Archive for the ‘MyBlog’ Category

Going to the Cinema

July 23, 2017

Recently there has been quite a bit of Netflix bashing from big name directors like for example here and from the film festival going crowd such as can be seen here. My personal take is that they need to understand how cinema has changed for the general public and I will do so by drawing on the cinema going experience I went through just yesterday. 

So first thing I had to book the tickets I couldn’t just turn up, the movie I wanted to see was showing every hour however I wanted to see the movie in 2D which had very limited times. Why does the industry still insist on movies being shown in 3D which everyone I speak to detests? The prices of an adult tickets themselves are £10,£11, £12 or even more. My local cinema which is no longer that local involves at least a 30 minute commute each way. So that’s an hour of my time that I’ve lost before I’ve even started watching the movie. So now I’m sitting in the cinema and before the movie has started I have to sit through 20 minutes plus of adverts. Why do I have to do that having already paid nearly £15 for a ticket? The movie starts and my fellow audience members decide that this is when they will make the most noise. The constant noise of the rustling of food packaging, soft drinks cans being opened, and worse ( the guy next to me decided to pop open a can of tuna half way through the movie!) Then there were the group of teenagers who decided to keep switching on the torch on their phone. This seemed to annoy so many people that I saw about 3-4 people leave the Cinema to complain about it (they were asked to stop by the cinema ushers eventually). The movie had bits that were subtitled, there was a woman who was slow in reading them and kept turning to her partner to ask what they said. And then there are the people who are constantly checking their mobile phone. Then imagine after going through all of that the movie you were watching wasn’t that good? (The movie I was watching was pretty damn fine but I’ve seen plenty that haven’t been.)

This ladies and gentlemen is the common cinema going experience for the general public. Is it any wonder that audience members prefer the cheap and ease of use of Netflix and similar services? 

I love going to the cinema, I agree with Scorsese when he described going to watch a film with fellow audience members as akin to a religious experience. I like the fact that I can concentrate on something I love with no distractions. However the modern cinema audience and the business model that surrounds it has gotten disfunctional. Is it any wonder that people would prefer to sit at home in the comfort of their own house with their 54″ TV and have much more control over their viewing experience? 

Andrei Tarkovsky

February 24, 2014

I’ve been going through a little Tarkovsky run recently. The movies I saw were Zerkalo and Andrei Rublev. I was thinking as I began watching them that I wouldn’t enjoy them and they would just be a films that critics raved about yet most mainstream audiences would be put off due to their art house origins. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed them. Make no mistake they are really hard going movies. Zerkalo in particular has no narrative structure to speak of it’s very much like a stream of consciousness book. It’s also incredibly autobiographical. Yet it ebbs and flows, the images are often striking and linger in the mind.

Rublev is similarly striking, when I first started watching it, I thought hang why is this in black and white? This is meant to be about the life of one of Russia’s greatest painters, his use of colour is astonishing. However it works extremely well, I also liked it because it didn’t turn into one of those films that tries to portray the creative process of the artist which has become almost a parody now in these types of films. In actual fact there is very little of Rublev throughout. There are however lots of violence, plague and horses….lots of horses. The director uses them to represent nature, creativity and vitality. The bell sequence in the last quarter of the movie is just astonishing.

The Motherbox

February 14, 2014

So was on the train coming back from Manchester and I noticed that everyone young and old were intently focused on their smart phone. It just reminded me of The Mother Box from Kirby’s new gods work. Its amazing how far technology has gone we have now this connected super computer device with an amazing amount of information available in the palm of our hands, OK it  can’t yet teleport you places but the knowledge it has and the amount we are willing to share with it is staggering.

American Hustle v 12 years a slave

January 17, 2014

There seems to be a lot of brouhaha about Hustle cleaning up at the globes, especially against a worthier film like 12 years. Having just seen both I’m going to weigh in with my thoughts. Firstly hands down I think 12 Years is a better film. I’ve never warmed to Steve McQueen’s direction but with this movie he out does himself. He knows how to compose each scene beautifully and he gets truly wonderful performances from the cast. Eljifor really deserves to win an Oscar. His quiet understated performance is masterful.

However that’s not to say that Hustle is a bad movie, it’s entertaining and the performances are great though not in a league with 12 Years. The direction though, is not up to par with O’Russell’s previous endeavours and doesn’t come close to touching McQueen. There is a bit too much hair fetish going on (see the film and you’ll understand) and ultimately the whole thing is just a puff piece.

Hustle is a cool kid’s version of what he believes cinema should be. 12 Years just tells a story beautifully and in doing so recreates and defines what film should be.

Travernier

January 17, 2014

I recently saw two excellent movies by Bertrand Travernier. Death Watch and ’round Midnight. I’ll talk more later but check them out if you get a chance
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Satyajit Ray and Japanese Cinema

April 4, 2013

I just finished watching a whole bunch of samurai movies by such legendary filmmakers as Hideo Gosha and Akira Kurosawa. I also watched Pather Panchali by the legend that is Satyajit Ray. One striking thing is how close the films resemble each other. I’m not talking so much about plot and story but the presentation. Ray was heavily influenced by Japanese film and kabuki. It shows in his film and it is something of a masterpiece in film making (Pather Panchali was Ray’s directorial debut and it won loads of awards and is pretty much regarded as a work of genius). Not only are the use of shadows and light incredibly similar to the work of Japanese film makers but also the way the actors are directed and the shots are composed. I’ve heard that Kurosawa was a huge fan of Ray’s and they met once and had a long conversation about film making. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that.

Dumb Fun

February 5, 2013

Walter Hill’s new film Bullet to the Head does exactly what it says on the tin and I enjoyed it all the more for it. It’s just a good old fashioned dumb action movie. Walter Hill can still film a good action sequence, the axe fight at the end being a particular highlight.

One thing that I do find disappointing is how lots of film critics have given it mediocre reviews while something like The Hobbit gets slightly above average reviews. I guess genre movies are out of favour. I did not enjoy The Hobbit, it was overlong and well OK it was just too long for a story that doesn’t justify the running time. Bullet however was just great fun, it reminded me of some of the action movies from my youth and while it may not be ground breaking it was short, succinct and reasonably well made without trying to be some grand epic opus. Something which I find incredibly refreshing.

Sky Falling In

November 6, 2012

**Spoilers**

So I saw the new Bond film Skyfall yesterday and overall I thought it was OK. Its not amazing and it is flawed in many ways mostly this is due to the plotting.

First the good stuff. Some of the set pieces are brilliant, I liked the opening scene and the finale in the Highlands of Scotland. It was well shot and pretty much all the actors deliver. I particularly like Ralph Fiennes I’ve become a fan of his after In Bruges.

Now the bad is as I’ve mentioned this is mostly down to the plotting. I swear they stole the whole getting captured is part of the villains plan from ‘The Dark Knight’. Moreover I never once felt like any of the heroes were in real danger, i.e. it lacked tension which I think is down to the director Sam Mendes. Even though the Highland finale is fantastically staged it seemed like it was in the wrong film. A mash up of Assault on Precinct 13 with some Straw Dogs thrown in for good measure yet lacking the tension of either of those.  Though it did look brilliant ( some excellent cinematography from Roger Deakins ). Perhaps the biggest travesty in the film was all the ‘hacker’ stuff, as a software developer I just found it sooooo silly. Hacking using a graphical map thingy? Seriously? He’s using a polymorphic algorithm? Really? That makes it hard to hack into ?

Overall it’s worth a look but it doesn’t add anything new.

I’ve thought of a new drinking  game now too after watching Bond. You have to down a shot while a cobra is wrapped around your arm. No wait make that a redback spider!

Prometheus Rewinded

June 9, 2012

Warning this blog contains massive spoilers. I found I couldn’t give my thoughts on Ridley Scott’s new film Prometheus without giving away some major plot points so please avoid if you plan to watch it.

Overall I enjoyed this film, the special effects and set design were amazing and there were enough smart ideas in the first half of it that made me think I was in for a treat. However it all fell apart for me and this was mostly down to the disintegration of the plot and a complete lack of well thought out characterisation. The film suffered from multiple personality syndrome. It starts of on an intriguing premise in man’s search for his beginnings then veers off toward sci-fi horror and finally ending in some weird sci-fi action flick with a bit of Alien shoehorned in at the end. Characters would make decisions that bordered on the surreal. Like the geologist who signs up for the mission then gets scared the moment he encounters anything weird, then gets lost, then dies horribly. What? Ditto the xenobiologist. I’ll just try and stroke the freaky looking worm thing because hey its not like we are on earth where there are animals that can actually kill you. They find a room containing weird alien shit and they just start touching it. They find that the air is breathable so they take their masks off? Umm shouldn’t the zenobiologist have done his job and mentioned bacteria? I will confess the self caesarian scene was brilliantly done and a highlight of the movie but it made no sense I mean, there was no one else on the ship to take her side? The scientist boyfriend gets drunk because he didn’t find the beings that created man, forgetting that he’s probably made THE scientific discovery. Would a scientist really do that?

The acting was not bad with Fassbender being a highlight, but lets be clear he’s no Ian Holm and I missed Harry Dean Stanton and John Hurt, towards the end he actually started to annoy me and underneath all those quirks you never get a sense of who he is.Theron and Rapace were actually pretty good. The remaining actors where just ciphers you never really got much of a feel for them so when the self sacrifice ending came you were just left saying “meh!”

Anyway it was a good movie even with my rant above, just not clearly thought out. People are saying its down to Lindeoff the script writer as he doesn’t understand movies since he came from the TV show Lost but still that’s no excuse other people should have realised.

Avengers Assemble!

May 1, 2012

Overall I thought this film was highly entertaining and the best superhero movie this year and it’s certainly going to give dark knight rises a run for its money. However in the interest of fun and laziness I’m going to give the good and the bad in point form. Let me stress that the bad are all minor quibbles and the good stuff far outweighs it…and I mean far! Spoilers beware!

Good

  1. Hulk – best depiction ever.
  2. Black Widow fight scenes.
  3. Joss Whedon – Really brought something fresh and new to the genre
  4. The jokes – see Joss Whedon
  5. Tom Hiddleton – made a great villain

Bad

  1. Avengers Assemble! – WTF! Why didn’t they just call it The Avengers. Seriously I mean we all know its The Avengers! What you think Steed is going to make an appearance in a Bowler hat?
  2. Hawkeye – He was really underwritten and didn’t have much to do. Shame cause he is one of my favs
  3. Aliens – They were a bit underwhelming and not really well developed.
  4. More Nick Fury – It would have been nice if Samuel L Jackson had said “Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking superheroes on this motherfucking Helicarrier!” I would have paid double to hear that.