Film Reviews for: Shame, Soldier of God, Anna Karenina and First Men in the Moon
I am a big Michael Fassbender fan. His performance in Inglorious Basterds was up there with the Brandos and Pacino’s of this world. He holds this movie together with a taught, up-tight performance but the movie doesn’t quite deliver. It stops one base short of a home run. Which is a shame because it’s beautifully filmed, paced and has all the ingredients for a good movie. The locations are very evocative of emotional breakdown which is what you basically see happening. An emotionally repressed young exec – Fassbender is seeking release through sexual-obsession. He is willing to try anything with anyone and has retreated into this world. His workplace provides a sort of second family for him and is the only place he actually connects with people. Into his life, against his will, comes his emotionally fraught little sister – sissy, played by Carey Mulligan. Their parents are no longer around and she seems on the edge of a breakdown. He resents bitterly her pull on his emotions and the clash pushes her even closer to the edge. She is a semi-professional singer and the scene of her performance in a club made my teeth grind. Carey Mulligan has a good, but untrained voice and the over-egged delivery of New York, New York – in New York, acapella, was a little painful. If Fassbender’s character hadn’t stayed silent, when asked if he though it was good, I would have really disliked this film. The main protagonist’s essential taste is one of things that holds this together. This movie had the potential to be a 4/5 or 5/5 but it doesn’t quite get there. I think the writer just didn’t want to take the risk that would have been necessary to actually say something of value. I am all for movies that start from nowhere and end nowhere – existential movies in the 60s and early 70s excelled at this – even in Hollywood (I am thinking of a James Caan film where he is a hitman wanting to retire). Those movies start with an unusual premise but this movie just builds around a disfunctional family – nothing unusual these days – 3/5. Continue reading “Film Reviews”
I have been busy over the last few weeks. Have finished Chapter 1 of Iron II and also Chapter 1 of the follow up to Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate. It’s all top secret though so I can’t say anything. Instead here are some reviews of films I have seen lately:
The Bridges of Toko-Ri.
On the face of it just standard 50s Korean War drama starring William Holden and Grace Kelly. But look again. Apparently Holden only took the part on the understanding that the books sad ending would not be changed by the Director. And it pays off. I haven’t read the book but it must be very thoughtful. Holden’t character, Harry Brubaker was a hero pilot in WWII and then became a lawyer. However he is called up to fly jets in Korea and gets involved in the mission to bomb a set of bridges which are a key supply route from China and consequently very heavily defended. You might think Aha! 633 Squadron all over again but no – the film veers away from that kind of feat of daring-do. Instead we find out that Holden’s character is afraid of fighting. He has a wife, Nancy – ably played in one of her last films by Grace kelly, and two children and he just has too much to lose. Also he can’t understand why he has been called up when his status was completely inactive when reservists are still at home. Is it something to do with his ace-status?
Continue reading “Film Reviews: The Bridges at Toko-Ri, Enter the Void and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”
I finally got to read this wonderful little novel (read the novel and not the novella – my friend Gary informs me that the longer one is better) on holiday and I have been pondering it before writing anything about it. I also saw the film afterwards so I comment on that later:
Flowers for Algernon – The Novel
I must say this is the ideal book for the beach. Not only does it start off with very simple text: simple words and short sentences, but it is broken up into bite-sized chunks about half-page long. It couldn’t be easier. If you haven’t read the book you will not know that this is because the text mainly consists of diary entries by Charly Gordon, an American with learning difficulties and subnormal intelligence who is about to undergo an operation to make him clever. I have to say right away that it is a very touching book and in no way prejudiced or insensitive. Indeed its subject matter is a great source of pathos and humour and treated with great care by its author Daniel Keyes. Continue reading “Flowers for Algernon”
As many of you know I am a big movie buff. After a solid afternoon’s writing on Sunday I settled down to watch two movies in the evening. D.O.A. (1950) and Helen of Troy (1956)
D.O.A. (Dead on Arrival) is a noirish movie about a guy with a shady business who goes on an unexplained break to a city in US and gets poisoned. Thinking it’s just a bad hangover he goes to the doctor who tells him it’s fatal and he has days to live. He then goes on a desperate hunt for his own killer before finally reporting a homicide at the Police Station. The officer asks him who was murdered and he says “Me.” This is actually the film’s opening scene and surprisingly the officer, far from being incredulous, actually hunts for the report of the guy’s murder which he already has. Continue reading “Two Film Reviews: D.O.A. (1950) and Helen of Troy (1956)”
Well I had a week of work last week and I watched lots of films. Some were so-so like ‘Anonyma – The Downfall of Berlin’ and others I didn’t like ‘Road of No Return’
Anonyma tells the story of a German journalist who goes back to Berlin in the last day of April, 1945 to witness the end of Nazism and gets caught up in the Russian takeover. They could have made a lot more of the fact that she was a journalist – in fact the only observation that really resonated was when she mentioned that they could feel Berlin becoming ‘Russian’ by the hour. Apparently a true story written anonymously in the 40s or 50s and the author herself was so castigated that she withdrew all further editions of the book after the first. Continue reading “Film Reviews – Anonyma – The Downfall of Berlin and Road of No Return”
The going is good at the moment.
A draft of ‘Some kind of Insanity’ has gone out to my group of readers and at least two have fed back that they are enjoying so far.
In the mean time I am painstakingly working through the logic of the plot of the (potentially) sci-fi story and I am slowly getting there. I really want to take my time getting this one right as it is quite a complex one – or rather subtle and could be too complex if I don’t get it right. So simplification is really what I am up to. Continue reading “Good going: Movie Review of Inglorious Basterds”