Sunday, 29 March 2015

this week on 100 Films

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

The Big Knife (1955)
The entire film takes place in his house, with a parade of supporting characters coming and going to variously persuade him to stay, persuade him to quit, or persuade him to do other things (saucy!) It’s not just the limited location that makes it feel stagey, though, but also the style of dialogue and the performances. I’m never quite able to put my finger on it, but there’s a certain way playwrights seem to pen dialogue that just feels like it’s from theatre
Read more here.

Bill the Galactic Hero (2014)
essentially, a giant student film... a not-for-profit venture; indeed, any venue in the world can acquire a good-enough-to-screen quality copy for free, so long as it’s being shown in aid of charity. It's also available online, for free. This combination of factors (student film; shown only for charity; etc) makes it a little hard to be judgemental about it — witness, for instance, [the positive reviews on certain websites]. But judge we must, and, sadly, in many ways it’s just not very good.
Read more here.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Extended Edition) (2013/2014)
the best addition is more Beorn, authoritatively played by Mikael Persbrandt. He felt underused and half-arsed in the theatrical version, like they’d cut out a book character to make way for more film-added stuff later on. I have no idea how big his role is in the novel [but] here, we get more of a sense of him as a character, with two whole worthwhile scenes supplementing his sole one from the other cut.
Read more here.

Looper (2012)
the near-future world most of the action takes place in has been well-realised by [writer-director Rian] Johnson and his design and effects teams... Their vision is Blade Runner-esque in its decrepitude — this is a future where the global financial crisis has rolled on, so flying motorbikes exist but most people drive present-day cars retrofitted with solar panels
Read more here.

Requiem for a Dream (2000)
A lot of people say that it's the bleakest or most depressing movie ever made, and you kind of think, “yeah well, we’ll see — how bad can it be?” ... I’m not sure you can quite be prepared for what comes later. Even if you were told what happens, or see some of the imagery, or feel like you can see worse stuff on the internet... It’s the editing, the sound design, the sheer filmmaking, which renders the film’s final few minutes as some of the most powerful in cinema.
Read more here.

Plus six archive reviews were reposted on the new blog. They include the complete Red Riding trilogy, which you can read all about here, or follow the individual links further below...

Brick (2005)
There’s a nagging sense that you’re watching a student short film for large chunks of Brick... This is accompanied by a niggling worry that it’s also been vastly overrated. But it does, eventually, kick into gear
Read more here.

Brute Force (1947)
Early on it's quite humourous... Then there are the flashbacks to the outside world, laden with undercooked romance and awkward dialogue. In the final act it turns decidedly grim... A balanced, varied tone is not necessarily a problem, but the flashbacks are almost uniformly unwelcome asides and, by separating the distinctly comical from the resolutely grim by placing them firmly at either end of the film, they don't quite gel as a whole.
Read more here.

Red Riding: 1974 (2009)
The Red Riding Trilogy covers nine years of police corruption and child kidnap/murder in Yorkshire, amongst one or two other things, and begins here with a very film noir tale, courtesy of author David Peace and screenwriter Tony Grisoni, slathered in neo-noir stylings, courtesy of director Julian Jarrold.
Read more here.

Red Riding: 1980 (2009)
a factual grounding hasn’t helped the story one jot. Where the first idled, this meanders... it’s all too straightforward: the people you suspect did it actually did, as it turns out, and there’s no serious attempt to conceal that.
Read more here.

Red Riding: 1983 (2009)
bests its predecessors in almost every assessable value. The story and characters have more genuine surprises and suspense than ever, while the performances are at the very least the equal of what’s gone before... but best of all is the stunning sepia-tinged cinematography, which uses the popular RED cameras to amazing effect.
Read more here.

A Room with a View (1985)
In the novel, characters frequently mean something entirely different to what they say, but you wouldn’t guess so in the film. Similarly, a lot of the novel’s wittiness is lost — unsurprising, as much is carried in Forster’s narration, which here is largely left unadapted.
Read more here.

More next Sunday.

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