Monday, 8 November 2010

All Good Things (2010)

A gritty, harrowing look at the early years of New York developer Seymour Durst, when he worked as a troubled taxi driver in crime-ridden Times Square.

I loved this movie (...Really, everyone should go see it...) and the only quibble I have with it is that it's too short. Honestly, two hours were not enough for this masterpiece.

Monday, 1 November 2010

JFK (1991)

In the almost fifty years since the Kennedy assassination, despite endless hours devoted to it by dedicated researchers, no clear link has ever been found between Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby.

Except... of course... for the four months in 1962 when they traveled to England and played together in a R+B band in and around London.

This fact has been long known and indeed, with literally a huge pile of bootleg recordings and newspaper clippings available (London Evening Standard: "Yankee Duo Wow Capital!") has become unversally regarded as being really, really awkward.

During the Warren Commission hearings in particular, any mention of these 54 confirmed dates was as well received as an especially loud fart, or a joke told in mixed company about the Polishman named Sal. A typical example of this can be found in a transcript towards the end of Volume 19:

Earl Warren, commission chairman: And so, summing up, we find that there is no evidence that Oswald and Ruby even knew of each other's existence prior to that fateful November day....

Arlen Specter, assistant counsel: ...Ah, but what about the five night stand they played at the 400 Club on Oxford Street in February?

(Long pause.)

Warren: Yes. There is that... I suppose... But besides this, we have nothing.

Later on, during the Seventies, the House Select Committee on Assassinations vigorously pursued this angle until it unfortunately became bogged down in an arcane debate about whether this tour represented the sixteen or seventeenth roots-revival wave seen in America since 1960.

Yet while the sight of Ruby a-wailing on his slide trombone while Lee picked a mean beat on his Gibson guitar is undeniably a powerful one, I think director Oliver Stone devoted too much screen time to it.

While it is interesting, I don't think the entire last hour should have been given over to it in one huge flashback. And the A Hard Day's Night style homage sequence fell completely flat to me.

So Mr. Stone, how about next time devoting your time to things to really matter (...Like, who was that guy with the umbrella anyway?...) and try not to take things a twist too far?

Monday, 25 October 2010

The Social Network (2010)

A poignant, haunting story about a young Harvard student (Armie Hammer) who wanders around campus, talking to himself. As his delusions worsen, he travels the world, pretending to be an Olympic level rower and claiming that he started a multi-billion dollar computer company.

So far, not bad. It's when he winds up in San Francisco, claiming to be the Emperor Norton, ruler of the United States, that things go a twist too far. Director Fincher... You should have quit while you were ahead.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Let Me In (2010)

Not to jump on the bandwagon but like everyone else, I thought Let Me In was a fairly poor remake of the original Swedish film. With some adaptations, it’s the story as a whole that get lost or is otherwise a poor execution of it.

However, with this movie, what we got was a sad case of a screenplay being literally badly translated into English… particularly near the end.

No one at the studio can explain why this happened (rumor has it that the work was farmed out to a company in Mumbai) but apparently nobody noticed all through the filming. Or the editing. Or during the several test screenings.

Such inattention led to such gems, such as during the scene when the police detective played by Elias Koteas confronts Owen, the young child who has been protecting his vampire friend:

Detective: More the eater of blood, now gone!?

Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee): Run the west, back and around the rainbow!

Often, the dialogue does not match that of the first screenplay, replaced by sheer gibberish, like in what was surely intended to be a touching scene between the lonely boy and the vampire.

Owen: Hurt, the internal organ that pumps blood throughout the circulatory system, because you lack the people about?

Vampire (Chloe Moretz): Finish this section on Monday.

And of course - not to lay it on - but really, didn’t anyone notice the action inexplicably shifting several reels from the end… from the suburbs of New Mexico to the outskirts of Stockholm?

Sure, movie making is hard. But even when done by mistake, these were several twists too far!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Nowhere Boy (2009)

"Mate," A teenage John Lennon tells his friend Pete Best at the end of this bio-pic. "We're going to be famous. We're going to be rich. And we're going to do it TOGETHER."

Thereupon, John "borrows" twenty pounds from the drummer (which later researchers discover was never repaid) and drives off in his friend's car (which most later researchers record was returned with an almost empty gas tank.)

You know, I like irony too but sometimes you can heap it on too thickly (and cruelly as well.)

Monday, 4 October 2010

Heaven's Gate (1980)

Too short.

Seriously, Mr. Cimino, if you're going to make a sweeping epic about the battle to control the future of the American West, you might not want to truncate the ending. And don't rush the build-up either.

Sure, you reportedly only had 19 days on a Burbank backlot to recreate 1875 Montana but I practically blinked and the film was over.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Dracula (1992)

Not a spectacularly bad ending but I thought tracking Dracula down to the Houses of Parliament in London seemed a bit weird. (Though I live in England and the audience around me loved it, laughing and cheering...)