Monday, 17 August 2009

The week in film...

Tonight I'll try and finish that piece on the albums of the year so far but at the moment I'm at work and without my music collection to reflect on so instead I will just write a few lines about some of the films I've watched in the past week:

Limits of Control (2009) - Jim Jarmusch

Last week S and I made it out to the cinema alone for the first time in months and I'm very glad it was to see this. I'm a big Jim Jarmusch fan and reading some of the reviews of this before I saw it it seemed to be a film that has divided critics. Having seen most of his films (I think I'm just missing Night On Earth and Permanent Vacation now) I kne pretty much what to expect, lots of long, lingering shots of faces and bodies, beautifully photographed cities and knowing and witty dialogue with a touch of self deprecating humour. I wasn't to be disappointed and the experience was heightened for me be watching it completely alone in just about the darkest cinema I have ever been in. This might not be up to the standard of Ghost Dog, which for me is his best film and thematically shares a lot with this film, but it is still a fun film to watch and I actually would've liked it to go a little more, I think a few more cameos could've been squeezed in.

*Edit* Oh yeah, I completely forgot to mention the amazing soundtrack this film has. Jarmusch films usually have pretty amazing soundtracks (Even the disappointing Broken Flowers had some great Ethiopian jazz) and this is no different with music from Boris, sunn 0))) and Earth featuring. */Edit*

Public Enemies (2009) - Michael Mann

I had mixed feelings before going in to this film - I love gangster films as much as the next man (and it true: ALL men love gangster films, any who say they don't are lying to appear 'sensitive') but, and this is somewhat controversial, I am not at all a huge fan of Johnny Depp. I can imagine the howls and eye rolling going on as this thought sinks in to my imaginary readers but I just feel that Depp's charm is primarily based on his ability to play these dark and wacky characters who despite their apparent insanity and dangerousness are still engaging and (for the ladies) attractive. With each film though the charm wares thinner, the grins and grimaces to camera become more tired and the hamminess of the POTC series has really taken some of the youthful exhuberence away from him. And that is, in my opinion, what is missing from this film - Depp presents a world weary, almost nihilistic Dillinger who just does not engage the sympathy of the audience. He is portrayed as a hero of the masses yet aside from a brief moment where he refuses to take a bystander's money during a bank job this seems almost inexplicable. Mann presents the group of outlaws as trigger happy thugs rather than noble 'Robin Hood' like thieves. The one interesting part of the film was the pressure put on the lawmen to chase them. Christian Bale (who was by far the worst thing about the last Batman flick) actually did quite well as the lawman tasked with chasing Dillinger and the gang. Unfortunately though this aspect of the film was underplayed and I think Mann, fearing that he would just have another Untouchables on his hands, underplayed the parts of Hoover and Purvis. Combined with this was that fact that the photography and editing combined to give the effect of someone with Parkinsons Disease and ADHD. All in all quite a disappointing film when you consider what could've been.

Nine Queens (2000) - Fabián Bielinsky

This was Saturday night's film, the first time for S but this is one of my favourite films, definitely top 10 stuff. For those of you who don't know this is a heist film about 2 crooks trying to pull off a job selling rare stamps. There are loads of twists and turn, interesting confidence tricks and smart, funny dialogue. If you haven't seen this film get it now! (Although don't borrow it from me, I lent the DVD to someone and never got it back, a mistake I won't be making again.)

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