Father and Daughter (2000) (short film) – Review

A return to a traditional animation style leaves Father and Daughter feeling timelessly classic despite how empty it is. The film fares better with an inspection of its mechanics than on its artistic purpose or quality (not to presume what “true art” is). Plenty of raised questions are disappointingly left kinda-half-answered. Their mysterious story is told without a word of dialogue, leaving us to question and anticipate a meaning from each proceeding event that unravels before the camera, but the subtext and truth of the story is as shallow as the ocean in the story’s final minutes – borderline non existent. Yet for all that is bare on deconstruction, the aesthetic remains a strong working cog that compensates for the film’s other shortcomings. It’s apparent how much the animator wanted this to be received as art; the painted parchment overtly sells you this classic 60s traditional animation and the film constantly feels like a rediscovered relic, and for what it’s worth, one day it just might be.

Shame (2011) – Review

Should we judge Brandon? Steve McQueen doesn’t want to say so. I’m not going to say so either. And whether you do or don’t judge anything or anyone in Shame, the film is never an active agent in who you side with. McQueen’s uncompromising truthfulness offers his scope into the life of sex addict Brandon. He constantly lingers the camera on simple moments, not only asking his actors to deliver an amazing unbroken performance for the various yet always lengthy sets of time he gives them, he offers the audience the whole picture of Brandon’s life and everyone around him.

Whenever McQueen lingers on these close-ups he reminds us that the moments we’re watching are more important than his or her history together. We know what his problems is; if we understand the root of a problem we can begin to solve it: like a therapy session – but this isn’t Brandon’s therapy session, this is his life unfolding before the camera. If we’d had the two siblings explain their history to the audience, we would begin to problem solve for Brandon, but we can’t, Brandon can’t solve these problems by the narrative of the film or by the want of the audience. The film doesn’t allow that. This is a heartbreaking film about a man’s pain when dealing with addiction: the addiction to sex and to loneliness.

We are in the midst of a true artist

Steve McQueen

The Holiday (2006) – Review

A weird American’s idea of what England looks like (I deduce her research venture unsurpassed that of travelogues and… nothing else); that said, that is one bitchin’ house and I would die to live there (but not with that winter hill). On the other side of the pond is San Fran-fornia-state, or something… Point being the locations are a bit fantasised, seen through rose coloured glasses (as is the rest of the film).

I like that the two female protagonists have a somewhat similar yet different job because of their geographic location and the general consumption of media in said locations. Better explained: English-woman (Kate Winslet) works as an article editor for a magazine while the American (Cameron Diaz) works as a trailer editor for film companies. Here, England is a book reading nation, America is a movie watching nation. Kinda cute. I like it.

The film is funny enough, decent jokes, Jack Black is tolerable (makes a change) and Kate Winslet is, as always, fantastic. Eli Wallach is a nice surprise and an absolute treat. There’s a scarce amount of sincerity, I ready welcomed what I got but felt malnourished after the Americanised feast of hollow drama and overly endearing romance talk. But heck, it is Christmas, and The Holiday is charming enough for me.

Three Wishes For Cinderella (1973) – Review

I expected a trainwreck. I was forewarned of Norway’s terrible dubbing and how old the story and film feel but when I finally had the chance to experience this film for myself I was delighted with how high above my expectations Three Wishes For Cinderella turned out to be. Cute, in a sincere, honest and timeless way; charming, with it’s simple story, wintery village and deer like performance of Cinderalla, who wouldn’t fall in love with this film; and humble, with the cheap one man dubbing for every character (and they don’t remove the original dub, so you can hear the dialogue twice if you listen closely) and the trying efforts to make something of real artistic value are greatly appreciated: at times I would argue that if Andrei Tarkovsky made a Christmas film, he would’ve made Three Wishes For Cinderella (I imagine he’d make something a little better perhaps).

Pleasantly surprised and delighted to enjoy a Norwegian Christmas tradition.

The Getaway (1972) – Mini Review

Don’t underestimate the power of cinema-scope and cinematic effect, they’re invaluable for creating one bad ass movie; Mr Peckinpah, Mr Ballard, I thank you. But lets hear it for Quincy Jones and Walter Hill, the unexpected showstealers, without their contribution, The Getaway wouldn’t be half the gold standard it is.188-1200

Peckinpah’s (although technically Robert L. Wolfe’s) immaculate editing sells Hill’s story; the reliance of contribution and support from every team member is apparent in every detail and aspect. Hill’s pace is fairly unrelenting and the crosscutting permits this: efficiency in storytelling is key. Who better to handle this project than Mr. Wild Bunch AKA Mr. Straw Dogs himself. Hill has taken a very ‘Warriors’ approach to the story: 3 groups of characters trying to get from one place to another. However, his approach this time is a little less clear cut. You’ve got a range of good and bad in an individual sense; some characters lean further in different directions than others, but there’s a sliding scale for everyone. You don’t root for any character, more like you hope for the best; and the worst for everyone is yet to come. Hill has a keen eye for keeping plot, pace, character development and climax building constantly rolling, relentlessly escalating, satisfying as hell.070-the-getaway-1972

Just like Straw Dogs, The Getaway builds to a bloodshed showdown. Though Hill accommodates for the easily distracted by throwing in a shootout or two here and there; personally, I appreciated this a lot, a lot a lot. Don’t get me wrong, Straw Dogs is great, but it is desert dry, tough to chew; The Getaway is much more palatable, easily digestible and just all round more entertaining.

A great introduction into the violent delights of Peckinpah. I bet the celluloid stinks like booze. Next to The Wild Bunch this is his penultimate legacy film.