Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Paranoia (2013)

Adequate performances, adequate direction, adequate story. The cast (Liam Hemsworth, Ford, Gary Oldman, Richard Dreyfuss, Embeth Davidtz) is the only thing that stops this being a straight to DVD release.

The plot is a little unbelievable. Who, on losing their job, would sign up as an industrial spy with the same company that fired him, with little or no thought. More to the point why the hell would the company that just fired him trust him not to either spill the beans to the police, FBI or the other company (seeing as he's just shown how few scruples he has).

Hemsworth's gang of geeks does nothing to dispel the idea that nerds all wear glasses and are socially awkward - apart from our, rather loathsome, hero of course. His relationship with his father, Dreyfuss, comes straight out of Great Expectations. Dreyfuss gives the best performance in the movie and plays the most interesting character, but is totally wasted, as are the rest of the cast.

One thing that annoyed me: the security that the Eikon company uses. A phone app that scans a fingerprint, generates a barcode and then sends this barcode to a security console at a door. Why the fuck would you do that? Why not just have a fingerprint scanner on the door? The phone introduces another layer that can be compromised for, as far as I can see, no benefit at all - apart from looking cool. Also, don't get me started on the spoon fingerprint. I don't think I've ever seen such a beautifully preserved single fingerprint in a film ever - and it's on a spoon! Well, a wine glass is so cliché!

Oh, and I don't like mobile phones, have never owned one and, as far as I can see, never will. Maybe this movie wasn't really aimed at me.

Parting shots: The voice-over at the end was unnecessary; in fact the whole end made me want to vomit. What the hell happened to Embeth Davidtz's character? Why is this review so long considering it was such a dull movie.

Go watch Hackers; it's way more fun.

Original letterboxd review

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you”

Rarely is a remake as good as or better than the original. Even more rare is a great remake of an already classic original. The 1978 version of Body Snatchers is that super rare film. Better than the original? I'm still not sure - I'm a huge fan of the 1956 version - but this film delivers tension and scares by the bucket load. Full of paranoia, occasional humour, terrific practical effects, great camera work, a discordant soundtrack to die for and a cameo by the star of the original film Kevin McCarthy. I could have done without Leonard Nimoy and it was fun to see Jeff Goldblum played "Jeff Goldblum" even back then, but this is a great sci-fi, horror remake that took the original idea and made it its own.

They're here already!

Original letterboxd review

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Miss Representation (2011)

A documentary covering a subject dear to my heart. I have spent the past few years de-programming my daughter of the image of women portrayed by the media. Thankfully she's grown into a strong, independent and clever kid who knows that she can be who or what she wants to be - a fire-fighter or police officer at the moment.

It does have its faults though. Far too many talking heads, and subjects are covered at a whirlwind pace. Overall though an interesting, educational film that all young women and men need to watch; I know I'll stick it on Ellie's watch list.

Original letterboxd review

Scratch (2001)

Excellent documentary about the art and history of scratching and turntablism. All the big names are here and a few new ones I'll be checking out. If you love hip-hop it's a must watch and if you don't then watch it and be educated. The soundtrack is a stand-out and you'll be bouncing in your seat.

Original letterboxd review

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013)

The mad Belgian giallo art fuckers Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani have done it again! If you like Amer you'll love this. More giallo, more art house, and thiis time there's more narative! A beautiful trip into obsession, sex, pain and death. Full of clever edits, split screens, still images, colours and madness. All giallo tropes are here: black gloves, knives, eyeballs, art deco, but this time joined by hats! different coloured gloves! razors! Far too many exclamations but please really do watch this. Pretentious - maybe. A great film outside the usual crap with loads of interesting ideas that fucks with giallo but keeps its early 70s roots intact - definitely!

Original letterboxd review

Monday, 15 September 2014

Ender’s Game (2013)

A distinctly average kids space opera let down on several sides whilst containing some decent ideas.

The best = a Maori Ben Kingsley

The worst = Nonso Anozie's extremely wooden, and almost CGI like, Sergeant Dap

Original letterboxd review

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Unbelievers (2013)

Viewed as a life long atheist.

The problem with a film like this is that they're preaching to the converted. A very interesting documentary but really ends up as a pretty big slap on the back for Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss and for me, the viewer.

Still, amazing how utterly stupid some people can be - I'm talking to you George Pell, archbishop of Sydney!

Original letterboxd review

Once (2006)

Brief Encounter with a guitar and a piano. Great acting, music and story. Simple, effective and heartbreaking.

Original letterboxd review

Under the Skin (2013)

This is a film that poses the simple question: what is it that makes us human?

Why would a species so self-obsessed, so superficial and so consumed with hate and jealousy on one hand care about the life of a dog or a complete stranger on the other?

Why do we crave companionship and are so afraid of being alone, yet seek isolation?

Why do we need to be told we are important and that we matter when we are just one of 7 billion other humans?

Original letterboxd review

Saturday, 6 September 2014

House (1977)

  • Monkey
  • Batman: The Movie
  • The Yellow Submarine
  • The Double Deckers
  • Sante Sangre
  • 70's live action Disney movies
  • The Monkees
  • Fairground ghost train rides
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks
  • The Evil Dead 2
  • The Brady Bunch Movie
  • Wild Zero
  • El Topo
  • Scooby Doo
  • Children's Film Foundation films
  • Phantom of the Park
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Dodgy kung-fu movies
  • Sesame Street animations
  • The Banana Splits
  • The BBC's production of Pinter's The Birthday Party
Stick that lot in a bender and you're still nowhere near the insanity of Obayashi's House! Utterly mental and completely wonderful.

Original letterboxd review

Friday, 5 September 2014

I Am Soldier (2014)

I wanted a bit of fluff for a Friday night and got it. A "Who Dares Wins" for the millennium. The story follows a soldier through SAS selection and into a final, brief, anti-terrorist mission. Tension is maintained throughout and includes a fine torture resistance section with sleep deprivation, lights and noise generators. The only part where the movie trips up is a pointless love interest which only slows down the pace. The direction is economical and tight, acting is fine with lots of stoney faces, and the story minimal, but as a "boys own" adventure it delivers. Good fun.

Original letterboxd review

Monday, 1 September 2014

Outer Space (1999)

This short, 10 minute, film re-edits and post-processes the '81 demon rape film The Entity. The imagery is fast cut, burned out, mirrored, re-spliced and generally fucked with to within an inch of its life. That's scary enough but now we get to the really spooky bit...the soundtrack, which is absolutely terrifying! Think of the dark ambience of Lustmord and Vitriol, the industrial electronica of Front 242, and the soundtrack remixes of UNKLE, fed into a million filters that stretch, throb, shift, darken, pop, crackle, loop until you have the sound of hell itself.

A great piece of film making; go watch it now.

Original letterboxd review