Recent Viewing

I’ve watched a silly number of films this month. Here are some thoughts..

True Romance

4 starAn old favourite of mine, still a great watch 3rd time around.  I recently discovered that True Romance and Natural Born Killers were written by Tarantino as one story.  Meaning that this is essentially the prequel to NBK.  He sold the rights as two films to different people, in order to fund the production of Reservoir Dogs.


Millers Crossing

4.5starMagnificent in every department.  The acting is superb without exception, the script is amazing and subtle enough to keep you on your toes, it’s amazing to look at, the hats are badass, it’s funny, the music is beautiful, and importantly, it leaves you to decide whether Tom knew what he was doing all along, or just playing the angles as they came.

“Maybe we can have tea together” 


Mesrine Parts 1 & 2

3.5 starCassel is electric, but Part One especially was a bit too episodic and lacked any rhythm, jumping from one big event to the next without much in between.  Very good, but not great.


Hurt Locker

4 starWorth its nominations.  The set was incredible, it was hard to believe they weren’t actually in Baghdad.  The bomb disposal scenes were seriously immersive, I couldn’t take my eyes off them as the tension and paranoia was built up.


Star Trek

3starNever liked the TV show or the older films, but found this to be a pleasant surprise.  It felt fresh and vibrant, with some good laughs as well.  I’ll definitely be seeing the sequel when it’s released.

“As YOU were!”


Alien vs. Predator

1.5stqrTerrible.  The only quote on the DVD is attributed to someone called Paul Anderson.  The producer of the film is also someone called Paul Anderson.  I think that says it all.  Also the worst tagline ever …

“whoever wins…. we lose”


Dr Strangelove

4 starPeter Sellars produces, in my opinion, one of the greatest performances of all time, playing three central characters all to perfection (Eddie Murphy be ashamed!).  Hilarious and scary at the same time, no other film has captured the insanity of war so successfully.

“You can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”


Marley & Me

2.5starAbsolutely fine.  Didn’t make me cringe like i had assumed it would.  I laughed a couple of times and felt sad when i was supposed to.  If I had to describe it in two words i think ‘quite nice’ would sum up the bland, harmless nature of it.

“I’ll miss your laugh”


Platoon

2.5starA Vietnam film with the same rating as Marley & Me says a lot.   Charlie Sheen is poor, the pretentious music doesn’t add anything and is overplayed, the narration made me cringe and lacked any emotional resonance and the fighting scenes are no better than ‘good’.  Having said that a couple of the scenes did genuinely shock me and Sheen and Dr. Cox apart there were some good performances.


A Prophet

3.5 starYou have to be in the right mood for this one, it’s a tough long watch, but well worth it.  An understated, brutally realistic story set in a Parisian prison, following a new inmate and his gradual rise to the top of the local crime world.


Little Miss Sunshine

3.5 starReally enjoyed it, Steve Carell’s character was the standout for me, his development from the lowest possible point at the start of the film was pretty moving.  A good few laugh out loud moments as well.  The pageant scene made me REALLY uncomfortable, but i think that was kind of the point.


Local Hero

3.5 starCharming and delightful, would be my two words for this little gem.  As a scot i didn’t mind the slightly over romanticised view of Scotland.  One of the best British films out there, and one of the best endings i’ve seen recently.


The Exorcist

4 starMy first time, and honestly i expected it would be a bit of a let down.  It wasn’t.  The exorcism is one of the most electrifying scenes i’ve ever had the joy of watching.  20 minutes of pure cinema, at its absolute best.  It felt fresh and exciting 37 years after its initial release.  It was the version with the ‘spider-walk’ in it, which was totally out of place.  I can see why they left it out originally.


The Wrestler

3.5 starMickey Rourke is outstanding, in many ways playing himself.  It all felt very real, partly due to the hand-held ‘following’ camera, and also due to the excellent performances.  The scene of randy walking through the supermarket to the deli counter, with the sounds of a cheering, chanting  crowd gets me every time.


Oh Brother Where Art Thou

3star

Far from being up there with the Coens best work, but very enjoyable nonetheless.  Loved the music.


The Bourne Supremacy

3.5 starA good solid action thriller, very well done.  Just enough in it to keep you thinking and great car chases.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

2 starIt’s generally a bad sign when you start mocking a film half way through.  Melodramatic tripe.  The ageing was convincing, but that was it.  So many obvious set-ups for emotional moments later on (the hummingbird chat, his dad mentioning the lake, teaching the piano).  Poor.


Stardust

2.5starFor what it is, a soppy-lovey-happyending-fairytale… I thought it was done rather well.  I was never going to LOVE it, but I enjoyed it, I laughed a fair bit and it didn’t drag.  The two main characters were fairly annoying though, if they’d died I wouldn’t exactly have been distraught.


No Man’s Land

3.5 starSet during the conflict in Bosnia as 3 soldiers are stuck in a trench between the two front lines.  This is not a sweeping war epic, instead it  follows the opposing soldiers in the single trench over 36hours.  Intense, interesting and at times funny, with a gut wrenching yet strangely beautiful  final shot that is still with me a week on.  Just a little too much time invested in the seriously annoying TVreporter.


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2 comments

    • Yeah i was on holiday between semesters at Uni and had access to two different Universities Libraries, both of which had huge free DVD collections. Those were the days. Miller’s Crossing is one of my all-time favourites.


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