether I was having the experience in reverse. It was a quirky film and, at some points, I laughed out loud. But at others, I just didn’t get it. It felt like a series of sketches, some of which worked and some of which failed. At the end, I was left with the question “If Fiona wasn’t a fairy, how did the man fly?” Sometimes it is better just to suspend belief and go with the flow. Good fun, but patchy.

50/50 = 100%

So it’s London Film Festival time and I’m indulging in my annual orgy of good, bad and just plain weird films. The biggest surprise so far – 50/50, a beautifully judge piece about friendship, family and cancer. It turned out to be more about what wasn’t said than what was – most clearly shown when the cancer sufferer’s crass best friend’s brash personna was betrayed by the heavily highlighted cancer book in his bathroom. Nothing was said, but his actions were put into a whole new context. The most difficult thing around cancer is being yourself.

This was a very funny tearjerker – I recommend it.

Battleship Potemkin – finally…

The great thing about is that I can catch up on the classics and I finally watched Battleship Potemkin – prepared to be disappointed – and was amazed at how well it has stood the test of time. The famous Odessa steps sequence was as powerful as advertised, but there were lesser gems – the sailors claustrophobically swinging in hammocks below decks, the rejected bowls of disgusting soup swaying gently on hanging tables – gradually building the picture of bad treatment leading to revolution. It was manipulative and simplistic-and you absolutely knew what was coming and yet… when the soliers shot the mother carrying her injured child towards them to get help, I felt genuine anger.

Another silent classic, Pandora’s Box, unsettled me because it challenged what I expected to see in a film of that era. I was expecting simplistic and actually got a much more sophisticated take on love and lust. I guess there’s a reason they are classics – but not always the same reason.

Kamui – unexpected delight

This is the last film I will see in this year’s London Film Festival – even though it is still going strong – and I hoped that it would be a good one. It started off in classic ninja style with lots of trick fighting and flying through the air. I settled back to enjoy it – and then it turned into something else altogether. The martial arts aspect was minimal, the film was almost multi genre – historical, thriller with a twist and romance. Its focus was on the common folk rather than on the elite, either ninja or royal. I spent 2 hours never quite sure what was going to happen next, thinking that I did, and then being surprised. At one point a giant shark suddenly jumped over a small fishing boat and the whole audience gasped – not often a shark gets that response after Jaws took away the suspense!

The end also was unexpected, but somehow fitting – a tribute to the human spirit and the power of principles. 4 out of 5 for this one – not a classic, but something more than the normal kick, fly and jump martial arts film.