Archive for May, 2011

Aguirre, Wrath of God

May 30, 2011

I’ve wanted to blog about this movie for some time now. Its a brilliant work and probably in my list of favourite movies of all time. From the opening shot as the soldiers work their way down the Andes into the rainforest to the Kurtz like journey down the Amazon river. Its a fantastic mediation on madness, colonialism and the pursuit of power. I’m not going to burden you with details of how mad the shoot was. Just google it and you will find all the craziness that went on. This is cinema at its most brilliant and lurid. It also shows just how much of a visionary director Herzog is. He’s interested in constructing images and sounds into a narrative that would leave most directors for dust.

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Vin Diesel Vs The Rock Vs Thor Vs Hanna

May 8, 2011

I saw Fast Five recently as well as Thor and Hanna, they’ve all been release here in London around the same time and I thought I’d do my review of each by comparing them against one another. This makes no sense whatsoever but I thought why not? My favourite of the bunch was Fast Five, ok you are probably thinking I’ve lost the plot but here me out. Fast Five “does exactly what is says on the tin”, you go in expecting car chases, hot women and a suspension of all the laws of physics and the film delivers. Then on top of that you get Dwayne Johnson who actually pretty much walks away from it as a bad ass mofo. Its over the top, though very well directed by Justin Lin – the action pieces are great and look like some thought was put into it unlike Michael ‘lets just film another explosion in slow motion’ Bay. Thor and Hanna both left me feeling a bit cold. I didn’t really enjoy watching either of them as much as I did Fast. Don’t get me wrong they are both fine movies, with great directors behind the helm but they didn’t really deliver. I know people are raving about Thor but to me it was just a very average movie. Hanna likewise is very well shot and had moments that were great but again it just didn’t live up to the trailer and the middle bit just sagged for me. There was too much running around to Chemical Brothers soundtrack. If I was at home and channel hoping and came across Hanna I’d think I was watching a new Chemical Brothers music video. Also the director can’t do action…

Directing a good action sequence requires genuine talent and very few directors fall into this category. Even Justin Lin the director of Fast isn’t quite there yet but he is much closer to it then the directors of the other movies I’ve mentioned today.

Oh and one more thing. All the movies mentioned were FAR TOO LONG! A lot of reviews of films in general all have the same comments about length. It seems to me to be a real problem and it’s actually destroying the narrative flow of the movie. I would probably have liked Hanna a lot more if it had been much more tighter and I would have thought Fast was pure genius if it had shaved about 20 minutes off….well OK maybe not but definitely even more fun!

Murder By Contract

May 3, 2011

Wow! I mean Wow! This film is amazing. I would post the trailer from youtube but it gives too much away about the movie so avoid it, go straight to the source! The acting and the plot are terrific, and the camera work is outstanding – by the legendary Lucien Ballard ( see Sam Peckinpah ) All the more so considering that the movie was shot in seven days…seven days! No modern Hollywood director could produce anything so perfect in 7 days. It has a very different feel from your typical noir, a lot is probably down to the budget but I think that encouraged the producers to think outside the box, both in terms of plot and in the way scenes are composed and shot. As one critic comments “it doesn’t look restricted, it looks restrained.” Scorsese has stated that it had an influence on him – if I’d have known that I would have watched this movie much sooner.