Monday 29 March 2010

Sequences Of A Titular Nature #4

Planet 51 (2009 - Jorge Blanco, Javier Abad, Marcos Martínez) - I didn't hold out too many hopes that this animated film would be much more than a reasonably fun popcorn family film, but I got even less than that. It's not downright terrible, but it's really poorly thought out. Characters randomly do things just to further complicate matters and make for more difficult situations while never really doing anything else of interest. There's one or two funny moments and it was enough to keep my 9 year-old somewhat interested, but I expect more from my kids movies - he liked it, but I could tell he didn't love it like "Ponyo", any random Pixar film or even "Gremlins" which he saw recently. However, I really dug these end titles that brought to mind the old 50s/60s sci-fi movie posters. If the film had been able to work more of those elements in while building interesting characters...Well, that would've taken additional effort I suppose.

Kagero-za (1981 - Seijun Suzuki) - I've already written about this confusing, dream-like and, at times, beautiful film by Seijun Suzuki. These are the closing credits.

Peeping Tom (1960 - Michael Powell) - The black and white film clip that runs during the titles is actually the footage of the scene we've just seen pre-titles and in full colour. Our serial-killer/cameraman has just killed his victim (while filming it) and is reviewing his handiwork in his apartment dark room. The almost glowing blue of the titles is overlayed on top of the soundless film (though we are provided a tense driving piano score) while the images flip between being full screen and projected on a smaller screen. The penultimate image in the few captures below is the "climax" of the killing as the cameraman lifts himself out of his chair into her scream. And then Powell follows that up with his own credit over the projector...It's a great, disturbing, creepy and unnerving film that essentially destroyed Powell's career in Britain (it was savaged by critics). Released around the same time as Hitchcock's "Psycho", "Peeping Tom" seemed to be less fantastical and therefore even more troubling for many.

Mo' Better Blues (1990 - Spike Lee) - There's a great deal to like about Spike Lee's two decades old look at a modern day jazz player: the interaction between the members of Bleek's quintet, the matching of the music and stage playing of the actors, the incorporation of Coltrane's music, numerous interesting uses of the camera that evoke character mood and the lovely colour saturated titles below. Unfortunately, there's also a lot that doesn't work so well either: the terrible casting of the two female leads, their actual characters, several almost laughably bad songs (I haven't yet decided if the showcase song near the end for Clarke's vocals is purposely cheesy to highlight Shadow Henderson selling out or if it is unintentionally awful) and an ending that seems to indicate that only fathers can find proper balances for their kids (too broad a statement I know, but I couldn't help getting the impression that the modern day mother needed to be tempered by the father).


Nostalgia Kinky said...

Wow, absolutely beautiful stills and amazing choices!

Bob Turnbull said...

Thanks Jeremy...I have to say, I enjoy putting these together.

Congrats again on your recent publication in the "Directory of World Cinema: American Independent". I should post something about that...