Well, movies I’ve seen recently. I’m putting this here more for my benefit that anyone else’s – I have a memory like a, oh you know, round thing with holes in it, and I use the Internet to remember things for me.
- Metropolis : bloody awesome. And very, very deep. Even if it does beat you over the head with the moral – and it’s a disturbingly cryptofascist moral (given where von Harbou later took it.)
- M : made just four years later by Lang, it’s remarkable how far the technology of filmmaking had advanced. Anyway. It’s an astonishing film, mainly because of Peter Lorre’s sympathetic portrayal of a child murderer. His impassioned speech at the end is one of the most remarkable pieces of acting I’ve ever seen: “Ich muß – ich will nicht – ich muß – ich WILL NICHT!”
- Tron Legacy : oh dearie, dearie me. The conceit of computer programs going to a night club in their idle time somehow worked in 1982, somehow it doesn’t now. More seriously, we’re all used to photorealistic CGI now, and when the virtual world is photorealistic, it doesn’t look… well, virtual any more. And I’m not even going to mention what was laughably called a plot. Still, pretty I suppose. And Michael Sheen was obviously enjoying himself.
- It Happened One Night : a lovely, lovely screwball comedy from 1934 with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. So good to see it on the big screen. Beautifully acted with a light touch, and incredibly well shot. And Claudette – definitely. Until her legs fell off.
- Monsters - interesting low budget scifi from auteur Gareth Edwards about a couple trying to make their way across an northern Mexico infected with alien creatures. Some nice character work, good effects (for the budget) but a few problems with the pacing. Tries too hard to be understated. But I suspect it might stay with me.
- Skeletons – I’ll go on about again, because it was awesome. Inception, done as a low-budget British comedy. Just bloody wonderful, see it if you can get hold of a copy.
An Irish cinema has been warning customers off seeing Bruno because "it’s particularly vile." If you phoned their showtimes answerphone, you get a message saying
Bruno is particularly vile. It leads to a hell of a lot of complaints from people who say ‘we didn’t think it was going to be that bad’. It is that bad – it will offend every prejudice in the book, believe me, so don’t come on after the film and tell us how horrible it was… One or two people have enjoyed it though.
The message has now changed, but you can hear the old one on Youtube.
Choice quote : "The Moynalty Virgins Club were in last night and they say it’s unmissable."
…may be often be insufferable, but his video review of Transformers 2 is genius.
This is the remainder of the pictures from Saturday night’s Life of Brian screening up at the Arts Centre. It was a fantastic occasion – Messrs. Palin and Jones were fine gentlemen, and seemed genuinely happy to be there, taking a lot of time to chat to people about anything. I remember Terry Jones talking to some lad for about 20 minutes on (I think) the Wars of the Roses. It was organised as a champagne reception beforehand, which also became a bit of a signing session – but there was plenty of time to chat; then the film – I’d forgotten quite how good it was, and it was excellent to see it on the big screen; then a half-hour Q&A, which only stopped when Sue Jones-Davies decided that Palin and Jones really ought to get some dinner! Really, really wonderful night.
Oh dear. More pictures here, by the way.
There, in the background, as Scotty.
Here’s Sylar, sorry, Spock, in the process of eating someone’s brain to take their powers. No, that’s not right either, it is?
"Down with this sort of thing!"
Also reminded of a parochial character from (I think) something by Le Guin, who, when asked what the People From Over There were really like, replied with a line along the lines of "They are black and evil! I have never seen one!"
And last night’s film (well, there’s a festival on) was Getting Home, a Chinese comedy about a guy trying to fulfill a promise carry his dead friend back to his family. Nice, light entertainment, with a lovely hero. The most interesting thing, though, was the er.. Chinese attitudes: construction sites are viewed as exciting hubs of progress and comradeship; the police are stern but helpful; Tibet is a tourist destination; the Three Gorges flooding may lead to many personal tragedies but the path of progress must not be halted; the ‘aid centres’ for homeless people in big cities are friendly places with good food and talent shows! Very odd. It did, however, acknowledge the existence of a lot of the problems in China, which is a big step – corruption, homelessness, banditry, unlicensed medical practices, the Three Gorges problems..
Incidentally, we only just got to see the film – there are only two English-subtitled prints in existence, and the one we were due to see was held up in (of all places) Tehran. Eventually the organiser begged access the other print – at a festival in California – so that was sent over. At which point the first print turned up, of course.
What if Fritz Lang and a time-travelling Terry Gilliam had, in the 1920s, used a steam-powered top-secret digital computer to make an allegorical near-silent film about the corporate control of the media in the 21st Century?
No, that’s not it. How about a steampunk Jeunet et Caro?
That’s not quite right, either. How about a beautiful Argentine black-and-white film with a luscious tango soundtrack and arresting images, telling – with the aid of some unsubtle but always fun semiotics and homages – how easy it is to lose one’s voice and how hard it can be to keep it. And how, even when you’ve lost your voice, they can still take more from you; and how important it is to keep control of the ability to make yourself heard.
Lovely. Here’s a better review than mine.