Friday, 25 July 2008
Random Notes #1
Thought I would start doing shorter snippets on things that jump to mind. A few films I've seen recently:
Be Kind Rewind (2008 - Michel Gondry) - A slight film in many ways, but it didn't feel like it should have had the drubbing it received. It feels like people simply wanted a long form series of "sweded" videos with Gondry's sleight of hand and when they didn't quite get that, they ignored the rest. Sure those were my favourite parts of the film too, but I really ended up liking the rest of it as well. Well, OK, the ending was a bit much...But that extended single take of them putting together their versions of "2001: A Space Odyssey", "King Kong", "Men In Black" et al was brillant - especially that forced perspective shot of Jack Black's King Kong reaching for the character Alma.
Classe Too Risques (1960 - Claude Sautet) - I'll watch pretty much anything that Criterion releases (not everything works for me, but a rather large majority does), so when this popped up in the video store recently, I snagged it without much thought (or knowledge of the film). It's down right terrific. But as great as Jean-Paul Belmondo and Lino Ventura (from "Army Of Shadows") were, the revelation for me was Sandra Milo. I guess I had seen her in both "Juliet Of The Spirits" and "8 1/2", but she stood out here. And not just because she is gorgeous:
Semi-Pro (2008 - Kent Alterman) - Were they even trying? I actually like Will Ferrell and I think both "Anchorman" and "Talladega Nights" are two of the funniest movies of the past 5 years or so. But where those two films actually have memorable characters all the way down the cast list, give their actors funny things to do and allow a great deal of room for improvisation, "Semi-Pro" wastes everybody and gives them nothing to do. Ferrell has a few amusing moments, but I can't think of a single funny thing that anyone else in the film did.
The Dinner Game (1998 - Francis Veber) - Very funny French comedy with subtle and broad moments a plenty. The concept is that a number of snobby rich friends have a regular dinner to which they invite the stupidest people they can find. Pierre thinks that his current "catch" will far out do anyone else's. Two great things about it: 1) I had worried that the humour might be a bit too cruel, but within minutes you realize you can't wait for the game to begin; 2) when the game doesn't quite play out the way you think it might or start when you think it will, you don't mind one bit. Just great fun.
Noise (2007 - Matthew Saville) - A small budget Aussie film I picked up on a whim. A police office with Tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears) is pulled into two separate murder cases - a mass killing on the subway and the death of a young man's fiancee. It feels quite ambitious with what appears to be several themes running across different storylines and characters, but it really held me throughout and left me pondering its resolution (or rather lack of full closure on all fronts). An additional thing I liked about it and kept noticing was the recurrence of small out of focus coloured lights in the background. The film is set around Christmas time so there's always some lights in the picture:
It's possible that this is actually by accident, but near the end the officer is rifling through another character's notebooks and comes across:
I just thought that was kinda cool.