Sunday, February 15, 2009

Screening Log (09/02/09 - 15/02/02)

This Film Is Not Yet Rated (Kirby Dick, 2005)
Enjoyable and eye-opening documentary about how certain films in the USA get branded the dreaded NC-17 rating, usually due to salacious scenes they contain. The film contains interviews with directors who’ve had their movies rated NC-17 (some containing very witty musings on the double standard of it all - who, opines Boys Don‘t Cry director Kimberley Pierce, “has ever been hurt by an orgasm?”), as well as news footage and clips from the films themselves, meaning that it’s an entertaining treat for anyone who, like me, loves their movie ratings.

Revolutionary Road (Sam Mendes, 2008)
Revolutionary Road follows the lives of April and Frank Wheeler, a couple who are bored of their mundane lives and plan on living the dream and starting afresh in France. Depressing from start to finish, Revolutionary Road isn’t one to watch if you’re already down, but I do concede it was well made in parts - DiCaprio is extremely moving and Thomas Newman’s score keeps it on the right side of dramatic. However, it was a trek to get through all of it in the end - the characters were despicable and whiny, the plot took its sweet time and moments of high drama got so overwrought that it was all I could do from laughing. American Beauty II this ain’t.

Rachel Getting Married (Jonathan Demme, 2008)
Slow-burninfilm about independence, family history, solidarity, love, redemption, and being yourself with a standout turn from Anna Hathaway as Kym, a bolshy and loud-mouthed recovering drug addict, who has been released from rehab to attend to wedding of her sister Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt). In fact, the strained relationship and bubbling tension between the two sisters forms the basis - and most affecting moments of the film, with both Hathaway and DeWitt giving great performances; the latter more natural than the former, but Hathaway exhibiting some moments of genuine heartache and repentance. The film contained too many scenes focusing on the minutiae (a dishwasher loading scene had me scratching my head), but overall, it was fairly moving and an ultimately rewarding watch.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher, 2008)
Benjamin Button is born in the body of an old man, and curiously, ages backwards, so that whilst other people are growing toward their impending death, he goes nearer and nearer to his childhood, then being born. The film charts Ben Button’s life story, from growing up in the old people’s home his adoptive mother works in and meeting childhood friend and lifelong love Daisy there to his exploits a a seaman, not to mention a short-live affair with Tilda Swinton. At under three hours running time, Ben Button takes its time, but I had a good time watching it - it was entertaining cinema with a stunning Alexandre Desplat score, beautiful Brad Pitt, a loveable Taraji P Henson and some nice little moments, albeit with Cate Blanchett at her most bland (the way the lines in her face had been CGI out just looked unnatural) and a fatal amount of overdrive on the CGI. Thus, verily I say, it was well-made and in short bursts emotionally involving, but Cate Blanchett’s inability to make us care about Daisy (and thus, her subsequent romance with Pitt; feck me, she had more chemistry with Brad Pitt when lying dying in Babel) and the old woman that played older Daisy was so annoying that they almost ruined the film for me.

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (Peter Avanzino, 2009)
A hilarious treat, this fourth Futurama movie tells the story of Amy Wong’s father Leo wanting to decimate a good portion of the galaxy so he can build a massive golf course and Leela and her group of feminists friends attempt to stop him. Truly witty in many ways, my personal highlight of the film was the poker showdown between a lucky Bender and a psychic Fry.

Hellboy (Guillermo del Toro, 2004)
Simple (much like one of the boys I was watching the film with) superhero ditty with some amusing moments but ultimately a very forgetting watch.

Step Up II: The Streets (Jon Chu, 2008)
My favourite film of the week. No need for me to retell the plot, because it doesn’t really have one and what does exist of the plot is utter cack, as is the acting, dialogue, direction and pretty much everything that didn’t involve the dance scenes, soundtrack and choreography. But those three elements about the film are so strong that they redeem the general crappiness of Step Up II and give it a deserved spot on my top 10 of 2008. My words couldn’t do the dancing justice, but the final dance in the rain is one of the best things I’ve seen in cinema, ever.

Sex and Breakfast (some twat, 2007)
An 80-minute long mess of Macauley Culkin and his cinematic spouse and Elisha Dushku and her on-screen boyfriend whining about their sex lives, going to see councillors, trying out swinging and then finally deciding that they are satisfied. Whiny, repetitive, boring dross, I couldn’t recommend anything about this.


paul haine said...

This Film is Not Yet Rated is excellent - I love the bit where they reveal that the ones on the rating board who claim to be concerned parents actually do have children but they're all in their twenties and have left home.

I tried watching Futurama yesterday but gave up on it after about twenty laugh-free minutes. Have been pretty disappointed with these feature-length episodes, they seemed to run out of steam about 2/3 through each one.

Hellboy 2 I was surprised by. I thought the first film was pretty dire but I enjoyed this one a lot more, particularly the bits where del Toro has been allowed to go crazy with the detail, such as the Troll Market. It's definitely a film that benefits from repeated viewing, just so you can see what you missed previously. Also it stars Luke Goss as the bad guy so wins for that alone. Also, I'm completely in love with Selma Blair.

Dave said...

Older Daisy was just Cate Blanchett under acres of make-up. (She was very irritating, though, yes.)

And agreed on the dishwasher scene, I was puzzled by that too. But generally RGM was one of this year's better films.

Catherine said...

The dishwashing scene MADE the film, for me!

When I saw TCCOBB, the woman next to me could not get over the old Cate Blanchett in the hospital bed. She was cracking up every time we saw old Cate onscreen. In hysterics, like.

Emma said...

Oooh, Paul, sorry, it was Hellboy I that I'd seen.

Besty said...

You told me you were going to watch Mulholland Dr. and give it another chance. :(

I found both of the multi-nominated Oscar biggies this year Slumdog Millionaire and Benjamin Button nothing to write home about.

paul haine said...

Oh, ok. Yeah, Hellboy's not great! Watch the sequel though, it's a real improvement.

Emma said...

I did watch MD! Right after I typed this up.

Besty said...


Emma said...

And, I still lol'd. As with Requiem for a Dream, which I rewatched in the same day.

Laura said...

Hi Emma it's me! Good to see you're keeping at the film writing, it's what you do best. Unfortunately the only one of these I've seen is Step Up 2, which was OK, nothing special.