3 March 2012

NOTES ON DVD VIEWING 4

Road to Nowhere
ROAD TO NOWHERE (Dir. Monte Hellman, 2011, US) - Monte Hellman’s film is one of the most self reflexive I have come across in a while. The story of a director who sets out to make a film based on true events results in a series of offbeat encounters, producing a tone which one could only describe as Lynchian.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (Dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011, Turkey) - The images Ceylan gives us are indelible. A police procedural combined with a lyrical feel for landscapes makes for one of Ceylan’s most poetic films. The film also features one of the most surreal car journeys in film history.

THE INTERRUPTERS (Dir. Steve James, 2011, US) - Interrupters are ex gang members who spend their days intervening in gang disputes and preventing violence from taking place. Set in Chicago and predominately in the black community, The Interrupters is a powerful ideological analysis of gang violence.

GANGSTER NO. 1 (Dir. Paul McGuigan, 2000, UK/Germany/Ireland) - A disappointing British gangster film which uses a strangely unconvincing voice over and predictable narrative. The saving grace is a snarling Malcolm McDowell who is brilliant in the final sequences.

The Shop Around The Corner
THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 1940, US) - Ernst Lubitsch’s 1940 masterpiece has not aged in the slightest. This is a superior romantic comedy and an intelligent take on relationships. The dialogue is sharp, witty and brilliant.

IN TIME (Dir. Andrew Niccol, 2011, US) - Another perfectly shaped science fiction allegory. It’s not surprising this one bypassed American audiences as it actually had something ideologically worthwhile to say about class. Not sure about the slightly compromised ending.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE (Dir. Rob Reiner, 1987, US) - I can’t believe I hadn’t seen this classic American eighties fantasy film. With a great script by Goldman (based on his own novel), this is a sophisticated and superbly told postmodern critique on heroism and storytelling. A great feel good movie.

QUIET CITY (Dir. Aaron Katz, 2007, US) - In my personal opinion, Aaron Katz is one of the smartest American independent directors working today. Quiet City is a film about two lost youth slackers who randomly meet one night and become good friends. It is a film that captures the essence of the Mumblecore movement.

Quiet City Opening Title Card
CINDERELLA MAN (Dir. Ron Howard, 2005, US) - This might be one of Ron Howard’s best films. I don’t rate him as a director but this downbeat boxing film proves an important point; that the marketing dept of most major film studios haven’t a clue or interest in how to market films which attempt to critique the status quo especially the American dream. This is a great genre piece and Russell Crowe’s actually quite good in the lead role.

ABSENCE OF MALICE (Dir. Sydney Pollack, 1981, US) - This is a well made studio film which seems particularly relevant today given the current focus on the ethics of the news print industry. Sally Field plays a journalist who is only interested in the story and this leads to the distortion of plain truths, the invasion of privacy and a dubious relationship with wider public bodies.

THE GREY (Dir. Joe Carnahan, 2012, US) - Carnahan finally shows the promise of his early film Narc and with Liam Neeson in the lead role, The Grey is a survivalist genre film with a strangely philosophical edge. Terrifically poised ending.

IMMORTALS (Dir. Tarsem Singh, 2011, US) - Tarsem Singh understands the image but unfortunately even his visual finesse cannot salvage this confusing and empty historical action epic. Henry Cavill, the next Superman, is in the main lead with a supporting cast made up of John Hurt, Mickey Rourke and Freida Pinto.

1 comment:

  1. A little bit off topic but I finally show Citizen Kane the other day and thought it was brilliant. The picture of the film The Shop Around The Corner made me think of Citizen Kane.

    ReplyDelete