Doomsday Book

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  BookDoomsday 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.

 

 

iLL Manors (2012)

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.

Red Tails (2012)

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.

Rating: 8/10

IMDB Link 

Snow White & the Huntsman (2012)

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.

Rating: 7/10

IMDB Link

Charlie Casanova

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?

So this Stop Online Piracy Act…

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 The Mood For Love/Scott Pilgrim @ Somerset House

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.