Sunday, 15 February 2015

this week on 100 Films

Five brand-new reviews were published to 100 Films in a Year this week, and they were...

Byzantium (2012)
The most effective part of the movie isn’t so much its plot or its mythology, though, but its atmosphere. Vampire movies take place in castles or drawing rooms, or high schools in more modern iterations. They are grand and sensuous. Any glamour in Byzantium is discarded and decrepit, like the titular hotel that Clara reshapes as a whorehouse; faded and left to ruin.
Read more here.

Knights of Badassdom (2013)
perhaps best known for its behind-the-scenes wrangles, which saw it taken out of director Joe Lynch’s hands and re-edited... by the time it was released Stateside in early 2014, reception was poor. A lot of this was put down to it not being Lynch’s cut, but I disagree for two reasons: one, I thought this version was good fun; and two, based on what I’ve read, I’m not convinced Lynch’s preferred cut would help any of the elements that might need helping.
Read more here.

The Last Days on Mars (2013)
it plays a bit like an R-rated, traditional-zombie-emphasised remake of Doctor Who adventure The Waters of Mars... the award-winning Who episode concerns the first manned mission to Mars battling a previously-undiscovered alien menace that mysteriously turns them into zombie-like creatures and prevents them leaving the planet. And the similarities go further than that
Read more here.

Series 7: The Contenders (2001)
Another entry in the Battle Royale, etc. subgenre, it sees six randomly-selected people forced by law to participate in a kill-or-be-killed reality TV contest. More grounded than most of its genre compatriots thanks to its filler-TV visual aesthetic and middle-America setting
Read more here.

Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
As incidental as the case may be, it’s a pretty good one — the solution to the jockey’s murder is a particularly neat change of pace, and while the culprit is deducible using the series’ regular “the least-likely person did it for a reason we’ll cook up at the end” formula, if you play by the rules it’s a trickier spot.
Read more here.

Plus seven archive reviews were reposted, including two past Oscar Best Picture winners -- all of the coming week's reposts will be past winners, in honour of next weekend's ceremony.

An American in Paris (1951)
it’s got a Gershwin score, and I always like that; particularly memorable is I Got Rhythm being performed by Gene Kelly and a group of young kids who can’t speak English. It’s a different take on a familiar number that’s thoroughly entertaining.
Read more here.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
The most striking thing about the film is that, for about the first 40 minutes, it takes place almost entirely within the head of Jean-Do... From the opening shot we literally see through his his eyes, blurry and limited as that is, and hear his thoughts, which brings us a lot closer to him than any character in the film can be... Jean-Do’s situation is obviously far from everyday, so this device makes for a highly effective — and, indeed, affective — form of identification.
Read more here.

The Met Ball (2010)
Depending on your level of generosity, this could be described facetiously as either “The September Issue 2” or “a deleted scene from The September Issue”. It’s sort of both.
Read more here.

Secretary (2002)
attempts to depict a realistic and sympathetic dominant/submissive relationship. Unfortunately this seems to come a bit unstuck with the feeling that the relationship is initially based in an emotionally (and physically) abusive act against a clearly vulnerable character
Read more here.

The September Issue (2009)
surprisingly enjoyable. Is it illuminating? I’m not sure, though some bits are occasionally fascinating — director R.J. Cutler’s handful of interview snippets with Wintour are well-chosen; brief but potentially revealing, even as she does her best to given nothing away.
Read more here.

Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)
often listed as the first Film Noir [yet] so imbued with the recognisable calling cards of noir in its cinematography, characters and plot points that it feels more like an entry in a well-established genre than a formative inclusion.
Read more here.

West Side Story (1961)
underneath the song and dance numbers (some impressive, some embarrassing), the Shakespearian romance story, and the vibrant and beautiful cinematography, beats the heart of a gritty, political, social drama about gangs, racism, immigration, and more
Read more here.

More next Sunday.

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