Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The week in film...

I've had a couple of days away from the blog, the weekend was pretty chilled out even though S was enduring her final days of bronchial captivity. Despite this I had a good night out on Saturday which involved going to Incognito and dancing more than I have in a long time...especially to A-ha!

Yesterday was a European holiday which meant that my office was closed but rather than spend the day in my pajamas, eating food from the jars and watching cartoons I spent the day in my pajamas, eating food from the jars and writing my articles for SpottedByLocals. I am now 5 articles down with another 5 on the way by the end of the week. If anyone can guess the subjects, in Lisbon, of my articles before they are published you will win a shiny marshmallow.

Because S couldn't go out of the house we had a bigger opportunity than usual to watch some films, something that we hadn't had time to do for quite a while and the films we picked were pretty eclectic.

500 Days of Summer (2009) - Marc Webb

Pretty much your typical indie fantasy fare here. How many geeky indie boys like myself haven't hoped that the office hottie will notice the Smiths/Joy Division/Pavement/Obscure Australian Indie Pop (delete where applicable) blaring from your headphones and declare herself a fan before embarking on a wild office romance? Ok...just me then...but Jason Gordon-Levitt (Third Rock From The Sun, Brick, Mysterious Skin) does an excellent job of portraying that paralyzing male self-loathing and overanalysis that I recognise all too well.

The gist of the story is that boy meets girl, he falls in love and she doesn't. Any more than that is completely superfluous to a review.

This film is nothing if not cheesy: marketing itself as an anti-love story when of course it is nothing of the sort, the main guy's friends are your typical bunch of 2D wisecracking losers and the female love interest is as cold as ice )and Zooey Deschanel (Almost Famous, The happening, She & Him) seems only to be able to find the mid-tone in her vocal range). But nevertheless I am a complete sucker for these kinds of films. It's the same with High Fidelity, full of clich├ęs and platitudes with a final 10 minutes that make your toes curl because they're so sweet, but at the end of the day these guys like music a lot and go out with hot girls so what's not to like.

Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno) (2006) - Guillermo del Toro

I'd seen this film a couple of times now but S hadn't and so we both curled up for it on Sunday. Oh yeah and I forgot to mention to her that this isn't a children's film.

The film is a dark fantasy of a child, Ofelia, who believes she has met a faun who convinces her she is the spirit of a princess, the daughter of the king of the underworld. The faun gives Ofelia challenges to complete to enable her to return to the underworld and her father. This fantasy is set in the backdrop of the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War with the ruthless Falangist Captain Vidal, Ofilia's step-father, fighting in the hills of rural Spain.

The effects in the film are excellent with the costumes being particularly effective (the monster at the feast is particularly scary) and much of the violence is particularly graphic, a fact that I don't think S was particularly prepared for. I'm not usually a big fan of this kind of costumed fantasy picture but I do really really like this film. Not one for the kids though.

Death On The Nile (1978) - John Guillermin

A classic Christie here with Peter Ustinov as the little Belgian Hercule Poirot. Not my favourite Poirot, I think Ustinov hams it up a little for the character. This combined with the fact that he's about a foot too tall means that David Suchet is by far the best modern representation.

Nevertheless this is one of Christie's best novels and this star studded ensemble (Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Maggie Smith and David Niven star, amongst others) keeps pretty accurately to the novel (not always a big problem in adaptations but a bit annoying adaptations of Agatha Christie when the novels are known so well).

Here a Nile cruise is thrown into disarray after the murder of a wealthy heiress and everyone on board seems to have a motive for doing away with her. Typically the explanation is quite ingenious and it's really a fun film to watch and get absorbed in for a few hours.

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