I was ill over the weekend so I have a few films to share my thoughts
about, please bear with me.....
The Grapes of Wrath, (1940) - 8/10
John Ford directs Henry Fonda in this tale of Okalahoma farmers being
driven off their land and forced east to take fruit picking jobs that
may not even exist. I really enjoyed this film, it was the story and the
struggle of the characters that drew me in. Henry Fonda was great and
John Ford's direction is top class. I also realised that Fonda's final
speech has been the inspiration for god knows how many spoofs in TV and
The Night of the Hunter, (1955) - 7/10
Robert Mitchum plays the preacher who gets in with widows, kills them
and takes their money. After he hears of a widow with $10,000 he swiftly
gets all cuckoo-like and weasels his way into the house. However, he
didn't count on the two kids who are the only people that know the real
location of the cash.
Mitchum steals this movie really, his portrayal of the crooked preacher
is light years ahead of it's time in terms of tone and mood. Hats off to
the kids as well, good work there. Again, his love/hate tattoo's have
been the basis for many a spoof since.
Blow, (2001) - 7/10
Johnny Depp stars as one of the first men to realise the potential of
smuggling cocaine into the US.
Based on a true story I pegged this flick as Goodfella's light and I
wasn't far off. To begin with we see everything is going great, lots of
funky music, stylised visuals, etc. But, things soon break down. Depp is
(as always) great in the lead role. I also enjoyed Franka Pontete and
Ray Liotta. The ending is particularly sad and Depp nails these tough
scenes under heavy make-up.
National Treasure, (2004) - 6/10
Nicholas Cage plays Robert Langdon..... opps, I mean Ben Franklin Gates,
latest in the lineage of a family that holds the secret of a hidden
treasure. When he finds that the next clue is on the back of the
Declaration of Independence he embarks on a game of cat and mouse with
the FBI and a gang of rival treasure hunters.
I went to see Elektra last Friday, but for one reason or another it has
been held back till this Friday in the UK. So, not wishing to head home
without seeing anything I plumped for this. As it happens it's a pretty
decent way to waste an afternoon. However, as I have read The Da Vinci
Code I was less than impressed with the film hi-jacking the books story
almost wholesale. No matter as this is a slick action/adventure with
Cage wisecracking, Sean Bean cackling and Diane Kruger smouldering. It
should fill a gap until Ron Howard's film arrives.
Daredevil: The Directors Cut, (2003) - 8/10
Ben Affleck is Matt Murdock by day and Daredevil by night. The man
without fear, a blind lawyer who has superpowered sense and can fight
crime with the aid of his super radar style sight.
For those that didn't like Daredevil (I loved it) this version should
redress the balance. By adding in 30 minutes of cut material Mark Steven
Johnson can now present his vision of Daredevil. The addition of the
court scenes flesh out the Matt Murdock charcater and more of the
Kingpin means we now have a reason to fear him. In-fact all the
characters get better treatment in this version. Essential viweing for
comic book fans.
The Barbarian Invasions, (2003) - 9/10
Remy is dying, so his estranged wife sends for his son to come from
London back to Montreal. When he arrives he gathers together all Remy's
friends so that they can send him on his way as happy as possible.
This is simply a fantastic movie that won the foreign film category at
the Oscars. What I loved is the way the film deals with the immanent
loss of a loved one and the way Remy's son does anything to make his
fathers last days better even though they are not on the best of terms.
It's wonderfully acted by all parties and as the film moves on it grows
more and more touching. This one is definitely worth catching.
Mad Max, (1980) - 5/10
In the near future Max (Mel Gibson) is a pursuit cop, trailing the roads
chasing down perps. When his partner is critically injured by a group of
bikers he quits, but how safe is he and his family even in retirement?
Didn't really care much for this film. Gibson is fine in the lead, but
the other characters were annoying the hell out of me. I also didn't get
how we build up to the turning point of the film for a good 80 minutes,
leaving a mere 10 minutes for the pay off. A real disappointment, maybe
the sequel is better?
Fist of the North Star, (1995) - 2/10
In a post-apocalyptic future Shin, leader of the Southern Cross has
declared himself ruler of the new world and takes the population under
his Iron fist. However, the Fist of the North Star is not about to let
that happen and embarks on a mission to fulfil his destiny and overthrow
the evil Shin.
The Anime original of this film is amongst my favourite Animes. This
live action version is just terrible. The main cool thing about the
Anime is the Fist of the North Star's power, he can cut a man in half
with his fist and through a few taps can make them explode from within.
Whilst we get a feel of this power at the start of the film it is
completely ignored form there on as we get a procession of lacklustre
kung-fu fights. The make-up effects on this opening scenes are ok, but
why it is abandoned is mind boggling. I'm guessing budget constraints,
which may also explain the terrible production design.
Quite what Malcolm McDowell and Chris Penn are doing in this nonsense is
beyond me. Check out the Anime instead.
Spottswoode: Remember, there is no "I" in "Team America".
Intelligence: [pause] Yes there is.
Team America: World Police, (2004)