Well, it’s that time of the year when the Cineworld Dublin puts on the bulk of its Asian cinema releases. I caught Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid earlier but League of Gods flew by my site surfing and I decided to give it a whirl. CG, Jet Li, Tony Leung being evil, Fan Bingbing being eviler and a race to see how many special effects you can have on screen in a Chinese film. Trailer and review after the break.
I’m reminded, watching the film we’re going to look at now, of that line from Predator by Arnold Schwarzenegger: “So you cooked up a story and dropped the six of us in a meatgrinder?” Because that’s largely what happens in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, the film we didn’t know we needed until now. How will the world of Jane Austen and Zombies be after it was all over? Trailer and answers after the jump.
Directing a movie version of Moby Dick is hard, no doubt. It’s one of the greatest sea epics ever written. Some filmmakers have succeeded, some have failed. But directing the story of the story behind Moby Dick? It’s a tall order so the director and the cast would have to be good. In The Heart of the Sea is the story of an epic novel but it’s not an epic and people do it a disservice by expecting that.
It’s a new year and here at the Capricorn Theater, I’m looking forward to the time ahead and I’m writing my first (future) year in cinema. Both what I’m looking forward to seeing in cinemas and what I’ll have on the site from home video releases. For the last year, I’ve been busier than ever writing on my site. Over thirty reviews and posts which is more than what I had posted in the previous six years or so before that. This might be worthy of a pat on the back, I’d like to do better. While this will read in parts like a wish list, I would stress that some of the cinema releases may not be released here in Ireland so they might end up as video reviews. So here’s what this year holds in store for the site.
After Prometheus, I really was wary of Ridley Scott going into sci-fi. He’s a guy who thrives when he was tackling different subjects one after another (Alien and Blade Runner led to Legend and Someone to Watch Over Me, Gladiator led to Hannibal and Black Hawk Down) so when he said he was going to adapt Andy Weir’s book The Martian to star Matt Damon so soon after his problematic return to the Alien universe, I was not in a great frame of mind to watch it.
Woooow, this is a long time to review a film. Russian film Hard To Be A God came out on the 14th of September but I’m only posting the review now. Why the delay? Partly in the fact that the disc arrived a week after the release date and partly the subject matter. Ostensibly about a world not unlike our own, the film is a science fiction film without any outward trappings of the genre. I had never heard of the film, the director or the original story it is based on. Is this the best tactic to tackle such a nebulously plotted film? Let’s find out.
I think I’ve been a fan of John Ford films longer than I’ve known who John Ford was. Basically, if you watched any of John Wayne’s Western output that is head and shoulders better than most, you probably seen a John Ford directed Wayne flick. While The Searchers will always be my favourite Ford Western, a few years ago in the (now) sadly missed Laser Video shop on George’s Street, I rented a movie that had two things that I’d never seen on a case before: ‘Starring Henry Fonda’ and ‘Directed by John Ford’. I’m a huge Fonda fan and John Ford is onto a God in my eyes so I paid my money and took a gander by my nickelodeon. Now, Arrow Film are back with a wonderful restoration of the film. Too liberal with the truth to be a biopic, too truthful to be fiction, the story of Old American West legend Wyatt Earp as only John Ford can tell it: My Darling Clementine.
Recently, I noticed that I’ve been putting a lot of retweets in my Twitter feed for various things (superhero film stuff, equal rights for all, political opinions). Now, that’s nothing new for me but it begged the question: who am I retweeting this stuff for? Is it for me or the professional twitter accounts benefit? What’s my cut from this? Where do I see a benefit? Is it because I don’t want to work for the information I’m simply passing along? Is it a social credit benefit I’m doing it for? It could be I’m set up to be a publicity hound but am I prepared to sacrifice friendships and followers for more popularity? I thought I was, but then a dose of reality came my way and I found myself not wanting attention all that much. But what if someone wanted attention and popularity how far would they go? Who would they help despite not wanting to? Those are the questions at the centre of Alexander Mckendrick’s Sweet Smell of Success.
I think the most telling shot in Tonino Valerii’s Day of Anger (I giorni dell’ira) is when Frank Talby (Lee Van Cleef) verbally brow beats the owner of the tavern he’s just entered into giving Scott Mary (Giuliano Gemma) a drink. Scott is treated like dirt by the important men of the town so they naturally are resistant to the idea. When someone stands up to Talby, he shoots them. All while sitting down. The way Valerii shoots the scene is from the perspective of the people standing up looking down on Talby. Talby is in complete command of the scene even though he’s sitting in a weaker position. That’s a pretty good metaphor for the rest of the film. Talby spends most of it being in a supposed weak position but ultimately prevails. Until the end. But I’m skipping ahead.
Come the 1980’s and suddenly studios are going nuts about fantasy films. Krull, Princess Bride, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Legend, The Neverending Story, Willow, Conan The Barbarian (we will not speak of Conan The Destroyer). All of these films alone were worth the price of a movie ticket. One other film that snuck into the category, helmed by a man who has pretty much ensured that comic book movies will never be treated as camp. Richard Donner might be famous as the director of Superman 1 & 2, The Goonies and the Lethal Weapon films, but he directed one of my favourite films from the 80’s: Ladyhawke.