Alex S (barrysarll) wrote,
Alex S
barrysarll

  • Mood:
  • Music:

For the sake of ending the hiatus: some rushed thoughts on films

Bloody Hell, didn't post at all in February and now March is almost done. Clear up some of the notes, at least; I've got a list of films stretching back to Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever, and being a civilised human being, I only watch Christmas films in December.
(I watched it mainly because Aubrey Plaza voices Grumpy Cat, which is a bit of a disconnect given how much I fancy Aubrey Plaza, but in the increasingly crowded ranks of 'films which know they are terrible and run with that', it's a lot more entertaining than the ones with shoddily-realised sharks)
Christmas itself generally seems to be a bit short of Christmas films (maybe it's different in the States, but over here the idea that It's a Wonderful Life is always showing is pure falsehood). And it's not because they don't show oldies; I think last year was the first time I'd ever seen Singin' in the Rain in full, and what a delight it was. But mainly it's the recent-ish family fare; Avengers again (still awesome), The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (much more successful on screen than I'd expected, the verbal games of Defoe's books replaced with equally inventive sight-gags and some excellent plasticine acting.

Beyond that: a higher proportion of horror than usual; maybe it's all those dark nights. Been meaning to see Robert Wise's The Haunting since reading Jeremy Dyson's survey of the supernatural horror film, and it's almost as disorienting as he suggests, all without much in the way of special effects. Whereas the original Thing from Another World just feels like bad sixties Doctor Who, all base-under-siege and central casting characters without the spark provided by a puckish interloper. The Mist gets off to a good start by casting Thomas Jane and Andre Braugher, then running a fairly faithful adaptation of a Stephen King story that, for once, is about the right length to become a film (seriously, a novel needs to be a miniseries at least; a film is a novella at the absolute most). Faithful, of course, except for the ending, which Frank Darabont made even darker, the bastard. The Babadook is not quite the genre-redefining classic some of the initial press suggested, but still an efficient little frightener. And you could probably call Only Lovers Left Alive horror, but that's not because its fabulous, ethereal lead couple are vampires; it's because those poor luminous creatures have to share the world with moronic, destructive 'zombies', also known as the human race.

Ralph Fiennes' Balkan Coriolanus is a good attempt at dealing with one of the Shakespeares on which it's probably hardest to sell a modern audience, but it's all so dour and tensely homoerotic that I was almost hoping the ludicrous chatterbox Nahum Tate added in his clusterfuck reworking of the play would bustle in to lighten it up. That said, Baby Doll leavens the usual Tennessee Williams psychosexual tension with an unusually heaped dollop of farce, and only ends up a bit of a mess, and we all know what an ungainly beast the end of Peter Jackson's Hobbit sprawl became, so maybe clarity of tone can be respected even when it gets a bit one-note. Inherent Vice was for me a very powerful movie precisely because it contained such multitudes - Lebowski-style stoner noir pastice mixed with genuine high stakes and a sense of an era slipping away - but when it apparently caused mass walkouts among audiences who want a film to be either one thing or another, who regard art and ambiguity as a bug rather than a feature, you can see why directors stick to pigeonholes.

Not fitting into any of those vague groupings: Ruling Class. Peter O'Toole is always watchable, and he makes for an incredibly hot Jack the Ripper, but I could really have done without the songs.
Tags: film, lord of the rings, peter o'toole, time
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 5 comments