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Blog // Thoughts
August 22, 2007

A Few More Micro Film Reviews

Time to clear out the film review cache. Here are a few notable recent viewings. Shrek The Third This is, sadly, the summer of triologies, threeqels or to put it another way, crass attempts to milk the final drops of entertainment from tired and worn out movie franchises. The first Shrek film was wonderfully subversive, […]

Time to clear out the film review cache. Here are a few notable recent viewings.

Shrek The Third
This is, sadly, the summer of triologies, threeqels or to put it another way, crass attempts to milk the final drops of entertainment from tired and worn out movie franchises. The first Shrek film was wonderfully subversive, the second bogged down in cultural references but still genuinely funny. But this third installment reveals a lack of ideas and comic timing. Sad.

4:Rise Of The Silver Surfer
Aside from the formidable CGI used to generate the Silver Surfer, this film offers nothing that was not covered in the first Fantastic Four film. That said, I’m hopeful that this will give rise to full Silver Surfer film, complete with backstory, romance, etc. Matinee-fodder.

Cashback
If for no other reason, this film merits viewing in terms of the debate about beauty, art and the nude. Quite a lot of the film is very conventional within the low budget romatic genre, a fair bit is typically laddish and an aweful lot is quite simply voyeuristic. But, this is balanced by a real warmth, sincerity and intelligence. Worhtwhile grown-up filmaking.

Gideon’s Daughter
Again we find Stephen Poliakoff using the camera to examine an important historical moment. This time the analysis goes beyond key figures to the heart and soul of Britain under Tony Blair. This is biting, funny and at times difficult viewing. Emily Blunt delivers one of the most stunning portayals I have ever seen of an older teen estranged by loss and time from her sucessful father. A must-see.

Transformers
Any piece of Science-Fiction needs to be judged by it’s consistency with the narrative framework in which it is set. With Transeformers, it is important to bear in mind that you are watching a story based on the way ten-year old boys play with their toys – lots of bashing, crashing, thrashing and sonorous robotic dialogue. If you can accept that, then this film really is a lot of (loud) fun. A solid ensemble that is really there to chew scenery rather than deliver culturally weight dialguie, a simple but sufficent plot and some quite stunning CGI. The ideal Friday night action fodder.

Black Snake Moan
I was reluctant to see this film after Mark Kermode had panned it as boderline exploitative. However, there was far less nudity and an aweful lot more character arc than I had anticipated. In effect this is a film about how identity is formed through relationships, accountability and limitations. It is a study in what it means to yield, submit and have restraint and how these themes play out in the language of blues music. Sure, it doesn’t work and perhaps it might have better with a smaller budget and less well known actors. But in the end it merits viewing. Like a candy with a tough shell and a creamy centre.

Dhoom 2
Bollywood action films are not usually my cup of tea. But Dhoom 2 is the exception, because this fiilm, despite the pretense to action seriousness is really a romantic comedy with some great music thrown in. If you like action films that can make you laugh, this one will give you thrills and giggles.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
This is the face of post-Bollywood filmaking. Big budget, hard story, suggestive and racy dialogue and totally set outside India. Like many films we find ourselves in the (fantasy) lives of super wealthy non-Resident Indians – this time in New York. Time passes, conficts fly, there’s love in the air and not a little bit of self-denial. The real kicker is that there is also a consumated infidelity at the heart of the story. Second marriages are very common amongst the wealthier classes in India and in some ways it is about time the mainstream big budget films reflected this. Might not be the place to start if you have never seen a Bollywood flick, but very solid, entertaining and challenging nonetheless.

The Bourne Ultimatum
If you like the shaky-camera documentary style of film-making then this latest installment of the Bourne franchise is for you. Personally, I got bored not by the film, or the plot, but by the insessant flash-back fillers that seemed to break all the flow and tension in the film (rather than enhancing and reframing it). Lots of good if cold acting a big bang car chase and two very good spy-thriller set pieces make this an entertaining if predictable ride. A very good plane movie.

The Simpsons Movie
It’s quite simple really. If you like the Simpsons you will probably enjoy (if not love) this. If not, you’ll still laugh, but you might wonder what all the fuss is about. Unlike the South Park movie, this is neither an attempt to extend the narrative arc of the characters or a serious adaptation to the big-screen format. Instead it is an extended episode, with some challenging individual scenes but without the deep anarchy that is found in the best episodes of the TV show. Save it for¬†DVD.

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