Portrait

Queries

A film diary or something

Recently Watched:

Not Fade Away
Sightseers
The Avengers
Airplane!
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Grease
Good Vibrations
Killing Them Softly
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows p. 1
Toy Story 3
Finding Nemo
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
The Wolverine
Short Term 12
Fast and the Furious 6
The Last Stand
Dale and Tucker vs. Evil
Kill Your Darlings
The Jungle Book
Captain Phillips
Wadjda
The Act of Killing
Coriolanus
The Fly
Hell Comes To Frogtown
The Wicker Man (1973)
The ABCs of Death
The Raid
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
The Selfish Giant
Catch Me If You Can
The Emperor's New Groove
Seven Psychopaths
The Avengers
The Silence of the Lambs
Philomena
Thor: The Dark World
ExistenZ
I Love You, Man
The Naked Gun
Rushmore
Blue Jasmine
Dazed and Confused
No Retreat No Surrender
The Kings of Summer
The Room
From Up On Poppy Hill
This Is The End
Commando
Total Recall
Jackie Brown
Star Trek Into Darkness
Knocked Up
The Re-Animator
Eastern Promises
The King of Comedy
Prozac Nation
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Django Unchained
Hot Fuzz
Side By Side
The Bourne Supremacy
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
My Neighbour Totoro
Burton & Taylor
30 Minutes or Less
The Conjuring
Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade
Pacific Rim
Man On Fire
Woody Allen: A Documentary
The Talented Mr. Ripley
The World's End
A Field In England
Fair Game
Almost Famous
Groundhog Day
Extract
The Road
Magic Mike
Scanners

356. Swingers (2nd Viewing)

Oh wow, remember when Vince Vaughn was good? At this point it must have seemed like a fresh new face had appeared on the scene, and it’s really a shame that he made a career out of reducing his performance here to a shtick. What I find so great about this movie is that it has a fondness for its characters and yet isn’t afraid to gently mock them. For every mildly sexist remark there’s an undermining of this, and every false expectation is revealed to be not only untrue but the wrong way of going about things in the first place.

B-

347. Evil Dead II (2nd Viewing)

I have had an prevalent love for this movie that makes me always rave about how fantastically absurd it is, but on re-watch I found myself a little disappointed. It is as I remembered it, but without the shock and awe of my original viewing I felt less involved and longed for the simpler (and more emotional dare I say it) tone of The Evil Dead. What grasped me before was how despite the comedy and deliberate outlandishness I was convinced of Ash’s descent into insanity - something that eluded me this time around.

B

340. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2nd Viewing)

It’s strange that I first saw this 240 movies ago, and yet my opinion of it hasn’t changed much. I guess what I’m thinking of more this time, in the light of my response to Iron Man 3 (up shortly) compared to those that sing its praises, is how big a persona Shane Black has within the industry. I mean that as in, he basically redefined action movies by writing the Lethal Weapon series and - here’s where I’m a little confused - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is seen as some kind of underrated masterpiece. I quite like this movie, but it’s really not that great as far as I can tell. I thought maybe on second viewing I’d catch something I didn’t before but ended up cementing my original opinion. It’s on a boundary where if I were to hear it panned, I’d defend and recommend it, but when I hear it lauded by critics and fans I want to be more critical.

C+

318. Aliens (2nd Viewing)

I still don’t understand the excessive amount of attention this movie gets from fans of the series and general movie fans. Clearly there’s something about it that people love, but for me it’s not even a competition between this and the first film. There’s a similarity in the structure, but most of the horror of the sheer power of the xenomorph is lost when hundreds are killed with a lot less effort. I never doubted that a few bullets couldn’t kill one of them, but I didn’t necessarily want to see it. The first encounter with them is entertaining though as the tough marines barely make it out alive. I enjoyed the first part of the movie with Ripley having to deal with what happened when no one believes her, plus the scenes with the Alien Queen are really great. But for me it all adds up to be a pretty great action movie, not the masterpiece that some people say it is - Alien is that movie as far as I’m concerned.

C+

312. Anchorman (7th Viewing)

Anchorman epitomises what comedy is to me with regard to my reaction to it. It’s hysterical, but after about the third viewing I stopped laughing as much, and by time it got to the sixth time I had stopped laughing all together - I was amused, and I knew it was funny, but knowing every line and detail took the fun out of it for me. I have this problem with a lot of comedies; the only ones I can think of that I’ve gone back to and still enjoyed (to an extent) are the Naked Gun films, The Man With Two Brains, Anchorman and Shaun of the Dead. That would be why I the last time I saw this was about two years ago.

However, I couldn’t deny seeing it with a few friends when the film society I’m a part of proposed we watch it in conjunction with a drinking game. It turns out that good company, a few beers and a projector can make any comedy funnier. So I laughed a lot despite knowing the exact line that was about to come, and the manner in which it would be spoken. I still don’t find it as funny as I first did, but I respect it as being one of the funniest movies I have ever seen and hope that the sequel works out.

B+

300. The Shining (2nd Viewing)

I had the pleasure of seeing a re-release of Kubrick’s classic at my local cinema, and the astounding sound and visuals make it an experience I highly recommend. I still have slight problems with the movie, but they are overcome with some excellent scenes and a cinematography that few movies can compete with. It’s also worth noting how much can be read into it, with interpretations ranging from moon-landing conspiracy confessions to a response to crimes against Native Americans - there was a whole documentary about these theories that was released last year and it’s all fascinating. Stephen King once noted that Nicholson was a poor choice as he’s never convincing as a normal man who is driven to insane actions, but I disagree with this. Though he tends to gleefully overact at certain points, Nicholson’s decent into insanity is completely believable to me, and tragic to boot.

A-

297. There Will Be Blood (2nd Viewing)

I can barely explain this film, it’s just so perfectly composed. Paul Thomas Anderson’s direction and writing, Daniel Day-Lewis’ acting and Jonny Greenwood’s music is all on top form; an expert collaboration that feels so chaotic and yet so driven. It’s such an experience that it feels pointless to give a plot synopsis, or describe why it’s so good other than to say “Go watch it.”

A-

296. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (3rd Viewing)

I’ll admit that this and Aliens are the only Cameron movies that I like, and though I used to love this movie it has far less of an effect on me now. The blending of horror, humour and above all action is a skill Cameron should put to use more often (instead of pandering to audience wants), and it’s nice to see a movie where a father-son relationship between a boy and a killer robot from the future is depicted without being overly facetious. Mention should be made to the villain, who is an effective way to escalate on the dread Arnie induced in the first movie with its relentless pursuit - plus he’s posing as a cop, and flawlessly imitates a good-natured protector of the people in the creepiest way. It’s one of my favourite action movies still, and has a sincere attitude that makes it charming. Although I prefer this to the original, I wish this had stuck to that same sense of dread and horror for more of its run-time; the best scenes for me are the murder of the foster parents and Sarah’s apocalyptic nightmare.

B-

293. The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King (4th Viewing)

From its current running time, this would be a really difficult film to cut. There’s already lots of scenes from the books whose absence has disappointed fans, as well as plenty of deleted scenes saved for the DVD extras. The harsh truth is, however, that this is a movie. The Lord of the Rings is a great story and I love all the scenes in this final chapter but it’s a movie- which means it needs to function as a movie, as something that people can watch and gain some sort of catharsis from. There were about five endings, all of which would have been a great point in which to end the series, but Jackson was too in love with the material to do that so decided to do several and better satisfy himself and hardcore fans. As I said in my Hobbit review there’s a limit to the patience of an audience, clearly evidenced by how many people groan at hearing the line ‘My dear Sam’. That’s my one criticism of the movie, everything else is magnificent.

B+

292. The Muppets Christmas Carol (3rd Viewing)

I thought I may have been exaggerating how great this movie is after ranting about to everyone all December (I saw this around Christmas, getting late on the posts), but after seeing it again it reminded me how amazing it really was. It’s a great adaptation of the story, it has great acting from Michael Caine, it made me cry, laugh and filled me with the Christmas spirit. The songs are great, the puppetry is great, everything is so so great.

A-