Earlier this month was the 57th London Film Festival. Last year I managed to see about 12 films across 7 different days, with 2 random empty days in the beginning and 3 gigs and a meeting with my university tutor in the middle. I also had a tax rebate to spend on all of that. This year… no tax rebate. So only 8 films and no gigs. I did manage to meet up with a few friends though, which was cool.
- Jodorowsky’s Dune
This one was deliiiiightful. Apart from the bit where Jodorowsky says something along the lines of “I was raping Dune. With love.” The rest though, yeah, delightful. I had no idea that the team behind Alien kind of all met each other due to this and that was pretty cool. Also the circumstances under which Jodorowsky gathered together all the people he was going to work with was entirely amazing.
- Under the Skin
This was kind of weird. Entirely enjoyable, but weird. Also, I couldn’t quite believe that so many men would just get into a strange woman’s van…but then I guess, I always come at that scenario with the genders reversed and I would never get into a strange man’s van. I don’t think many women would.
I really know nothing about the whole drilling for oil in the North Sea thing or how that came about orrrr any of that. I didn’t really need to though. This was really exciting. The underwater scenes were awesome and the conspiracy thing remained interesting throughout.
- Trap Street
I think that maybe this film could have been more exciting or gone in a slightly more sci-fi dystopic direction, but that would have meant that it wouldn’t have really kept the sort of mundane realism that goes with it talking about a real world phenomenon.
- Love Will Conquer All
This was a short film selection, where all the films had the theme of love in some way.
- Orbit Ever After – Set in space. I did start wondering about how the rest of society operated in this universe.
- Full Time – This was pretty sad.
- The Phone Call – I think this was pretty much the best of all the shorts.
- Kick-Heart – Interesting, but probably the one I least enjoyed.
- Pieces – You can kind of figure out what went on to the characters pretty early on, but that doesn’t make it less watchable.
- Auschwitz on My Mind – Actually, this was the one I least enjoyed. I just…didn’t care what the kids did.
- Out of Darkness – I really liked this. Seeing/hearing the same words but from different viewpoints really made me think.
- Night of the Foxes – Spent most of this waiting for a tragic turn that didn’t happen.
- The Zero Theorem
This was really good although it ended kind of abruptly – or at least, it felt that it did for me and there wasn’t really a conclusion. Maybe that was the point though.
I will admit to watching this entirely because I am a fan of Tom Hardy’s work and figured that even though this is a film where there’s just the one guy in a car for the entire film, it was worth a look. Or at least, it’d be something to try at least once. Locke turned out to be really good and while Hardy’s performance is excellent, I think that the co-stars (who we never see and only hear) really made the film compelling.
- Only Lovers Left Alive
I…really had no idea what this film was about other than Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston being vampires. It was really funny! Like. REALLY FUNNY. Which I had no idea that it would be because I was pretty much sold on “vampires” (although that really let me down on last years Kiss of the Damned). I liked that this film took the approach of considering that vampires can essentially be immortal and how the lack of time constraints can affect relationships and how that might play out. We sort of come in to seeing Swinton and Hiddleston’s characters as in a long-established relationship – and there’s none of the beginning of relationship or end of relationship drama that many films that address love and relationships might go for, which was refreshing.
I went there. Sorry. I have a lot of Star Trek into Darkness feels. A lot of them. I’ve basically spewed them over the comments of two different livejournal entries on my friends page, so I figure I might as well collate them somewhat. It’s got to be a list, really. A disjointed list. With spoilers.
I really do get a bit overwhelmed with feels, but only to the extent of all-caps, rather than keysmashing. I’m finding that the further away I get from my viewing of the film, the more problems I spot.
Continue reading “Star Trek into Feelings”
Another film I saw at last year’s London Film Festival. Which was in October. And I last wrote about a film I saw then in… January. SO IT GOES. I made no promises. Once again, something of a list and bear in mind this is a film that I saw once nearly 6 months ago (saying that though, I saw it 6 months ago and it made enough of an impression that I’m writing about it now).
- When I sat down in the cinema to see this film, I admit, I couldn’t remember what the hell I was seeing. It was a film called “Blood” – that much I knew from the ticket. Other than that? Not a clue. Blood is the kind of title that could mean anything, though in this case I think it refers to the familial relationships within the film. In the Q&A with the director Nick Murphy after the film, he described it as like a Greek tragedy and I’d agree that it has that kind of scale and timelessness. The fact that this is a drama involving policemen is pretty much secondary to the relationships between the characters and their reactions to events.
- The character development and the relationship development is well-paced. As it should be.
- To digress a bit, you know how in Romeo and Juliet, there’s that moment in Act 3, Scene 1 where it’s all a bit “HOLY COW” and everything changes? The impact of that varies from production to production and depends, I suspect, a bit on how familiar you are with the play. I’m guessing that if you know a bit about this film, but not necessarily all the detail and maybe not this point (even though it’s probably the pivotal moment in the film)…uh. Lost track there. MY POINT, now that I’ve got here, is that Blood has a moment where I could hear the entire audience kind of think “Holy S***” – it’s got that kind of impact. Which I really liked.
- MARK STRONG. Ok. This film has a lot of really good actors in it. A lot of them and all really good, who have done other work that I’ve really enjoyed. Paul Bettany gives the best performance that I’ve seen him give in like….anything I’ve seen him in (in fact, this pretty much confirms that I would want him to play John Constantine in a Hellblazer film). MARK STRONG THOUGH. I LOVE MARK STRONG. Well. Maybe not love him per se, but his work. My favourite thing is when he plays a normal person rather than an out-and-out villainous character (like in…Sherlock Holmes and…stuff…he’s good at it, but y’know). I think that sometimes it’s easy to forget that Strong can absolutely kill as a not-villain. Well, not literally ;).If this was a romantic comedy, I might have swooned. As it isn’t, I only swooned a bit at his character’s competence. That and that one scene where he’s wearing a shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Sorry. I have a pulse and he’s Mark Strong.
- What else? Well, last year I saw a heck of a lot of films, but out of the films that came out in 2012, that I saw, Blood was the most awesome. You can see my list here. Blood beat Red Tails, Avengers Assemble, The Hobbit, Dredd, Argo and…lots of other really good films (also, obvs, the not so good ones but whatevs). I gave it 4.5 stars out of 5 (I don’t really rate many things 5 out of 5) and my end of year thoughts were as follows:
Yes, technically this film is released next year. I don’t care. In fact, this film is so good, I’ll probably go see again next year and put it high up on next year’s ratings too. The cast in this film is astounding. I love Mark Strong. I love Paul Bettany. They are both spot-on in this film (“spot-on” has pretty much become my go-to end of year saying). The relationships between the characters are rightly at the heart of this film and that’s what makes it so good. Forget that it’s a police drama. Forget the totally amazing HOLY COW moment. How the brothers related to each other and their father. How they related to their colleagues. Everything. Best film.
- Mark Strong and Paul Bettany, man. JUST LOOK AT THEM. Continue reading “Blood”
Yes. The London Film Festival was last year. I just didn’t get around to talking about any of the films. What can I say? First up is Doomsday Book in bullet points. All of this will be bullet points. I saw 12 films. I don’t know how I managed it. I make no promises about spoilers. I also make no promises about ever getting around to the other films.
- Doomsday is a film in three parts.
- The first part was kind of a zombie love story, where a put-upon young man gets infected with zombie flu along with the girl he went on a date with. The meat they eat also infects a whole bunch of other people. Basically, it’s a total zombie apocalypse.
- The second part is about a robot that attains enlightenment – the company that built him feel threatened by his evolution and seek to deactivate him.
- The third part is about a girl, her family and a giant asteroid that is approaching the planet.
- The first and third parts have the most funny moments – the second…doesn’t really have anything chuckle-worthy (which is fine).
- Briefly, the first part was very doomy; the second was quite sad in places; and the third was very heartwarming.
- I enjoyed all three parts – I think my favourite was the second with the robot because it raised a lot of the same questions that I’ve considered thanks to my interest in science fiction and that were brought up in the “Philosophy of Computer Science” (or whatever) module I did at university.
- My least favourite was the first part, with the zombies. It wasn’t bad or anything, it just wasn’t as cute as the last part.
- The third part – with the girl and her family – was a good story to end the film on. It had a good solid resolution and left me with the sort of happy satisfied sensation you might get after eating a delicious cheeseburger.
- I am going to ramble about the second part in more detail though, since it raises interesting questions. Feel free to stop reading here.
- I did wonder why it seemed impossible for humans and this robot to live together – why it was necessary that he be deactivated. I suppose the fear is that the robots could replace humans some how, forgetting that idea that we could peacefully coexist. The other thing that I though might get mentioned, but didn’t, was when the CEO was talking about how the creation was a monster that would threaten its creator someday – no one made the suggestion that the created robot was in some ways no different to a human child. A baby can grow up into a monster and threaten its creators (its parents) but no one uses that as an argument for killing babies.
- With the reveal that the technician was also a robot (or at least, had a robot arm), I wondered who had created him and how he was able to fit in, assuming that he would never age. What would the reaction be if it was him that was the perceived threat and not this enlightened robot? It’s something that I would have liked to have seen explored further.
- So if he is a robot, how does that change the perception of what he seems to think of the enlightened robot? Does he act out of a kind of fear for his own discovery? What about the risk he takes in protecting the robot?
- Then I suppose the disposable attitude towards robots that many of the humans share should be addressed. The girl with the dog demands that the technician fix it right away (and for free too apparently), but when the repaired dog is not as good as before (and still needing a visit to the proper repair shop), she easily ditches the puppy in the rubbish, despite the hissy fit she pitched when the technician was initially reluctant to fix it. Does she know that he is a robot? Or do the other people who live nearby know? Is this why she has such an entitled and demanding attitude towards him or is she like this with everyone? We don’t know.
Two words: unremittingly grim. Wow. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the greatest of ideas to go to see Ill Manors AND Red Tails on the same day. It was pretty heavy-going.
The music plays a huge part of many films, and I don’t think more so than in this film – the words of Plan B (and John Cooper Clarke, who was an unexpected bonus when he appeared) tell a lot of the story that isn’t necessarily laid out explicitly on-screen. Incredibly effectively too. The lyrics provided an extra narrative that wasn’t intrusive and fit well with the feel of the film.
Then there’s the use of mobile phone-style camera footage at times and old home video style footage at others. Both very of the time of the subject being filmed.
No one really comes out as completely flawed or completely flawless, but that’s how life is, isn’t it? Many will call this film “harrowing”, but some shade of it will probably exist in the streets near you.
I have so many feels, you guys. I can’t.
This may well top Avengers Assemble as my film of the year, and Avengers Assemble was incredible. And I saw that twice and would happily see it again.
The tension throughout was incredible – most notably during the aerial engagement scenes. I don’t think I’ve been more on edge during a film since I saw Jurassic Park for the first time and I was…what? 9 years old at the time? Admittedly a large part of the tension stems from the fact that at every moment I was expecting one of the main cast to die – it’s a war film, that happens.
I admit, yes, I do love watching war films – it’s something I grew up with, thanks to my Dad. A lot of the films we watched were about just this era – World War Two. More than that though, he used to read books written by ex-servicemen from that time and I suppose that’s where Red Tails really comes through. The books that my Dad and I read really brought through the experiences of the airmen (all the books tended towards the RAF rather than any other service, since my Dad had been in the RAF when he was younger) and not just of the time they spent fighting in the air, but the relationships on the ground.
Red Tails really captures the loss and heartbreak suffered by those at war – both in the armed forces and to an extend, for the civilians too. It’s easy to forget, often, that the men doing all these heroic deeds had families back home waiting for them and though the focus of this film is obviously on the pilots, you don’t forget that they all belong to someone – whether as a husband, father or son.
I only have a limited knowledge of the segregation and racism faced by black people at the time (and for that matter, now – I’m a mixed-ethnicity girl in the UK) but seeing this film has made me want to really find out more about the situation then. I think every single film or book that I’ve seen/read about the Second World War has been from an entirely white perspective. The only alternative view I really know well is that of my mum’s father’s experience in Malaysia at the hands of the Japanese and my lack of Hokkien and his lack of English, combined with the generation gap and that he didn’t like to talk about it…well, that doesn’t really give that full a picture (although there is still quite a story there about my Chinese grandparents).
This is a great film.
First off, no idea why “& the Huntsman” is in the title other than to get more of a male audience. This is about Snow White and Queen Ravenna. As it should be. Kirsten Stewart was ok as Snow White. Charlize Theron was really good as Queen Ravenna. Chris Hemsworth was actually really good as the Huntsman, and had a pretty interesting character and story and all. The dwarves. OH THE DWARVES. I loved them all. Ian McShane! Nick Frost! Ray Winstone! Toby Jones! Other people who I recognised but cannot name right now! Bob Hoskins! OH. They were lovely.
So yeah. It was pretty good.
So. Someone I follow on twitter has been pimping this film like a mad thing and since I was already in London, I figured I might as well go and see it (it is only on at the Empire Leicester Square in the UK atm).
I don’t know whether I liked it or not. There were bits that got a bit slow, I didn’t really sympathise with any of the characters and many of the horrific actions of Charlie, the main character,…didn’t really horrify me at all. It probably says something about my expectations of a sociopathic character, the way my imagination works and the kind of media that I consume on a regular basis (and have done since I was very young). Admittedly, I used to hear about these kind of actions on a regular basis from my Dad, who was a psychiatric nurse on a locked ward for violent, mentally ill people – so as soon as I realised that Charlie was a serious nutjob (not a technical term), then none of his actions were that much of a surprise or a shock.
Charlie is both fascinating and hateful all at once – the kind of creature that’s interesting to watch like a science experiment, but someone you wouldn’t want to know in real life. I didn’t understand why his wife or friends stuck with him, from his normal dinner-table kind of behaviour or exactly how he came into their lives and remained there for so long ( I suppose, I only really get it in the case of his best friend from childhood). Is it a case of being too close to someone to see how awful they are or being able to excuse their behaviour because you’re already close and it reflects badly on your judgement if you admit it? More interesting than Charlie on his own, was the way he was able to egg on his seemingly regular, normal-ish friends to do things they would never do under “normal” circumstances. There’s something in there about abdication of responsibility and the sort of general trend there seems to be in stuff I read about in the news (banks, corporations, various people etc) of not being responsible for something that’s gone wrong.
However, I’m too fuzzy-brained to really talk about that now.
I’m not too fuzzy-brained, on the other hand, to boggle at the woman sitting to my right in the cinema that was BROWSING FACEBOOK ON HER PHONE during the film. Seriously. We’re in the smallest cinema screen ever – how is that not going to be noticeable?
You know how, before a film like Captain America or Thor or any of the films of Michael Fassbender, the internets explodes with fangirling and fanboying and stuff?
If this SOPA thing actually went into effect, does that mean all the free advertising and hype-making from rabid fangirls gets banninated? If so, how is that good for the film industry?
In a giiiiant fit of awful planning, I got tickets for two nights in a row at Somerset House. Next time…I’ll probably not do that and avoid being hideously tired after.
I saw 2046, the sort of sequel to In The Mood For Love, back when it came out at the cinema in a spur of the moment double bill along with Hero. I remember it involved a mad dash from one screen to the next with my friend Corinne. 2046 makes a lot more sense now after seeing In The Mood For Love.
I <3 how you never see Mr Chan’s face and you never see Mr Chow’s wife’s face either. Totally works the whole absent spouse thing. The out of sequence bits worked really well too. Not sure it’s a film you can really talk about, you just experience it.
Scott Pilgrim, the next night, was aces. I <3 Scott Pilgrim…though I don’t really like Scott as a character. He’s kind of weaksauce. It’s the rest of the characters that really make the film for me.
Annnd before each film, I went to the Behind the Screen talks. Which were pretty good. Although the 2nd was a tad hilarious since I realised I was probably in a room full of people who work on computer games or films and there I am… the legal cashier who’s technically a software engineer. Oops.