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Showing posts from September, 2012

You can't do that! It's the way things are! It's approved by focus groups!

Mirror Mirror (2012) The second case of great visuals, sloppy plotting from Tarsem Singh in the space of a year. There's no sense of narrative drive to either this or last year's Immortals , and if his take on Snow White isn't quite such an insult to the viewer's intelligence as his murdering of Greek myth it still ends up feeling like bit of an endurance test. Part of the problem is the very knowing, wink-wink, approach. For the most part the script isn't witty or clever enough to sustain this. There's the odd amusing line about changing endings approved by focus groups, but it won’t go down as this generation's The Princess Bride . And, while the director knows the look he wants, it's debatable how well this works; a forest clearly shot on a sound stage and limited locations give the impression of fairy tales on a budget. The self-consciousness means there's never any sense of atmosphere or danger, while the music reinforces the imp

There is a casino down there. It is called the Big Wheel. No stake limits. Why don't we bust it?

Blake's 7 2.11: Gambit So, Robert Holmes and Blake’s 7. There seems to be a well-tapped vein of thinking that he wasn’t quite suited to the series and that his scripts correspondingly weren’t all that. Killer , I thought was solid, but Gambit ... I think is superb. A sparkling, densely constructed gem that calls back to many of his pet obsessions and even manages to give the increasingly one-note Servalan and Travis decent roles. And there’s a treasure trove of ex- and future Who supporting actors spattered across it. And George Spenton Foster rises to the occasion after not being arsed with Voice from the Past . It’s very funny too.

I am Godzilla! You are Japan!

Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) Whatever happened to Andy Garcia's career? He was the best thing in The Godfather Part III , but following Denver the air of danger he brought to the screen appeared muted in the stock villainy of the Ocean movies. Denver was unfairly maligned by some on its release as yet another sub-Tarantino movie, but Scott Rosenberg's script has much more heart than the glib genre-riffing Tarantino contents himself with.  Not that Rosenberg hasn't done similar ( Con Air ). It also struck me that two of his scripts in a row had crucial plot points concerning the attraction of adult men to teenage girls ( Beautiful Girls being the other). Rosenberg's career seems to have bottomed out, as does director Gary Fleder's (TV work being more common now for him than movies), but this is a strong debut from both of them. Fleder makes sure the low budget doesn't show, and the fine cast assembl

He wants to know if you are gods.

The Man Who Would Be King (1975) John Huston spent more than two decades trying to get Kipling's tale made, first with Bogart and Gable, then with Lancaster and Douglas, before Paul Newman (Huston had seized on the idea of Newman and Redford, no doubt impressed by Butch and Sundance) suggested Caine and Connery. And it's difficult to conceive of a better combination; really this does deserve the accolade of the all-time best "buddy" movie. The chemistry between the two is vibrant and, as it's their friendship that endears the audience to them in spite of their many less admirable traits, vital to the success of the film. The themes of imperialism and values of Freemasonry, both dear to Kipling, are foregrounded throughout but Huston's presentation of the story is self-aware and thematically dense. It’s something of a rarity to see Freemasonry’s presence in a film where it is not criticised, even blamed for a full-blown conspiracy to