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Showing posts from March, 2013

Have you betrayed us? Have you betrayed me?!

Blake's 7 4.13: Blake The best you can hope for the end of a series is that it leaves you wanting more. Blake certainly does that, so much so that I lapped up Tony Attwood’s Afterlife when it came out. I recall his speculation over who survived and who didn’t in his Programme Guide (curious that he thought Tarrant was unlikely to make it and then had him turn up in his continuation). Blake follows the template of previous season finales, piling incident upon incident until it reaches a crescendo.

If I'm going to make a fake movie, it's going to be a fake hit.

Argo (2012) With hindsight, it’s probably easy to make a case for Argo ’s Best Picture win; sympathy with Affleck for his director nom snub, fatigue with the dry worthiness of frontrunner Lincoln , the unlikely scenario of a movie that can present Hollywood as a hero. It’s certainly no bar to recognition that Argo isn’t a great movie. It has a great premise, no doubt about that, of the “so far-fetched it has to be true” variety. But it drifts too far into “sexing-up” the material, which ultimately distances it from the best movies of the era that it is trying to ape. Which is not to present a case that Argo should have been more accurate to the historical account of the rescue of six US diplomats from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Fidelity has never borne much correspondence to quality in cinema, and what ultimately matters is the dramatic integrity of the finished film. Jimmy Carter seemed to get this, noting that he liked the movie but the rescue w

We need to remember where we met. It’s been nagging at me.

The Master (2012) No doubt there are legions of Paul Thomas Anderson fans out there who think he leapt from the womb a fully-formed genius. Or, at least, he’d become one by the time he made Boogie Nights .  I’’ readily admit I didn’t much care for that broad-canvas take on the porn industry. His follow-up, the vignette-structured Magnolia received even more accolades, if anything. I found it an interminable trial, the colourful Tom Cruise scene aside. But I enjoyed There Will Be Blood , even if its advocates went slightly overboard (it has some serious third act problems). The Master seems to have received a decidedly mixed response. It resisted Oscar attention outside of the performance categories, and generally appears to have been perceived as more difficult and less approachable than much of his previous work (I think Punchdrunk Love remains elusive to most people, not least Adam Sandler fans). So maybe it’s fitting that I could recommend it as his best film

Things will go on, and then one day it will all be over.

Amour (2012) Michael Haneke’s latest topped many critics’ “Best of the Year” lists and managed the unlikely feat of not one but two Best Picture Oscar nominations, so it must be pretty damn good. Well, no doubt as an indication of my philistine tendencies, I didn't find Amour either profound or insightful. I’m sure many of the reasons it has been so acclaimed are the very ones that left me non-plussed. It could certainly be shown as “prep” work on what to expect for anyone with a deteriorating relative (well, minus a few significant plot details). But it’s this painstaking deliberation over the mundanity of emotionally draining and physically unedifying routines that makes it a chore to sit through. When a film is so well regarded, there’s the possibility that dissention will be called out as a failure to appreciate its merits; or a deficiency on the part of the viewer (some form of denial, perhaps). I wouldn’t seek to persuade Amour ’s admirers that th

She never gets old! Marcee can't be real; she never gets old!

A Beautiful Mind (2001) As Best Picture Oscar winners go, is there a more obvious example of a mediocre, heartwarming film serving up a fast-food illusion of depth and profundity? In a case of the bland leading the bland, Ron Howard directed Akiva Goldsman script, resulting in one of the most fatuous representations of mental illness to make it to the big screen. No wonder the Academy went wild for it. I’ve said that I don’t think the mark of a film based on a historical incident or figure should be its faithfulness but, rather, its dramatic integrity. A Beautiful Mind is as good an example as any of failure at this. The film diverges significantly from John Nash’s experiences, both in terms of his life (be it his divorce and remarriage, alleged homosexual relationships, child from an earlier relationship, the mawkishly sentimental “captain, my captain” pen giving scene) and illness (he did not experience visual hallucinations, only aural, thought he was in