Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In which I mostly ramble on about movies, and not much else

Saw Eastern Promises last week, which isn't about Turkish Delight as you might expect, but is instead a gritty drama involving Russian gangsters. If you're expecting the feature length version of that advert with the sword and the pan pipes, then you will be disappointed. Luckily, it's a great movie, not quite up there with A History of Violence in my mind (which was my movie of the year when it came out), but still fantastic stuff. And *that* scene that everyone will be talking about is gobsmacking, for two very different reasons (we’ll talk when you’ve seen it). It’s probably got more in common with Dirty Pretty Things, another fantastic movie, which is by the same writer, Steve Knight. Both movies are worth watching from a writing point of view, particularly how much information they choose to reveal in their endings – when does your story end, at what point should the script end, as opposed to the off-screen story, how much information does the audience really need? I think they both get the balance pretty much right, although one of them could have *maybe* done with an extra moment or two just to fill in a couple of details that I wanted to see on screen. But it’s nothing you can’t fill in for yourself, in your own head, and it’s nice to be treated like an adult with a brain sometimes. And hey, it’s always better to leave people wanting more, rather than glancing at their watches wondering if it’s ever going to end.

Also saw Stardust, which is a lovely, mad, silly fairy tale, and thoroughly entertaining. Gorgeous to look at, very funny, heartfelt, with plenty of thrills and excitement. Don’t be put off by some of the misleading trailers, it’s not a boring "walking across hills" quest movie, although there is a quest in it, but it’s a fun quest, and anyway it's not really about that either. If you have to compare it to something, The Princess Bride will do, although Stardust does its own thing quite happily. Is there a genre called "sarcastic-but-nice fairy tale"? There is now, probably. The only slight problem was the song over the end credits which starts blaring out the *second* the movie ends, a hideous, 80s power ballad-style monstrosity, which completely kills the mood. I mean, *completely*, it almost felt deliberate. Just had a look, and apparently it's "Rule the World", by Take That. Blimey. It's fucking shite, and had everyone scrambling to get out of the cinema, which is not the reaction you want, really. It's a real shame, because it's such a lovely ending, before the credits start. Anyway, you have been warned. See the movie, but get ready to run.

Also had a sort-of double bill of Walter Matthau movies last week - Charade (it's a Cary and Audrey film, I know, but he has a fun part), and the mighty Charley Varrick, which I've been dying to see for ages. I can't get enough of the Matthau, he was fantastic in everything, especially The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, which is probably my favourite of his. So many good movies, and that's before you even get to The Odd Couple.

Season 3 of Veronica Mars has just arrived, so I'll be diving into that immediately, to get my fix. And the new Kubrick collection that I pre-ordered ages ago has just been posted. It wasn’t officially released until yesterday, but they posted it last Friday. That means it should get here in time for Halloween - me and Jo always have a long Halloween weekend of horror movies, and The Shining is long overdue a showing. Can't wait.

And the entries have arrived for the 2 Days Later competition, so I'll be watching those with my big judgey eye. Which is the left one. The other eye is my little friendly eye, so I'll be keeping that one firmly closed. If anyone is still reading this blog post, thank you, bless your heart, and don't worry, it's over now.


David Bishop said...

Sad to say VM3 is a bit of a mess. Still some good lines, some good moments, some good eps [the one where Logan babysits an 11-year-old is pure class]. But overall, a bit of a mess - IMHO.

Martin said...

I agree with David about VM3.

I actually liked the Take That song... Not as part of the movie though, it just doesn't fit with everything that came before it. Stardust itself though? Awesome. I went with some friends, thinking it'd be shite from the trailers. Which maybe helped the film be more awesome?

Oli said...

It's not a mess as such, it's just not as good as series one or two, and there are two 'big mysteries', which split the series in half. First one good, second one less so...

The biggest problem is it runs out of steam a few episodes before the end and then just kind of pootles out in a way slightly more infuriating than The Sopranos.

But... it's bad in the way that Buffy Season 4 is bad. Which is to say, it's ace, but we fans are picky fuckers.

And as for the power ballad that finishes off Stardust, let it not be forgotten that the otherwise magnificent Princess Bride had an entire fucking score by Mark Knopfler.

Piers said...

Perhaps power ballads are the score of choice for SBNFTs?

Dozeymagz said...

Gosh - I may be a little controversial here - but I liked the soundtrack of Princess Bride (loved that movie!) Haven't seen Stardust yet, will probably catch it in a couple years or so when it ends up in the bargain bin of ASDA (Hey, I'm from Aberdeen - I have a grippy reputation to keep!)
Anyway, talking about movies and stuff - I actually sat down on Friday night to watch my shiny new Severance DVD. I have to say, I did not expect to actually chortle aloud at a gory horror movie! I watched it with Hubby (who doesn't normally like horror movies) and we both enjoyed it enormously! Thanks!
Mind you, I did regret ordering a Steak and Ale pie the next day (thanks to a well timed comment from aforementioned Better-Half!)

I don't half ramble on - don't I?

hotzappa11 said...

Where did you get your Veronica Mars DVD's from, James? I really need my VM fix and I only have Trouble TV for this. I got into VM in Series 2 so part of didn't know what the hell was going on until they repeated Series 1.

But still, it's nice to see Kristen Bell pop up in Heroes and make things exciting. The only other person that made me feel that way was Christopher Eccleston.

Peter Pan said...

Marvellous. Had heard mixed reviews on Stardust but will trust your judgement!
And I am so over Take That. Was a big fan first time around. Bored of the dreary drugdiness now. Go back into retirement boys please!

James Moran said...

I'm 2 episodes into VM3, and love it. So nice to be back in that world, and Mac is just the best. Glorious stuff.

Stardust trailers: Yeah, I worry about that, they're really bad. I hope it finds the audience, I'm sure it'll do fine.

Magz: Yay! Glad you liked it. Sorry about the pie. But as long as you cooked it for the full hour, you'll be fine.

Hotzappa: - same system as, you can use the same account, for all your Region 1 goodness.

shaun_r_smith said...

Hi James, my name is Shaun and I directed a short film called 'The Soldier' for the recent 2 days later film festival. We went on to win 'Best Film' and 3 other awards. I was just wondering what your opinion of 'The Soldier' was? Im keen to get your thoughts. If you want you can email me on