Tuesday, 25 July 2017

twenty-seven word reviews of films seen since April

The Way Ahead (1945, dir. Carol Reed, starring David Niven, Stanley Holloway, William Hartnell).   Romanticised but open-ended portrait of a range of conscripts – training, then into action: North Africa. Prompts reflections on, inter alia, stories that we told ourselves in 1945.

Passionate Friends (1949, dir. David Lean, starring Ann Todd, Trevor Howard). Less of a chamber piece than Brief Encounter (longer time-frames; Switzerland); same emotional acuity and restraint (WW2 represented as a cold wind through an open window); spell-binding.

Robocop (1987, dir. Paul Verhoeven). Hadn’t seen; overdue. Enjoyed; popcorn movie; special effects still credible; satire broad but sharp (war risks; corporate ethics; privatisation; identity vs machine). Also, Leland Palmer’s in it. 

Factotum (2005, dir. Bent Hamer, starring Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor). Bar-dwelling old-timer to hard-drinking protagonist: “I’ve probably been asleep for longer than you’ve been alive.” Watchable, funny, necessarily downbeat biopic of writer, drunk, occasional misogynist Charles Bukowski.

Twilight (2008, dir. Catherine Hardwicke, starring  Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson). Bella: How old are you? Edward: Seventeen. Bella: How long have you been seventeen? Edward: A while. Daughter understands she shouldn’t date vampires in high school. Fun.

Potiche (2010, dir. Francois Ozon, starring  Catherine Deneuve, GĂ©rard Depardieu). Brightly-coloured movie starring Depardieu and Deneuve in a sitcom-like plot involving an umbrella factory, la guerre des sexes, strike action, and disco. What more do you need?

Hunger Games (2012, dir. Gary Ross, starring Jennifer Lawrence). Wife and daughter both into the Hunger Games series. Meant to be the dystopia de nos jours, but I dozed partly; didn’t connect; unthrilled. Is that terrible?

London: The Modern Babylon (2012, dir. Julien Temple). Interesting, unexpected about, e.g. Battle of Cable Street but some sections glib, overfamiliar, music choices disrespectful (e.g. Fall’s Leave the Capitol vs WW2 evacuees). Not his best.

Saving Mr Banks (2013, dir. John Lee Hancock, starring Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks). Platonic romcom (film rights =consummation); Travers (‘Mary Poppins’ author), Disney as protagonists. Nice, bright-looking film, uninvolving though. Just say no, Mrs T; Julie Andrews’ll still get work.

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