Monday, October 31, 2011

10 moments to cherish...The Help

1. "You is kind. You is smart. You is important." From this moment there is no way that you could support the cruel nature of society against women such as Viola Davis' Aibileen; she deserves the respect that is instead given to the wholly undeserving employer.
2. Jessica Chastain may give my favourite performance in the film and her odd coupling with the equally fun Octavia Spencer is blissful. Her excitement as she shows Spencer the house and her reaction when Spencer agrees to work for her are wonderful. Chastain squeals with joy. Who wouldn't want to hang out with thee two? Which brings me to the third moment...
3. ...where Chastain ignores Spencer's protests and they eat their meal at the same table.
4. "Eat my shit!"
5. Sissy Spacek's reaction to, "Eat my shit!" Spacek should play loopy-yet-wise characters more often.
6. Alison Janney firing her maid. Ouch.
7. Chastain accidentally ripping Bryce Dallas Howard's sleeve. This is the first moment of many where Howard's malicious crown begins to slip...
8. Spacek inviting a gentlemen friend for a night cap after putting Howard in her place.
9. Chastain giving Spencer a food-orientated surprise. Completely over sentimental. I loved it.
10. Davis finally unleashing her frustration on Howard. It is worth the wait. "You are Godless woman!"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Relationships musings.

"You know what it's like when you sleep with someone you don't know. You like the blank canvas, and it gives you the opportunity to project onto that blank canvas what you want to be."

Monday, October 17, 2011

We're in a club now x4

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Smile.

In the final moments of Paddy Considine's Tyrannosaur, Joseph (Paul Mullan) states one of the main reasons why Hannah (Olivia Colman) initially attracted his interest is her smile. It is easy to see why in a world so cruel that such a feature would bring some brightness...if only the smile would remain.

On a side note, the film is a hugely impressive and disturbing depiction of humanity at its most cruel. It is a tough watch but most definitely a worthwhile one.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

10 thoughts on...The Adventures of Tintin

1. The opening credit sequence is spectacular. Steven Spielberg has bettered his previous best (Catch Me If You Can).
2. This really feels like the first in a series of films rather than a standalone piece. The conclusion can only be described as underwhelming, although it did leave me wanting more. Much more.
3. I was disappointed not to hear the theme tune from the television series and, also, by John Williams' score which does not add much sense of adventure.
4. I felt like a child for the whole of the 107-minute running time.
5. There is a definite sense that Spielberg and co. indulged in the action sequences. The final showdown suffers when significant characters are momentarily forgotten so the action offers no sense of consequence and is therefore quite dull. This, thankfully, is not a problem in previous set-ups where character, story and action are intertwined miraculously.
6. The animation is terrific. This goes far and beyond the successes of Avatar and proves that all the ambition behind films such as The Polar Express and Beowolf was not in vain.
7. I'm still not convinced that 3D adds anything to cinematic narratives.
8. At the start of this month I predicted that this would be an Oscar nominee for Best Picture. Now I'm not sure. If it is as big a hit as Avatar was in 2009/2010, then I'm sure it is very probable. But I predict that critics and audiences will be much cooler in their response to this. Plus Spielberg will be pushing War Horse to the Academy. Still, many technical nominations seem a certainty. And will this be eligible for Best Animated Feature?
9. I love Snowy.
10. When can we have the next film?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A quick rant. Like Crazy

It is rare that a film will frustrate me thoroughly. It is even rarer that there should two such films in the same year (the other being Tree of Life).

Like spending 90 minutes with an adolescent yet to suffer any realities of the world, Like Crazy is an incessant moan with a series of events that are as inauthentic as they are idiotic. Of course this style of narrative is popular in cinema, think Sex and the City or Bridget Jones' Diary yet there lacks any motivation for an audience to root for these thoughtless protagonists. Felicity Jones is painful, her genuine confusion when told she cannot re-enter American soil after breaking her initial visa exposes an innately selfish and immature character. And she never progresses from this stage. Anton Yelchin seems to follow her desires/orders and is unlikable for the pure reason that he supports her actions. I hoped that he would grow some balls but this never came to fruition...instead we were left with a film that seems to genuinely believe in this absurd relationship. The problem with this is that it leaves the film as immature as its two leads.

What is more surprising than this is the quality of the filmmaking: whoever is responsible for the continuity should be forced to watch this on repeat (and I wouldn't wish that on anybody), the transitions between time and space are lazy and unimaginative, and the set locations are ill conceived.

On a positive note, it did give Jennifer Lawrence and Alex Kingston some moments to shine. Unfortunately they seem to have been overshadowed by Jones who gained Oscar momentum back at Sundance this year. Hopefully that buzz is (deservedly) short-lived. If I never see her again it will be too soon.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Death is the road to awe.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Top of the class. Walt Disney's feature-length animations.

After ten months of celebration the 50th Disney feature-length animation with the chronological screenings of each film at the BFI, I feel it is only right to mark the event in some way. And I love a top ten...even if it almost feels pointless when there are much more than 10 terrific films from Walt Disney. So here we go...

10. Aladdin (1992)
As with all of Disney's greatest films, it is the strength of the story and character that makes this such a success. How could you not root for this titular boy who dreams of more, becomes embroiled in the dastardly plan of the villain then saves the day and gets the princess? Wonderful!
Highlight: Prince Ali

9. The Rescues (1987)
Not usually considered one of the better Disney films but it deserves its place here for its moody animation, twist on the conventional formula (the young protagonist is rescued rather than escaping herself) and fantastic dynamic between Miss Bianca and Bernard. I think Pixar must have taken note of this success...
Highlight: Miss Bianca's voice.

8. Dumbo (1941)
The family unit is underrepresented in the Disney universe, but its depiction here is nothing short of heart-wrenching. The relationship between Dumbo and his mother drives the narrative, making this one of the most emotional of Disney's films. I cried here more than I ever did for the death of Bambi's mother.
Highlight: Baby mine. I'm a 'mommy's boy'. 

7. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
The most naive of all Disney protagonists is also one of its sweetest. Who could ever want to harm a soul as incessantly pure as Snow White's? And who could not fall for such a simple tale with seven fantastic sidekicks and one of the scariest villains in cinema.
Highlight: The transformation of the Evil Queen

6. Hercules (1997)
This thrillingly animated, energetically scored and well structured post-modern tale of the titular Greek God is as entertaining as Disney can be. And, alongside The Emperor's New Groove, is one of the funniest.
Highlight: "My friends call me Meg. At least they would if I had any friends." Meg is still my favourite Disney character.

5. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
The Disney film that probably should never have been made. The source material is simply too complex for the conventions they have been forced within...yet it is hard to deny the many successes here (especially in comparison to Pocahontas which had dealt with equally complex issues with lesser results). There are many glorious moments that pair music, story, character and animation that cannot fail to thrill an audience.
Highlight: The haunting sequence where Quasimodo is crowned The King of Fools. This is as cruel as Disney ever dared to be, and the film is all the better for such moments.

4.  Pinocchio (1940)
Disney's second feature-length animation shows what could have been if the company had not fallen into financial issues that led them to returning to the princess formula of Snow White with Cinderella, the film that saved the company and set it on a very definite path of animation and storytelling style. Pinocchio is a character whose youthful mistakes create the obstacles that he must overcome to become a real boy, he is not as pure as your average Disney protagonist (from Snow White to Rapunzel).
Highlight: The escape from Pleasure Island.

3. The Little Mermaid (1989)
The animation is definitely not as accomplished as many other Disney films but the redirection of the Disney film arrived with this film, which perfectly matched story with character and song. The subsequent offerings may have become increasingly ambitious with themes and character, but this is a huge statement that Disney's renaissance had begun.
Highlight: King Triton bidding farewell to his daughter. Heartbreaking.

2. Bambi (1942) 
The most poetic storytelling by Disney animation. And the most adult. As with Pinocchio, it is a shame that the films of the company became so conventional as this is the strongest proof that they had/have much more to offer than aspirational adolescents. And this was, by far, the most stunning of all the Disney re-releases I revisited this year.
Highlight: Twitterpation

1. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
This is cinema at its greatest. The characters, the music, the story, the themes, the settings...it is faultless. And it is blissful. 
Highlight: The dedication to Howard Ashman. Completely deserved.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Subtitled wisdom.

Friday, October 14, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 30

Day 30: Your Favourite Film This Time Last Year...Moulin Rouge!

I have many films that I would consider my favourites but it is easy for me to name the one film that stands out from the rest. I have already noted Moulin Rouge! for its unashamed celebration of love, life and creativity and how it ignited my young self like nothing else. There is no competition.

And that is the end of the 30 Day Film Challenge. It has been fun. And it has taken much longer than 30 days. Perhaps I'll revisit it in a few years...

Friday, October 14, 2011

How do you describe a feeling?

 "War!"

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gratuitous male lusting x4

Thursday, October 13, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 29

Day 29: Your Favourite Film As A Kid...FernGully: The Last Rainforest

FernGully: The Last Rainforest is the first film I remember becoming obsessive about. I remember waiting for my parents to buy the video which, somehow, I knew would come with FernGully stickers. It was all I ever wanted. And I'm sure the VHS was one of my greatest treasures of my childhood.

This was obviously a short-term commitment as I haven't seen the film since my childhood but I am surprised to discover that it had two of my favourite voice-talents, Robin Williams and Tim Curry (as the deliciously evil villain), and most definitely think it should be an addition to my DVD collection.

Honourable mentions: Beauty and the Beast, E.T. Extra Terrestrial, Edward Scissorhands, Peter Pan, Pinocchio

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An irresistible question...from Mia Wasikowska

"What kind of man...

 ...would ask a girl to marry him without ever having kissing her?"


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dreaming.

"I just wanted to see what it would be like to live in that picture."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011