burning house

Did you leave the oven on?

 

It’s been around 5weeks since I saw Synecdoche, New York. There’s really nothing I could say to top Matt’s review back in February after the Glasgow film festival viewing. To put this movie into words is difficult enough in itself. Where to begin? Where to end? It’s like The Waste Land of film. And like Eliot’s poem it begs to be deliberated, to be dissected; as something which simply eludes any kind of monolithic interpretation. Read the rest of this entry »

Drag Me To Hell

June 11, 2009

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It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve had a truly fun time at the cinema during the summer season that I had forgotten what the loud, brash escapism of the season is really for.  I’ve liked plenty of the big, goofy blockbusters that get churned out, though admittedly I’ve loathed more and more as the years go by.  Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell isn’t a big-budget event like his Spider-man films that dominated their respective years.  This is a summer picture down solely to the release date, and yet it captures perfectly the essence of what the other should be about:  fun.  Perhaps the films I’ve been seeing have been so poor that my expectations have dropped lower than I thought, but this film felt to me like one of the best popcorn flicks of the last several summers.  The fact that the budget was comparatively miniscule serves to make an even larger mockery of the bloated behemoths that compete for that hallowed place at the top of the year-end box office chart.  This is proper filmmaking, and it is a truly invigorating sight to behold. Read the rest of this entry »

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As a completely scattered, off-the-top-of-my-head, and totally unresearched thought, I’m wondering if my abiding affection for rom-coms stems less from their idealized representation of the love-conquers-all world, or their generally light, comforting formulaic model, but rather the feeling that they’re the last holdover from a bygone Hollywood era.  They are produced and function like films from the days of old – assembly line, workmanlike, same but a little different…  Musicals are few and far between, the action genre has become a series of overblown blockbuster tentpole events, and melodramas have been largely relegated to telefilms or Oscar bait (take a bow, Crash).  The rom-com seems to be the most sustainable business model of the industry.  Fairly cheap to produce, driven by the Star System like no other genre, and a built-in audience (women, of course) that tends to be ignored by the studios who believe young men is where the money lies (though, in recent years, the thinking is finally starting to catch up with reality).  Dependable escapism is the order of the day, and the sheer simplicity of the pleasure is probably why I get more enthusiastic than I probably should for these films.  All that really means nothing when it comes to The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, which on its own is in no way special or interesting.  In fact, most of it is flat-out bad.  But while it is most certainly not the film to spark off any discussion whatsoever on an entire genre, it does nicely establish a general middle area of quality expectation.  Far from the best, it is also not the worst of its kind.  It isn’t the breakout box office success of a Devil Wears Prada nor does it have the relentless charm of a Never Been Kissed, but it isn’t as completely unwatchable as Made of Honor.   Read the rest of this entry »

Terminator Salvation

June 6, 2009

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Everyone gets everything he wants.  I wanted a war against the machines, and for my sins, they gave me one.  Ever since that metal foot crushed the human skull back in T2, and the flying Skynet ships fired lasers from overhead, the dream was to see this amazing future post-apocalyptic battle stretched to full length.  I wanted massive campaigns in hollowed out cities to metal machine music.  The previous Terminator films always hinted at this, but wound up comfortably settling into the more relatable (and cost-effective) present day, which to their credit worked, and I’m including Rise of the Machines in that statement.  They were effective action spectacles that wowed us with proper set pieces and, on occasion, provided the kind of two dimensional character moment that lifts such a venture that much higher.  But as the end of Rise confirmed, we’re done with the present.  Judgment Day has happened, and there’s no turning back.

Read the rest of this entry »