Friday, January 11, 2008


Rent is hailed for introducing taboo subjects (homosexuality, drug use etc) into the relatively conservative Broadway of 1996, but it does this in an infuriatingly two-dimensional token character manner, with terrible songs you can see every bedroom diva earnestly belting out in front of their mirrors, excruciating lyrics ("Where's my stash? It was pure! Is it on the floor?" "I'm not sure.") and a story bereft of plot that only acknowledges the title for the opening number, resolving those trifling issues in the blink of an eye with at least half an hour left before the drawn out ending which just peeters out into nothing...and bloody hell it's long. Nil point.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Graduate

The problem with watching established classics for the first time is that you know what's going to happen. In some respects, this lessened the impact of this film for me, but I still had plenty of suprises - I didn't expect it to be quite as funny as it was, but of course this was all in the first part of the film which was still a relative mystery to me. Anne Bancroft as Mrs Robinson is the highlight; suave, frank, cool and savagely witty.

Everything you always wanted to know about sex, but were afraid to ask

Apart from the sketch featuring Gene Wilder, this was in real danger of being completely unfunny and annoying, until the glorious final segment, depicting the innermost workings of a man on a date, itself worth wading through the rest of it.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Annie Hall

I enjoy Annie Halll more than any of Allens' films because he doesn't dominate it. Organised like a memory, it portrays the ups and downs of a relationship and how people can change, yet remain basically the same, in a touching, humorous and human manner.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Let`s not beat about the bush here – Indiana Jones is a thief, pitilessly plundering the heritage of weaker and more impoverished nations than the USA, like the opening sequences` unspecific location of “South America,” where it`s hot, jungle-tastic and the natives don`t wear much. I doubt very much that this film could be made today, and even if it could, there is no way it would contain the line “You can`t do this to me! I`m an American!”
Of course, this sort of thing doesn`t bear thinking about too much – Indy isn`t so cerebral here as he was in The Last Crusade, relying more on his charm and whip proficiency than powers of deduction. Indeed, one is surprised at how easily he uncovers legendary artifacts that have eluded detection for millennia. It`s also pretty gruesome, with most, if not all of the villains coming to horrifically gory demises, but it`s OK `cos they`re only Nazis – melt before the flaming wrath of the Old Testament, fascist pig-dog!

Monday, December 17, 2007


On the surface, this is a decent family flick with a great concept, positive message, brilliant animation and a cameo from Peter O`Toole that`s almost in danger of stealing the show. Something about this film however makes me want to inject a subtext that probably isn`t there.

There are more than a few nods to the idea of Progressive Evolution – the main character is notable not only because he`s a rat who loves cooking, but also for his tendency to walk on his hind paws. The implication is that this somehow elevates him above his kin, as does his related belief in hygiene, but more than that is his adherence to a higher moral code detrimental to the daily struggle a rat must face in order to find food.

This sense of right floats up at significant moments, culminating in the rats changing from unruly scavengers into sophisticated restaurateurs, and reminding me of Douglas Adams` division of evolution into three stages – “how can we eat?” “what can we eat?” and “where shall we have lunch?”

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blade Runner

Blade Runner has aged magnificently, looking just as stunning now as it must have done when it first came out and the directors cut ending makes it even better. The only thing that really roots it in the early eighties is the soundtrack by Vangelis, which probably sounded futuristic then, but even that has it's appropriate moments, adding to the cyber-film-noir mood.