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Get Carter (1971)
A film made for Caine
Get Carter is undeniably one of the finest British films ever made. Set in the Northern town of Newcastle. Carter (played by Caine), a Londan hitman, returns to his home town to discover what happend to his recently deceased Brother. Great Characterisation as well as the coolness which Caine could bring to any film make it unmissable.
The most enjoyable aspect of the film has to be Caine's character. We see him as a heartless, cold, murderer who is fazed by nothing, even it seems his brothers own death as shown by the scene where he shaves in the same room as his brothers coffin 10 minutes into the film. He also seems to be a charming character able to say the right thing at any time and able to get his own way when wanted. However as we see in the film his character progressivly becomes more complex, especially when the subject matter turns toward his "niece", where suddenly we see his character become more passionate & less cool.
The film is also a fantastic watch just for some of Caine's most memorable quotes. An example is when Carter turns up at arcade tycoon Cliff Brunby's (played by British Soap star Bryan Mosley aka Alf Roberts) house. Brunby gets angry to which Caine reply's "now hang on your a big man, but your out of shape. With me it's a full time job, now behave yourself!"'
A pure classic, Caine should be knighted
An Interesting and innovative film.
Exotica is one of the most interesting films I have seen in a long while. Centred around a Toronto Strip Club which is visited regularly by Accountant Francis who is investigating the accounts of Thomas, a pet shop owner & smuggler. Francis object of desire is Christina who acts as a school girl when entertaining her clients. The Strip Joint is also compared by Eric, Christina's ex-girlfriend, These twisting narratives are brought together at the end & make for compelling viewing. Indeed one of th strengths of this film is how the narratives are clearly defined, the film doesnt leave the audience confused at any point, especially amazing when you consider the relatively short running time of the film.
The visual imagery of Exotica is also impressive. The Strip Club is filled with Plastic & painted plants & the cheap, tacky decorations shows the cheap, false relationship between the client & the dancer where nothing lasts & just makes up for that which the client can not get. The dark sets also helps the film, indeed Exotica is extremely un-erotic, as the atmosphere of the film is sleazy & fake. Indeed although billed as erotic drama, it's exploration of human feeling and human need as well as control may lead many to feel that the film has been wrongly advertised.
Indeed one of the films most interesting points is the idea of destiny, who has control over our fate, in one scene between Zoe ( the owner of the Strip Club) & Christina talk about why Zoe took control of the club after her mother died. Zoe says "It was part of me" Indeed this feeling that we do have no contriol over our lives runs through the film. Also the idea of need runs through the film, although the club offers false need for most, for the main characters the club offers the real need which their condtion's need.
The film also deals with the idea of being looked at, voyerisum. The start shows a customs official looking through a one way mirror at Thomas as he enters the country, later at the strip club the idea of looking is once again entertained, especially when the one way mirrors of the club are revealed to the audience through which Eric watches Christina.
In the whole Exotica is a stunning film, and is highly recommended. I'm sure some who will enjoy the film have been put off (while some who didnt have been put on) the film by the idea that it is a erotic drama, but this film is much deeper than this & is an intelligent & interesting movie.
The Matrix (1999)
Market Forces win the day
While watching the Matrix an image suddenly came to my mind. I pictured a man, late 50's wearing a smart suit & puffing on a big fat cigar. He sits at the end of a table addressing a number of similar persons who all listen tentatively to every word which the man says. The man takes a big puff on his cigar & leans forward & says "what we need is something for the kids".
Watching the Matrix you suddenly realise that it is probably the most precisely made film since the Studio System was in force, every aspect is made to appeal to a young (15-30 yr old) audience, & market forces have been well taken into account. The lighting is neo-gothic similar to that found in Seven & The Crow, The camerawork is so John Woo I'm surprised he did'nt sue for plagerism. & it's a story about the internet, & hey, the kids 'dig' the internet, don't they? add a metal/big beat soundtrack & hey presto, a film the kids will love
The Directors have in fact taken so much time over including enough cool effects (as well as advertising Nokia phones) that they have seemed to have not worried themselves over simple features such as plot, amount of holes left in it are worrying, for instance why are the rebels (I use Rebels in want of a better word) stationed in a space ship? why do we never see Zion? & also how come they can defy gravity yet they are unable to jump off buildings/fly etc etc?
The acting is also bottom rate, in fact it seems that the Directors realised that Keanu can't act, so did.nt bother asking him to. However Laurence Fishburn & Hugo Weaving are both good actors yet little is asked of them. Carrie-Ann Moss as Trinity is poor, although her charcter is supposed to be deeply in love with Neo (played by Reeves, also do you notice Neo, anagram for....I won't spoil it for those who have'nt seen the film yet) the lack of chemistry between the two characters is so un-reveling that the situation has to be spelt out by a third party. However it should be acted that the Script is one of the worst I've seen, full of the Cliches & Remarks which movie executives think are cool & funny yet often fall flat, indeed most of the script is so cringe worthy & predictable that only someone who has'nt seen a Big Budget Shoot-em-up in the last 10 years would be surprised. In fact many people have commented on how the film tries to tackle a new imaginative ide, however all I thought was that it took an idea from 19th century literature in man against Machine & put a few philisophical theories in tow, add technology & hey presto. That's not imagination, that's reading books.
However the film does offer some pleasures, for instance the Kung Fu sequence between Neo & Morphius (Fishburn) is the most camp fight sequence since Jacky Chan became a star although campness is'nt something I think the Directors aimed for, Indeed the clothes (lots of leather) is realitively camp once again yet you get the feeling that the Directors thought that their dress sense was 'cool'. However, apart from this, the film falls apart falls apart, Indeed some of it seems too long, with the fight sequences & gun battles often being too long, in fact over emphasise in a Tarantinoloveofgunsandshootingthingsisreallycool way. In fact the only thing that amazed me about the sequences was how it was shot, the amount of flying debris must have injured two or three cameramen in the process.
On the whole The Matrix is dumb, unimaginative, & poorly made & shows why Hollywood has suffered against an independent film industry able to produce much better & imaginative films than Hollywood. Seven & The Usual Suspects are far better films & even though the love affair with guns is similar to John Woo, at least his films (at least earlier films) had a bit of characterisation, Indeed, it seems that the directors believe that the main appeal of Tarantino lies in the gun fights, not in the far better developed realtionships between the characters which I find interesting. The Matrix, what a Turkey, makes Godzilla look a not bad film
A film that shows fine cinema is by no means dead!
This intelligent movie shows great potential from a young Director, however it also shows the difficulties in getting a film distributed as Appetite, at current has no distributor in the UK or US.
Set around a hotel. A group of Strangers meet to celebrate the obnoxious Nelson's birthday. Here the chef, Wim, tells of one of the rooms in which nobody sleeps. In this room it is said that those who have slept there, dreamt the dreams of those who had gone before. Drunk, Nelson challenges the guests to play a game of cards, the loser having to sleep in the room for a night. From this point on we see the varrying deprevities, lusts, addictions, madnesses & weaknesses of the guests.
The film is well written yet still relies much more on the characters actions. Indeed it seems the director signs up to the idea that a picture can tell a thousand words. The main delight of this film however relies on the relationship between Greta (Ute Lemper) & Jay (Trevor Eve). Both showing a longing for one another yet neither brave enough to confront the other. The supporting cast is also just as fine with all characters developed just as well. The Story is also a marvel with enough different plot lines to keep anybody entertained & a pace which is just about right.
A recommended film which anybody should watch showing that there is still room for talent in cinema today.
Hmmmmm Ok but not great
'Shut It You Slaaaaaag!' After watching Lock Stock & two smoking barrels I suddenly feel the urge to turn into a London Gangster, because, lets face it kids. Gangsters are coooolll. You Love 'Um, I love 'um, everyone including Scorsce & Tarantino loves 'um
OK, this movie has been winning many a plaudit, not just from the UK but from all over the world for it's fast talking gangsters & comic plot twists. My Friends love it, My Workmates love it, even the bloke down the Pub has to tell me what a great film it is. In fact I recently got told by a portly fellow who seemed to have had too many Vodka's who was travelling on a train with me, that Graham Green's novel Brighton Rock was based on Lenny McLean who played Barry The Baptist. I smiled and agreed with him, not sure whether to tell him that Brighton Rock was written 60 years ago.
So whats so great about this film with a cast made from unknown actors & real life criminals and Footballers. Well Absolutely nothing really.
Although I will admit that the film was funny at time's in a 'laugh out loud' kindda way. The Dialoge still seems a bit crap, If I may be frank. All the lines are written (& said for that matter) in the style of Michael Caine on a bad day, there seems to me no attempt to ever act as such in this film & how everyone says that Vinny Jones Acts well is beyond me due to the fact he doesn't seem to have to. However maybe this is missing the point, maybe Guy Ritchie wanted the dialogue to sound like a bad Michael Caine film, there lies the joke, however I've got other criticisms.
Lets look at some plot characteristics. A group of young, small time crooks. One of them upsets a big guy & has a contract on him, the action also revolves around a bar. Basically it's Mean Streets with a dope sub-plot & a happy ending.
Also a major problem is the direction & camerawork. At time's the film turned from a film & attempted to experiment with editing & camerawork, this would be fine apart from the fact that nothing was experimental & looked more like a pop promo, this wasn't helped by a largely trendy soundtrack.
So in sum shouldnt really have been in the cinema, MTV would have been a better place for it. The sooner Guy Ritchie works with Pop Bands the sooner, for here his talent at film making (or lack of) can be worshipped
Chasing Amy (1997)
A director comes of age
Clerks showed us just what can be done with a few credit cards & a bit of imagination. Mallrats made us laugh, despite the fact that what we knew we were laughing at was dumb. But Here, I feel, with this film, Kevin Smith has shown, to a much greater extent, what he can do.
Chasing Amy unlike it's predesesors is on the whole a more grown up film, It deal's with relationship's in a much more serious (yet funny) way, & this is why I feel it's Kevin Smith's best film. Clerks was good, but each line was joke after joke, & as anyone will tell you jokes can become tiresome (especially after 200 hearings, which seemed to happen between me & my friends after watching the film at every party), Mallrats was much the same, all the time it was joke after joke. However Chasing Amy, although still having some great comic lines coming from Jason Lee as Brodie, has a much greater Sensitivity & in a way much more of mature outlook on love.
Both Ben Affleck & Joey Lauren Adams put in good performances, & our utterly believable. But this film's beauty lies in it's dealings with relationships. The Basic Plot shows that there is no control over how we love, it's completley irrational.
The other major bonus of the film is the ending. I don't mind saying that I cried at the end because you know what you want to happen, but know it can't.
I recommend everybody to watch this film. This shows a Director's coming of age. Await the future